Returning to an earlier era of gaming, Chronos (2016) was an unforgiving third-person action adventure game that launched alongside the Rift. Inspired by FTL (2012) developer Gunfire Games is now applying their lauded old-school game design principles to new-school game tech, with a procedurally generated ‘rougelike’ that lets up to three players experience a galaxy full of unexpected threats with Oculus Touch.
Update (2/28/17, 10:02AM PT): Based on press materials from Oculus, a previous version of this story indicated that From Other Suns supported both the Rift and Gear VR headsets. We’ve confirmed with Oculus that the title supports only the Rift.
FTL is a top-down action RPG where the player commands the crew of a futuristic spaceship and attempts to survive in a hostile galaxy amidst greater and greater threats; pretty much the furthest thing from a VR game you could imagine. And yet, let’s be honest, anyone in the VR space who has played FTL has thought about how cool a first-person take on the game could be. Gunfire Games is no exception.
Their newly announced title now in the works for the Oculus Rift and Touch is From Other Suns, and they’re clear that the game draws its inspiration from FTL.
From Other Suns aims to recreate the same sort of challenges and gameplay found in FTL—multiple crew members, permadeath, procedurally generated events and environments, ship management, and more—in a VR adventure FPS that’s built from the ground up for three-player co-op.
Players will inhabit a large ship with important and useful rooms like a bridge, teleportation, engines, weapon bay, and more. The campaign is procedurally generated and could throw any number of missions or events at you and your crew as you move through the galaxy. That could mean a mission where you need to board a hostile ship to retrieve a piece of key data, or maybe your own ship is under attack and being invaded by alien foes who want to kill you and profit from your cargo. Gunfire Games even promises ship-to-ship combat from the bridge which plays out like an episode of Star Trek where each player has a unique position to fill during combat.
Gameplay spans everything from blowing up enemy ships to commanding crew members to go put out fires, and it all happens in a first-person view with Touch support. Players inhabit and control the crew of their ship who are unique and limited in number. Crew members are a precious commodity, and when one dies you might find yourself cursing. Indeed if you die out on a mission, you’ll respawn back on the ship as another crewmember, but if all of your crew members die it’s game over.
Gunfire Games hopes to keep players coming back to From Other Suns for a unique experience every time. Ship layouts, weapons, mission objectives, and more are all procedurally generated, meaning you won’t be able to count on what’s around the next corner.
The studio described the game’s guns in particular as being “like Borderlands,” meaning they’re aiming for a large variety of different weapons which will have a range of procedurally generated characteristics.
The pace of From Other Suns is a little slower and more deliberate than some VR FPS games out there, but that’s intentional. Not only because one mistake could cost you the irreversible death of a critical crew member, but because the game—though thematically sci-fi—plays much like a dungeon crawler.
In my time with From Other Suns, a friend and I boarded a ship where we battled our way through varying robot enemies using shotguns, pistols, handheld force shields, and more.
It’s still early days for From Other Sons, but with the game due out in Fall of this year, the promise of FTL in VR is alive and well.