There’s a marked shift in VR’s perception at this year’s E3. As each successive trade and gaming show has come and gone, Oculus VR, their employees and evangelists have tirelessly put out the message that not only was virtual reality back, but it was the future of .. well everything. People, even ‘normal’ non-geeks know about VR or at least know someone who does. That’s a huge indication of just how much progress a once tiny company founded by one persistent individual has made.
Just three years ago, if you’d have asked me if in 2014 I’d see a Playstation blog entry listing a game that was built from the ground up for virtual reality and the Playstation 4 I’d have laughed in your face. But today, it was an expected albeit very notable event. How far we’ve come.
The game in question is The Assembly by UK developers nDreams. It’s a ‘Mysterious VR adventure game” apparently designed from the ground up for virtual reality. The team have had access to VR Headsets since mid 2013 (presumably Oculus developer kits), have been experimenting with techniques to leverage VR’s potential for storytelling.
It has to be said however, that the announcement is short on details about the game itself. The trailer is equally mysterious and a little dull truth be told. However, the blog entry does detail some of the base ideas the team are thinking of incorporating:
The Assembly includes lots of the gameplay mechanics that we found worked well in VR. For example, you get to control two different characters at various points, and in VR, you really notice details like their different heights, sounds and voices. Rather than playing as a silent character, we found that playing the role of characters in the story works really well, and helps make The Assembly feel quite different to most other VR projects.
nDreams claim to be equally as interested in ensuring the story is as engaging and rich as possible:
The game has a rich story written by Tom Jubert, a talented young writer behind indie hits like FTL, Penumbra and The Swapper. Players are flung into the underground world of The Assembly, a secretive collection of scientists, academics and engineers who believe morality in society is preventing scientific advancement and are committed to discovering a universal theory of everything, at any cost.
nDreams have a playable demo on the show floor at E3 this and we’ll do our best to seek it out and get some hands-on time with it to see if we can answer some questions.