Boneworks (2019), the VR shooter-adventure from Stress Level Zero, is now live on the Oculus Store for Rift, although arguably more fascinating is the studio’s intention to bring its physics-based system built for Boneworks to the modest Oculus Quest, which it recently reaffirmed, as well as PC VR headsets too.

Update (1:00 PM ET): Largely gone under-reported, it’s come to light that Stress Level Zero doesn’t intend to make their next Boneworks game (code named ‘Project 4’) a Quest exclusive. The studio said in late November that it will “put it anywhere we can,” implying that it will also launch on PC VR headsets.

We’ve updated the headline and included the info in the body of the article below.

The studio reaffirmed in an Oculus blog post yesterday that they’re “working on bringing ​Boneworks​’ mechanics and core systems to Oculus Quest in an all-new project that we will have more to show from as the year goes on.”

Moreover, the developers previously have noted in a Steam blog post back in late November that the game, which is tentatively called ‘Project 4’, will “not an exclusive title to any platform,” maintaining they will “put it anywhere [they] can.”

There’s no more info to go on for now, although creating an entirely physics-based game for Quest is sure to present its own challenges; Boneworks is CPU dependent for its physics system on PC VR, so its unclear whether Quest’s modest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 will be up to the task. Whatever the case, it’ll be interesting to see just what Stress Level Zero needs to lop off in order to deliver its ‘mechanics and core systems’ for the new game.

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In case you haven’t heard of Boneworks, the physics-based shooter-adventure has celebrated its fair share of success, what with its $3 million in estimated revenue earned within the first week since launch.

Here’s a summary from our full review if you’re just learning about it now that although may deflate some sails, pretty much sums up what we think of the game:

Boneworks offers up a rich sandbox of physics-driven gameplay which can be magical when it works right and frustrating (or downright uncomfortable) when it doesn’t. Detailed weapon interactions and enjoyable slow-motion shooting aside, combat is largely devoid of challenge and interesting enemies—the player, it seems, is expected to do the heavy lifting of embellishing the combat with their own sense of fun. Puzzles don’t establish overarching concepts and instead come off as singular moments despite being part of a linear story mode. The totality of the game lacks effective pacing as it bounces back and forth from puzzle to combat with little sense of synergy and no apparent climax. For those that are compelled by Boneworks’ combat, the Arena and Sandbox modes offer up a great opportunity for extended gameplay, though we would have liked to see an emphasis on user-generated levels so that the community might flesh out concepts that didn’t hit their stride in the campaign.

Most recently the studio pushed an update to refine its checkpoint system however, one of the biggest gripes with players after its initial December 10th, 2019 launch. The update also includes some quality of life updates such as climbing and sandbox improvements.

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Make sure to check out our full review of Boneworks to learn more about what makes this physics-based game tick, and why we gave it a [6/10], something we consider on our linear rating scale as ‘good’.

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  • DanDei

    Disappointing to hear that they are going to put the better part of this year into downgrading their stunning tech for inferior hardware instead of pushing it further with an all new PC title. I guess Oculus paid them handsomely.

    • Alextended

      Their tech is nothing special. Hopefully this game, being less reliant on ‘fancy’ tech will actually have some good content unlike the original release to make up for it and maybe we’ll get that content on PC at some point as well since most gamers don’t care for that stuff and enjoy good gameplay more than anything, which is why all the games that can run fine on Quest are still great on PC, from Pistol Whip to Journey of the Gods.

      Quest pushes a ton of VR software. Pistol Whip has 3k user reviews for Quest, like 1k or so on Steam and half that for Rift being of the few games that actually launched near simultaneously on all platforms and with some degree of hype. It’s clear any VR dev not putting out Quest games is leaving precious money on the table given unless you’re one of the runaway hits every VR user ever gets like Bear Saber sales can be pretty low, hence all the unfinished early access stuff that don’t get enough support to either get finished, or get finished in a timely fashion.

      It’s understandable when the game can’t be downgraded enough for its specs like say, Stormland of course, and it’s great to have those high end PC centric games too, but most other games are ported just fine with some creative thinking.

    • PJ

      I think it has more to do with the Quest being the platform of choice for devs revenue wise, its been proven that game devs make more money on the Quest

  • Alextended
  • a247slacker

    cant wait to pick this up when its ready for quest, sold my Rift S for another quest and it was the best money spent, playing multiplayer games with friends on Quest is great fun and well worth having 2 of them. but it would be nice to be able to share games rather then having to purchase them 2 times hope they work on this at Oculus!

  • JesuSaveSouls

    A fun and mysterious challenging game but not much in replay repeatability for me.I did return it three times before keeping it.It was fun and looked like being in a sci fi or twilight zone episode.

