Another Axiom, the studio behind the viral VR indie hit Gorilla Tag, has revealed the first glimpse of its next project. ‘Project A2’ is an ambitious spiritual successor to the now shuttered Echo VR, and a full-circle moment for the studio.

With its low-fi graphics and simple gameplay, you might not think it but Gorilla Tag is one of the most popular Quest games ever. In fact, it holds the most reviews of any VR game on the platform and is also one of the best-rated free games.

While Gorilla Tag is still going strong (if not growing), the studio behind the game, Another Axiom, is already working on something new.

‘Project A2’, its codename, is shaping up to look like a spiritual successor to Echo Arena, the popular VR sport that was infamously shuttered by Meta.

The studio published this first in-development glimpse of the game which shows something undoubtedly like Echo VR both in look and feel:

It’s a very early look of course, as explained in a message reportedly published to the studio’s Discord server:

Understand this is a work-in-progress. We’ve built a talented team, but this game won’t ship until late next year at the earliest.

Early access will give you a behind-the-scenes peek on how game development is made, gray block-out environments, programmer assets, all while the final look of the game hasn’t been established. You’ll see level layouts that will never ship, mechanics that are too OP, design explorations, lots of bugs and fun things in between.

This is not a beta … this is early access.

However, this is the fun part of game development and we are excited to bring you in.

Echo VR Evolved

But this isn’t just an Echo VR remake. Another Axiom has an ambitious plan to make ‘Project A2’ a much more social VR experience by incorporating and expanding some of Gorilla Tag’s underappreciated innovations.

Yes, Gorilla Tag has a novel locomotion and capitalizes on the seemingly innate human experience of ‘tag’, but the game’s seamless social structure—where game lobbies are ‘places’ and changing game modes is as natural as walking between rooms—is another key element to its success.

In the message on the studio’s Discord server, the developers explain the game’s structure.

Stations: Travel through a fleet of stations to find your community. Once arrived, float or take one of the many high speed systems to different casual game modes. However, if larger arena sport games are more your style, then find your way to one of the many stadiums. Hang out in the bleachers with your friends to cheer on your favorite players, commentate from the casters’ booth, or float through the locker rooms to join in on the action.

The studio plans to give ‘Project A2’ a seamless social structure, where game maps and modes are realized as ‘stations’ that players can navigate between by traveling through the game world. Don’t like how the people are playing in one station? Wander off and find a new group of players down the hall.

This social structure can lead to the kind of happenstance networking that delights us in the real world; maybe you’re wandering down the hall, peek into a station, and hear a funny conversation that has nothing to do with the itself game, but you decide to pop in and join the group for some laughs.

A New Category of VR Game is Slowly Emerging Right Before Our Eyes

In essence it sounds like the studio wants to structure the game as its own sort of mini-metaverse—a ‘miniverse’, perhaps? It’s not terribly different from something like Rec Room or VR Chat, except there’s a greater emphasis on making navigation between ‘places’ more natural.

Your Domain

The studio also plans to give players wide-reaching control over ‘Project A2’, allowing them to create their own stations that they can adjust as they see fit.

“[…] players can run their own servers, control their own stations, host their own rule sets, moderate and customize the look and feel of, activities, posters, game modes and more,” the studio wrote. Not to mention plans for a level editor, allowing people to build interesting new maps to attract players to their specific station.

Full Circle

Image courtesy Another Axiom

‘Project A2’ is a full-circle moment for the studio. It’s co-founder, Kerestell Smith, has said that Echo VR—before it was shut downwas his original inspiration for Gorilla Tag.

“[…] Echo VR was the first game that really made me certain VR was going to be transformative. I got so into it that I started competing, which I had never done before, and my team, Eclipse, ended up winning the first two championships,” Smith has said. It’s unique zero-G arm-based locomotion was one of the key inspirations for Gorilla Tag’s movement system.

Another of the studio’s co-founders, David Neubelt worked at Ready at Dawn as one of the leads on Echo VR, and has since gone on to join Another Axiom.

Now that the game has been shuttered, Smith, Neubelt, and the rest of the studio actually have a shot at resurrecting a spiritual successor to the game they loved—for themselves and the community that was left behind when Echo VR was shut down.

New & Improved?

While ‘Project A2’ could revive the essence of Echo VR, it will be interesting to see how players of the original game and those of Gorilla Tag receive Another Axiom’s spin on zero-G locomotion.

