Whether you’re a gamer or not, the chances are you’ve heard of Beat Saber. The unique virtual reality (VR) rhythm game which has been depicted as a mash-up of Guitar Hero and Fruit Ninja, has been taking the world by storm since its release on 1 May. The technological brains and creative genius behind the game are developers Jan Ilvasky, Vladimir Hrincar and SAE Oxford Audio alumnus Jaroslav Beck.
Team photo: (From left to right) Vladimir Hrincar, Jaroslav Beck, Jan Ilavsky
Jaroslav is the man behind Beat Saber’s soundtrack and sound effects, as well as the Co-Founder and CEO of Beat Games Studio, so we caught up with him to hear more about his time since leaving SAE, and the epic game that’s become a global hit.
Completing the Audio Production degree at SAE Oxford in 2014, Jaroslav has since forged a career producing music for trailers and games with a portfolio including Blizzard's, Disney and EA Games cinematic. In 2016, he launched his company Epic Music Productions, now based in LA, which offers custom scoring and remixes for games, movies and trailers. Providing epic music for a whole host of big clients, Jaroslav had already made an impressive mark in the audio and games industry before venturing into new territory in the form of Beat Saber.
About a year ago, Jaroslav came across an early demo of Beat Saber on Facebook. “It was that special moment when you just know that this is something that you need to be a part of,” he explains. Jaroslav felt that he could take the game’s music and sound effects in a different, more suitable direction.
Wanting to be involved and bring his creative talent to the table, he immediately got in touch with Beat Saber’s developers - Jan Ilavsky and Vladimir Hrincar. “It was funny because I then found out that they’re actually located in the Czech Republic which is where I come from.”
Jaroslav flew from LA to the Czech Republic, met with Jan and Vladimir, and offered to create the soundtrack and the sound effects for the game. The rest, you could say, is history.
After Jaroslav created the first three tracks, the team released the first online teaser for Beat Saber and the response was unprecedented. Describing it as ‘unexpectedly crazy viral across the whole internet’, Jaroslav knew that the game had great potential to be hugely successful in the virtual reality industry.
Together, Jaroslav, Jan and Vladimir decided to create Beat Games - their indie games company based in the Czech Republic.
“I became CEO and on the 1st of May 2018 we released Beat Saber on early access for Oculus store and Steam VR,” Jaroslav tells us.
The game was instantly the best selling VR game on both Steam and Oculus. “Most importantly, on Steam it was the best user-rated game of all time. Even from PC games. This has never happened for a VR game before,” Jaroslav says.
The game now has more than a billion gameplay views across the internet, and that number is growing every single day. You only have to go on social media to see the buzz that Beat Saber has created.
From 8 year-olds to 80 year-olds, people from all over the world are sharing images and videos of them playing Beat Saber, and there have even been some memes created too. Not only has it been massively popular, but Beat Saber has created a large positive community of people too.
To provide more detail on how Beat Saber actually works; the goal of the game is to slash the musical beats, which are represented as coloured blocks, in order to create a full music track. Designed as a VR E-sport, Beat Saber is also a music platform which up until now only featured music composed and produced by Jaroslav.
Explaining this further, Jaroslav said: “We also exclusively released the first track from another artist (other than me). A new tune from Porter Robinson a.k.a Virtual Self called ‘Angel Voices’. More is coming pretty soon.”
On top of this, a few weeks ago there was the first Beat Saber worldwide tournament. 168 Beat Saber arcade machines from over 20 countries around the globe joined in the tournament, making it the largest arcade E-sport tournament in the history of E-sports.
Commenting on the fantastic success of the game, Jaroslav said: “The best thing about this whole thing is to see that one indie project made by three people has truly helped popularise VR E-sports and also it has a good chance of becoming a new music platform that can bring something to the music industry that other platforms can't.”
Following the success of Beat Saber and being CEO of Beat Games, Jaroslav is now completely invested into the venture and ready to see what else can be achieved, which means leaving his past work on cinematic music behind.
“It’s time to leave this path for now and fully work on the new mission called Beat Games.”