Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney dropped a major tease about what we’re likely to see from the company’s ongoing VR efforts.
Speaking with host Kent Bye on Voices of VR Podcast – Episode #266, Tim Sweeney unabashedly teases that Epic Games is likely working on a full-fledged virtual reality game which goes beyond the scope of VR tech demos that the company has produced previously. With a bit of a mischievous tone to his voice, Sweeney responds to Kent’s question about whether or not Epic is working on a full VR game targeting the release window of headsets launching in 2016:
Oh… you’re asking about secret projects? Well, I can’t answer the questions about the secret projects, but if you look at how Epic has traditionally approached every generation of new hardware—from the Unreal Engine 3 generation to the UE4 generation—we’ve started with a relatively long period of experimentation where we show off increasingly elaborate tech demos, each one proving out several new techniques in isolation in a fairly self contained experience. But those are all leading up to something much bigger… actual games which incorporate our learnings in a major way. And yeah we’ve now gone through… four major tech demos with VR so far and we’re incorporating those learnings into everything we do.
Epic has been one of Oculus’ earliest supporters and has collaborated with the VR company on a number of tech demos built on Unreal Engine, showcasing what the headset can do with a highly optimized experience. In order of release date, here’s a quick look at Epic’s VR tech demos:
Couch Knights – GDC 2014 | Read More
Shown during the debut of the Oculus Rift DK2, Couch Knights put players in the body of an avatar sitting in a contemporary room. The player then controls a tiny cartoonish night who can run around the room and do battle with an opposing player’s knight, or even jump in the lap of the enemy’s avatar.
Showdown – Oculus Connect 2014 | Read More
Shown alongside the first reveal of the Oculus Rift ‘Crescent Bay’ prototype, Showdown adapted elements of a non-VR UE4 tech demo into an epic slow motion scene with bullets, debris, and explosions aplenty.
Thief in the Shadows – GDC 2015 | Read More
This collaboration between Weta Digital, the VFX studio behind Lord of the Rings, and Epic adapted assets from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013) to transport you players deep into the halls of Erebor to face the mighty dragon himself.
Bullet Train – Oculus Connect 2015 | Read More
Epic’s first public tech demo to accompany the Oculus Touch controllers, Bullet Train introduces teleportation and weapon wielding mechanics. Players zoom around the battlefield by teleporting from one node to a next with the ability to shoot in slow motion and even grab bullets out of the air to throw them back at their originators, like a badass superhero.
So what’s this all leading to? Epic isn’t saying just yet, but if we had to guess, we’d probably rule out a mashup of couches, guns, dragons, and trains.