The Assembly from nDreams is coming soon, and with an official release date of July 19th now announced, we thought we’d take some time to catch up on this intriguing story-driven thriller built from the ground up for VR.
The Assembly is a psychological drama from British developers nDreams and it’s built from the ground up for virtual reality. The Assembly is one of the earlier titles to announce for VR platforms and we’ve followed its progress over the last couple of years as it works its way to releas on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR platforms.
nDreams have now announced that The Assembly will be released on July 19th for PC and Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. To mark this milestone, the developers have released a wealth of new information and video content to whet your appetite for the title.
Firstly, a short reminder on what The Assembly is all about. It’s being tagged by nDreams as a “first-person interactive drama for mature audiences” and follows the story of a mysterious organisation, The Assembly, a collection of shadowy individuals intent on accelerating technological breakthroughs by working “outside the constraints of law and government” on secret, underground experiments. The title puts you in the shoes of new Assembly recruit Madeleine Stone and veteran Cal Pearson as they both gradually uncover the truth about the organisation they’re working for. As you play through the game, you’ll play through chapters as each character, flipping between their unique perspectives.
The Assembly is focused on narrative rather than action and our time with the game up to now has certainly emphasised a long-form approach to VR storytelling, one that we found intriguing. What’s more, the latest preview trailer above, which gives a sneak peek at previously unseen areas, shows a significant level of polish has gone into the location and visuals since we last checked in. Given that narrative focus, this is of course extremely important – selling player immersion in the world nDreams have built will be key to the title’s success after all.
The game’s structure is explored in more detail in an accompanying new mini feature which delves into how the developers used the two characters to offer up different gameplay experiences depending on how you’re playing. Player’s get to enjoy exploration and subterfuge whilst playing as Cal, drawing on VR’s ability to deliver presence to encourage environmental exploration and investigation as he tries to uncover the troubling secrets of The Assembly. Whilst playing as Madeleine however, the gameplay is about logic problems and puzzle solving as The Assembly tries to ascertain if she has what it takes to join their elite ranks.
As this title involved free form exploration of environments, the by now familiar problem of player locomotion naturally had to be resolved. nDreams have developed their own hybrid form of teleportation and traditional yaw rotation that looks intriguing. Pushing forward on the gamepad’s analogue stick allows you to ‘push’ a virtual avatar into the environment, snapping to that location before rotating and moving forward again.
nDreams claim that part of their drive behind creating The Assembly, apart from telling this story, was to provide a showcase and introduction to virtual reality for players. From what we’ve seen, they’ve certainly given it their all. We’ll find out for sure on July 19th when the game is released for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. You can add the title to your Steam wish list ahead of the launch right here. The title is also on its way to PlayStation VR later this year.