Based on Klaus Teuber’s popular board game Settlers of Catan (1995), the VR version of Catan is available now on Oculus Rift and Gear VR, and will be a launch title for Oculus Go. The game features cross-play multiplayer, and is said to be coming to more VR platforms in the future.
Described as “true to the classic but optimized for virtual reality,” Catan VR was developed by VR studio Experiment 7 in partnership with Klaus Teuber and his sons Guido and Benjamin, along with the Catan and Asmodee Digital teams. The board game takes place in a virtual room with views of the island of Catan itself through the windows.
Speaking to Gamesbeat last year, Experiment 7 managing director Demetri Detsaridis explained how VR offers a different experience to other digital versions of the game. “When you have the entire field of view in front of you – and Catan is on a big table – the pieces get to be larger than life,” he said. “The ‘screen’ is enormous. You can do cool things like have sheep run around or have water flow or have wheat blowing in the breeze without it looking like you’re peering into the inner workings of a wristwatch.”
Classic Catan AI opponents are available for single player, and the game supports cross-platform multiplayer with friend invites and matchmaking. For now, the game is playable on Oculus Rift and Gear VR, and will form part of the launch line-up for the Oculus Go. The game was playable at GDC 2018 this week, with Rift and Go devices at the same table, as seen during Tested‘s Oculus Go video. Additional platforms are said to be on the cards, but Experiment 7’s previous titles have not jumped beyond Rift and Gear VR yet, despite Dungeon Chess (2017) being confirmed for PSVR many months ago.
Originally due to launch in late 2017, Catan VR is the third release from Experiment 7, who specialise in bringing board and tabletop games into their ‘Magic Table’ platform, an immersive environment designed for ‘social presence’ that supports cross-platform multiplayer. The team’s long-term goal is to attract other developers to the Magic Table platform. Their first game Magic Table Chess (2016) introduced the concept, followed by the Dungeons & Dragons-themed Dungeon Chess.
“The first time I saw Catan on the Magic Table, I was fascinated by what VR has to offer,” said Teuber. “The game I made in our living room with my family 25 years ago in Virtual Reality? It’s incredible. I never imagined actually stepping into the world of Catan when we first started making cut-outs and dreaming about exploring new lands.”