  • Kevin King

    Hopefully it doesn’t take a decade to make… the quest is in serious need for some games.

  • Jonathan Winters III

    Love the roadtovr 6/10 rating for Boneworks. Totally at odds with the 9/10 average user rating on steam, and the massive sales. Doh!

    • It is like the movies: there is the critics and there is the audience, and not always the opinion is the same. Some very successful movies have been destroyed by the critics, it is normal

      • Baldrickk

        Indeed. While I don’t personally agree with the reviewers rating, I can definitely recognise the flaws that they bring up.

        For instance, the story is pretty bare-bones, and some effort needs to be expended to try and figure things out. Parts of the lore just are not in place, as evidenced by the empty clipboards littering the levels that should be providing background info. Add to that the four other games in the series that will contribute, necessitating that some details are held back and not expanded on until those games fill in the blanks and you can see why, but it still feels lacking.

        The gameplay however is where the focus was put, and that shows. As noted, savepoints were added, and more lore details should be fairly easy to add too.

    • Alextended

      9/10 average user rating on Steam? You don’t rate out of 10 on Steam, what are you even trying to say and use such lies for it? You only choose to recommend the game or not, plenty people can recommend 6/10 games for different reasons. And yes it’s good to know Road to VR can recognize flaws and explain them properly in text even if game fanboys like ignoring that and making bs up.

      • Jonathan Winters III

        “Very Positive” is the average review rating on Steam. Out of thousands of raters.

        • Alex

          Yes. that’s what I said. You don’t rate out of 10 on Steam, you just give it a thumbs up or thumbs down. This way, you can easily recommend a 6/10 or 7/10 game, rather than give it a flat thumbs down, based on your use review’s text elaboration (or not).

          • Echo222

            I think he means that 90% of the reviews overall on steam are positive. 90%=9/10

          • Yes, and that’s not how stuff works.

    • I remember when the Wii launched, and I posted a review on launch day saying it was sort of gimmicky and failed to deliver the controller experience it promised. Fanboys accused me of working for Sony. It took 6 months for Wii Bowling to get old, and all of those same toads to admit it was gimmicky.

      Over-hyped idiots will say anything. You can talk them into fire bombing Mr.Roger’s house or worshiping Stalin. A 6/10 review is accurate, even generous, for a game with the same physics as many other games and gameplay flat out stolen from Half-Life.

      It’s a nice Half-Life clone. It’s NOT innovative, it’s serviceable. Blade and Sorcery did more with physics. The Forest was more immersive. Boneworks is a decent title that walked an already well worn path.

      • Baldrickk

        Please give me the titles of some other games with the same physics as Boneworks. I want to play them.

        And what makes it a Half-Life clone? They share some similarities, and there are some homages.
        Maybe we should call it a Quake clone, seeing as that’s where HL originated from. Does that make Boneworks a Quake clone too?

      • Alextended

        Wii had many great games and delivered on its premise perfectly. Of course one mini game in a mini game collection that came free with the system (for most of the world) gets old in 6 months if that’s all you ever play, hell, at best it takes most any game weeks to get old rather than months, but as with any other system you had loads of other great games to play instead, from Metroid Prime 3, to Red Steel 2, to Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, to Kirby’s Epic Yarn, to Xenoblade Chronicles, to The Last Story, to Donkey Kong Country Returns, to Animal Crossing: City Folk, to Muramasa: The Demon Blade, to No More Heroes 1 & 2, to Monster Hunter Tri, to various Call of Duty games that didn’t look great but played wonderfully, to Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, to Punch-Out!!, to Super Smash Bros. Brawl, to many others, which is why the Wii, contrary to popular belief, didn’t gather dust in closest with just Wii Sports and Wii Fit, but actually has both hardware and software sales and an attach rate on par with the very finest consoles of all time. What a silly, ignorant comment that goes way off topic to say something simple like how this or that game is badly designed (which I agree with, the way you “prove” it is dumb).

      • Lulu Vi Britannia

        Er, the Wii features were NOT gimmicky.
        Tennis games were worthless outside the Wii, but the Wii controllers made it way funnier.
        Playing Mario Kart with a wheel was way better than the static controller. Bowling games were simply impossible to make without gyroscopes, and that’s exactly what Wii controllers offered. In fact, the Wii controllers were the ancestors of VR controllers, they used the exact same technology (with only rotational tracking because, well, that was 14 years ago and positional tracking wasn’t a thing yet).

