Espire 1: VR Operative (2019) launched across all major VR headsets this time last year, bringing a mix of high-flying acrobatics and stealth combat to the table. Now developer Digital Lode says Espire 1 has generated “over $3 million in revenue” since its November 2019 launch.

While revenue reports around the industry aren’t a usual sight, Espire 1: VR Operative seems to have benefitted greatly from its simultaneous release on SteamVR headsets, PSVR, and Oculus Quest.

Launched on November 22nd, 2019, Digital Lode and publisher Tripwire Interactive say the game “continues to remain popular in the VR space as a top-selling title on the Oculus Store and one of the few VR titles to earn over $3 million in revenue.”

Taking on the role of futuristic drone operator, you slink around, avoid security cameras, defuse trip mines, and gank plenty of faceless baddies that get in your way—a bit like a VR version of Metal Gear.

In our review of Espire 1we noted that, although rough around the edges, the game excels in delivering some familiar stealth combat in a more immersive package, letting users do some superhuman acrobatics while traversing its multi-layered levels.

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To celebrate its one year launch anniversary, Digital Lode has released an Anniversary Update on the Quest and Quest 2 versions of the game, which includes a number of visual, performance, and gameplay enhancements. Improvements specific to Quest 2 include:

  • Increased pixel resolution and clarity with less aggressive dynamic foveated rendering
  • Higher mesh resolution for guards and other characters
  • Bullet impact particles from the PlayStation VR version added
  • Added ricocheting bullets for players and guards
  • Unique bullet impact sound effects added for each surface type
  • Color-graded and optimized for the Oculus Quest 2 LCD screen
  • Enhanced audio: When the player crouches down, the game’s soundtrack dynamically submixes the music down while increasing the sounds of footsteps and voices of guards

The version supporting the original Oculus headset also benefits from improved shaders and materials, increased performance, and better loading times.

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  • wheeler

    That is surprising. From what I’ve heard the game is not very good so I skipped on it (currently has 6/10 on Steam). Nonetheless it’s good to see the developer doing well

    • Adrian Meredith

      haven’t played it but I think a lot of the issues were because of the amount of bugs which have been reduced

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    • I bought it on sale (typical Steam user here..) haven’t even installed it yet.

      One day perhaps…

    • DickDastardly

      It had a few bugs at launch (which wasn’t too surprising given its scope and ambition relative to most VR games), but the devs patched them pretty quickly and have since added loads of (free) additional content. IMO it’s by far the best stealth game in VR, and also the best single player game on Quest. The challenges alone offer dozens of hours of gameplay – my favourites are the Hostage Rescue, Intel, Take Down and Elimination ones.

    • T2814

      The game was absolutely horrible at launch. The AI was wildly inconsistent as you could walk right by an enemy and not be noticed, only to then be crouched on a catwalk high above the ground and somehow still get spotted. The weapon/gadget implementation was also lousy as everything was laid out on an oversized belt in front of you, making it awkward to reload weapons or pick the right object quickly for a given situation.

      I tried it again last week and all the updates have at least improved the UI. Weapons and gadgets are now more logically placed on different parts of your body and, on the Quest 2 at least, it seems to run more smoothly. I restarted the game and played thru part of the first level. The enemy behavior seemed improved though I need to spend more time with the game to see if the apparent improvements are more than just superficial and cosmetic.

      • Sandeman21

        It was initially really bad you are correct. But it has been vastlx improved over time. You have to keep in mind many of the people who are into VR today entered completely clueless.

    • Ad

      I sometimes wonder how much of the difference in sales across platforms is from a game having a low rating on steam and the sales just stopping.

  • Yeshaya

    I haven’t played since launch, and I found the actual AI and detection to be funky, which was a problem. Have they improved that since?

  • Ad

    I feel like people on steam are less forgiving, I felt kind of frustrated with this one. I am curious what their PSVR numbers are like.

    • shadow9d9

      I find most steam ratings to be incredibly inflated…

      • Ad

        The first thing you do though is scroll down and read them and negative ones stand out.

  • so what the profit? this is just revenue, so what are the losses? what did they REALLY make on the game?

  • Headon

    I got a headset this spring I looked very hard for good VR games and I have never heard of this game. Are they just bleeding people dry with microtrans? How many copies how large is the actual player base this article seems like an ad.

  • Compliments to the developers!

  • One of my favourite VR games on Quest. The sense of freedom you get by being able to grab any wall and climb it is awesome.