Fundamentally the studio appears to be building on the foundation of Gorilla Tag’s movement (which, as we mentioned, was inspired by Echo VR’s movement!); but ‘Project A2’ will make some key tweaks, the studio writes:

Learn more about our new approach to zero-g movement. We’re targeting human scale speeds with more physicality, hand-based collision, sliding, and paddle-based momentum mechanics, all while using very few controller inputs. We have removed the ability to grab flat walls, only allowing grabbing on bars and handles that your fingers could wrap around. We hope this model will follow people’s expectations of how hands work in real life, while adding depth and a high skill ceiling by layering multiple physical mechanics together.

In a way, this system sounds like a fusion of both Echo VR’s movement (where players could grab and push off of any wall) and Gorilla Tag’s movement (where players can’t grab onto any wall, any have to move themselves purely with momentum).

– – — – –

With the success of Gorilla Tag, Another Axiom has set a very high bar for themselves. Can ‘Project A2’ achieve similar levels of success, or will Gorilla Tag remain the studio’s flagship game? Only time will tell, as the studio says it doesn’t plan to ship ‘Project A2’ until late 2024 “at the earliest.”

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • ViRGiN

    Make 1 month long gamejam-quality projects, release for free on Quest, kids will play whatever is free, add microtransactions for the whales; PCVR users will play whatever everyone else is playing ($20 Gorilla Tag is #1 PCVR game for nearly a year).

    They can afford to make 100 tiny games that will fail, only in pursue of 1 super smash hit.

    • Mike

      You make it sound like they’re throwing out shuffle ware, which they’re not. GT was done by one person, the studio has grown to 50+ people since and they started working on A2 simply because they loved Echo and want to keep the community alive. There were people hired that were already working on an echo replacement in their free time or were part of RAD.

      It’s unfinished, yes, because they started working on this as soon as the end of echo was announced (half a year ago). They’re inviting people now because they want feedback as soon as they can.

      • ViRGiN

        We will see what they are capable of. GT was the first project; it doesn’t matter how many people worked on it; tons of games were made by 1-3 people that only grew AFTER release (Onward, Pavlov etc).

        • Mike

          Yeah you’re right, how many people worked on GT isn’t really relevant.

          GT is their only game and it already is a smash hit if there ever was one. PCVR was free, they started to charge for it because of cheaters that were an issue on that platform and banning them wasn’t effective if it’s free.

          Of course they’re in it to make money, I just don’t think that’s their primary motivation. They already have their smash hit, so there’s no urgent need for them to have another one (although who‘d say no to that if it works out and I sincerely hope it does). Even if GT looks low quality due to the graphics, it’s certainly a very polished game.

          Maybe I misunderstood you, but you made it sound like Another Axiome are desperately looking for more money by producing hundreds of low quality games with loot box microtransactions, while squeezing as much money from everywhere they can. And I disagree with each of the points there.

          • ViRGiN

            They started to charge for Gorilla Tag because they could. PCVR users have no honor or standards. It’s the most popular PCVR game cause PCVR users dont like cheap shit, so it’s priced accordingly.

    • LMAO

      Ignorant troll alert!

      • ViRGiN

        Drive-by shooter alert!

        • Thud

          ViRGin I have to give you credit. Your involvement in this thread is normal interesting conversation . Please keep it up in this manner. Your obsessed fanboy personna is one of the worst things I see on a regular basis in relation to VR. You’re obviously not stupid. Try to continue to contribute in this manner and you may find you’ll be much better received.

  • Sweet mother of zero-g, I thought Another Axiom would make something awesome but this concept sounds incredible! Love to hear that some of the original Echo devs joined the team, and that they’re building for dedicated servers.
    This sounds like a incredible platform to build all kinds of z g games and modes on.

  • Sven Viking

    Early access is beginning soon.

  • Sven Viking

    Could go very well imho. I always thought there was a lot of potential in expanding Echo VR to include a wider range of more casual zero-G activities.

    • Ajedi32

      Yeah, nothing will ever fully replace Echo VR for me, but Lemming knows what’s up. Looks like it’s shaping up to be a great title.

  • Cannot wait!

  • CrusaderCaracal

    Seems pretty cool

  • Tabp

    The design concept looks good. With the social features, self-hosting, and level editing, they’ve got a featureset which was enormously successful in early PC gaming, but which has been neglected by centralized VR platforms. Combine it with their proven ability to do innovative native VR implementation, and they might make a serious attempt to hold the top two ranks in vrlfg dot net.

  • csj

    It’s not like it was a huge PR push or something. You do realize people want this info, right? So if they don’t talk about it people will criticize, and if they do, apparently you will criticize. Let people have nice things.