Disintegration: V1 Interactive’s Marcus Lehto on the six year development journey

V1 Interactive’s Disintegration is a game born from wanting to take a ‘risk.’

If you’ve never heard of V1 Interactive, it’s probably because the studio is only three years old and their first game was only just released this month. Disintegration, a new first-person shooter with RTS style gameplay, has the power of Halo‘s co-creator behind it in V1 Interactive President and Game Director Marcus Lehto. Apptrigger and Lehto sat down after the release of Disintegration to talk about the game’s development and the creation of a new studio in V1 Interactive.

“Technically, I started it (Disintegration) about six years ago. When I first started making the fiction for this game,” Lehto said. “But it was a year after that that I finally decided that I was going to do something with this and turn it into a prototype that we could start shopping around to publishers.”

From there, Lehto’s idea sprouted legs and began to grow.

To build the prototype, Lehto’s team took a year and a half to build it in Unity Engine but what was more interesting behind its development was the number of people. Lehto admits that it was just two college students and himself helping build it.

Disintegration‘s prototype went through many iterations before it officially released but the prototype was a fairly comprehensive game that allowed the title to speak for itself. The comprehensive prototype took people through the intent of the game’s core mechanics.

V1 Interactive

“By the end of it, we were excited about what we had,” Lehto said. “It was really, really different. It was going to be hard to explain in words so we wanted something that they could have hands-on and actually play the game.”

In 2017, Private Division came on board. According to a statement on V1 Interactive’s news page, Private Division ‘appreciated the project vision’.

“We took our time preparing a solid prototype before pitching the game to publishers. Private Division immediately appreciated the project vision and gave us the ability to assemble an experienced team capable of building an ambitious new IP.” Lehto was quoted as saying in 2017.

At that point, it was three and a half years ago and V1 Interactive had just 12 to 20 people working in the studio for a majority of the project. By the end of last year in Disintegration‘s final months of development, the studio grew to 30 people and moves and feels like a top-flight game developed with love.

“It’s been a crazy journey for us as we grew the studio and switched from building the game in Unity to the Unreal engine and really fleshed out the entirety of the game,” Lehto said. “From the campaign mode to the multiplayer component as well.”


V1 Interactive

Earlier we mentioned how Lehto had a hand in the Halo series. But going from developing the Halo worlds to Disintegration was different.

“Having a part in helping build Halo from the ground up was just myself and Jason Jones in the very earliest days, building the foundation for what would become the Halo franchise,” Lehto said. “I was always on the creative side of things. Building and designing the Master Chief, the Warthog, the Pelican, the landscapes and a lot of the levels. I come at it from that perspective and also bringing a lot into what we would do to telling of stories. As I wrapped up our part in building the Halo series with Halo Reach as the Creative Director on that project and leaving Bungie behind to start a new project with V1 Interactive, our goal was to take some risks.

“And try to do something really different that would stand out in a crowd of other games that are very similar nowadays,” he continued. “Not only did we want to totally flip the table on what we thought an FPS could be, and we’re carving out a new genre altogether. We shouldn’t even call it an FPS sometimes because it’s more of an aerial tactical shooter than anything else. We fly this vehicle in the sky and we command these units on the ground tactically and we blend these things together in a way that wasn’t really done before in this way.”

Next: Disintegration review: V1 Interactive’s new FPS is a game-changer

The Gravcycle part of the game was a huge draw to the game as well as an ability to command ground units at the press of a button. With no blueprint to follow for the game, that left Lehto excited to put together a good game.

Disintegration is available on PlayStation 4 and PC right now.

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