        The people who said the Wii controllers were gimmick are the exact same who’re saying VR is gimmick today. Just because it doesn’t interest YOU doesn’t mean it doesn’t bring anything to the table. The fact is it was innovative and did bring useful features to games.

        But I guess you prefer consoles to be clones of the previous ones, like Microsoft and Sony kept doing all these years, eh?

  • I’m hyped for this!

  • MatBrady

    @Boneworks – Perhaps finish fixing Boneworks before you make another game. You did this with Hover Junkers. You jumped to the next game before you finished the last one. This is a worrying trend that erodes trust. Will you ever properly finish a game?

    • kobalt staub

      Another thing that erodes trust is the fact that instead of finishing the game properly for their Steam buyers (and beta testers, see boneworks steam forums ) they drop everything and port it to Oculus and make a level specially designed for oculus, that’s low. But it’s always been a money first business

      • Baldrickk

        They are not stopping work on Boneworks.
        They have not dropped everything to work on the Oculus port, and the Tuscany map will be released next month in the next Steam patch, as confirmed by Brandon on Twitter.

        • kobalt staub

          Well maybe “Brandon” should be more on Steam Boneworks hub instead of twitter, after all, everyone who bought the game are there, we’re asking questions and getting no answers aside from Cfish (Dev. steam name) who keeps repeating that they’re a small team and all of their efforts and time are on bug fixes and mid game save points.

          • Baldrickk

            So… you’re saying that they shouldn’t use a popular social media app to spread news about their product?
            It’s not anyone uses it, is it? Like… Valve with HL:A?
            And yes, his name is Brandon. Not “Brandon” – airquotes not necessary. Stop being disrespectful.

            Yes, they are a small team. There’s like, 8 of them in total.
            Why do you want them to spend all their time on the steam discussions and not in further developing the game?

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          • kobalt staub

            No need to get your panties in a wad rick, I’m just saying the first place they should give news is where the game is played, where peoples bought it. So far the only one I’ve seen in the boneworks hub is cfish what ever his real name is, and he kept the real news hush hush so far, so I guess the rest of them are doing something what ever it is. And I didn’t want to disrespect your “friend” either loll. You sound like you’re one of the team Rick ease off on the gas pedal, they themselves said that boneworks is just a base for future projects so the writing on the walls of boneworks are true, it is just a demo, some exercise for the real thing keep your steam for the “real game”

          • Baldrickk

            Boneworks is the second game of six.
            It’s not a demo, it’s just the first using the physics system they’ve developed.

            A tech demo would be like one of the preview chambers they first developed and showed off, back when Boneworks was first announced.

            They’re spreading their time between multiple places. Steam, Twitter, discord, reddit…
            Wanting them to focus entirely on one place seems a bit short sighted.

          • kobalt staub

            “Wanting them to focus entirely on one place seems a bit short sighted”
            If you’re talking news, Steam should have news first cause that’s where the game is played and discussed and if you’re talking work, Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do when you build a game… finish it before starting something else? Specially if you’re working with a skeletton crew. They’re continually putting new stuff in, or should I say tossing it in, advertising new items which some of them aren’t even in it yet, (I know i’ve looked, try to find the 3 missing guns in the display) some collectible items are just lying on the ground to be found, some items like the norse axe is in 2 different boneworks containers that means the game isn’t finished. peoples at steam boneworks hub told them to put in the mid game save points, you know, i’ve seen you there, you saw the thread length. For a small team or a big one I call that crapping, selling half done work. Thankfully it’s good enough for peoples to buy but wait another month when HL alyx comes out, boneworks will definitely look like HL Alyx half crapped demo with their helmets with legs for headcrabs and slick concrete walls instead of putting in decent textures.. probably why they rushed it out, to be able to take advantage of the story (at least part of it) before the real thing comes out

  • I wouldn’t expect too much over-the-top physics from the Quest. I turned on some physics impact functions to some of my skeletal animated characters in the Unreal engine, and it KILLED the frame rate fast. You could get around the limitation by turning physics on and off at a distance. But once you start running IK calculations on more then 1 or 2 humanoid skeletons, the Quest sh*ts a brick.

    I’ve heard Vulkan can help with that, but it’s usage is a bit above my paygrade. Even with a better pipeline between the GPU and CPU, that’s, at most, around 20% improvement. That’s maybe 1 more ragdoll flopping around. Physics are costly for mobile chipsets.

    • fdad

      Vulkan is an API for graphics. It does not have anything to do with ragdoll physics calculations. The bottleneck you are referring to is CPU bound, not GPU bound. Where the hell did you get this 20% improvement from?

      Just sit down bro.

  • mirak

    Did they fix the controls for the Vive wand ?
    It hurts the hands how it was when I tried.