Interview: Arizona Sunshine 2 Could Have Had More Dogs In Multiplayer Modes

Arizona Sunshine 2
Arizona Sunshine 2

Arizona Sunshine 2 is a sequel to the critically acclaimed zombie action game of 2016. Following its success, Vertigo Games changed a few central aspects of the game, like adding a companion dog named Buddy. Unlike traditional companions that have little effect on the gameplay, Buddy has a much more important role, aiding you in combat, exploration, and puzzles. And so, we had a quick conversation with Trevor Blom, Technical Director at Vertigo Games, to get more insights into the inspirations and behind-the-scenes details about their recent title.

Several VR games have focused on the zombie aspect, but what was your approach to make it as unique as possible, and in what ways will players see that in the game?
Trevor: For Arizona Sunshine 2, we wanted to mix things up a bit from the usual fast-paced, intense zombie shooting, so we decided to take a step back and focus more on a story-driven zombie aspect. You’ll really see that narrative shine through while still getting your zombie-slaying fix.
Another thing we have witnessed frequently in other pieces of media is the addition of a companion, like Buddy, in a post-apocalyptic setting to make the protagonist feel less lonely. But it is often just that and doesn't add much to the setting. What was Vertigo's approach to this, and how did they make the dog feel more like part of the game?
Trevor: The idea for Buddy started early in development and became core to the process ever since. For each feature we developed, we asked how this would work with Buddy so that he would blend seamlessly with the experience. He is a massive help in tackling combat, he will help you carry inventory, and you will need him to solve puzzles, just to name a few. We made sure he is an essential piece throughout the whole game
Arizona Sunshine 2
Arizona Sunshine 2 – via Vertigo Games.
Were there any plans to add a different companion or a feature that didn't make it to the final version?
Trevor: We were very happy with the idea of a dog early as it fits the game perfectly. We did discuss potentially adding more dogs in the multiplayer modes of the game but settled on just Buddy for now, so the focus could be on him as a character. There will always be features that look like a great idea on paper but don’t make the cut somewhere along development, there must be a reason they didn’t make it to the final game!
Last question from those who have grown close to Buddy: can we see him again in a future title?
Trevor: That is definitely too early to say, but we can’t deny Buddy has a piece of our collective heart at Vertigo.

Arizona Sunshine 2 is a VR apocalyptic game by Vertigo Games. The zombie action title was released on PS VR2, Meta Quest, and PC on December 7, 2023.

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