Road to VR https://www.roadtovr.com Virtual Reality News Sun, 26 Jan 2020 07:10:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.13 https://www.roadtovr.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/cropped-road-to-vr-logo-for-social-media-54aabc8av1_site_icon-32x32.png Road to VR https://www.roadtovr.com 32 32 Cas & Chary Present: ‘The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners’ Gameplay Overview https://www.roadtovr.com/cas-chary-present-walking-dead-saints-sinners-gameplay-overview/ https://www.roadtovr.com/cas-chary-present-walking-dead-saints-sinners-gameplay-overview/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2020 21:32:16 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93339
Launched yesterday, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is a heavy physics-based survival adventure game set in the zombie apocalypse of the Walking Dead universe. In this video and article, we wanted to showcase the core gameplay mechanics without spoiling too much of the story.  Cas & Chary Present Cas and Chary VR is a YouTube channel hosted […]

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Launched yesterday, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is a heavy physics-based survival adventure game set in the zombie apocalypse of the Walking Dead universe. In this video and article, we wanted to showcase the core gameplay mechanics without spoiling too much of the story. 

Cas & Chary Present

Cas and Chary VR is a YouTube channel hosted by Netherland-based duo Casandra Vuong and Chary Keijzer who have been documenting their VR journeys since 2016. In partnership with the channel, Road to VR shares a curated selection of their content.

The video might spoil a little of the first mission only. If you don’t want spoilers at all, just stick to the article. If you’re looking for a scored analysis, check out the Road to VR review of the game.

I’m about four hours into the game and I am enjoying it a lot, even though I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to horror and I need to take breaks every so often to calm down! Yes, the game does the Walking Dead series right. I haven’t read the comic books, so the TV series is my only reference, but in the series, you could feel the tension whenever people were out in the apocalypse. Nowhere is safe, the undead are everywhere, and the living are usually even more dangerous. The game feels exactly like this, except instead of watching it happen to others, you’re living it.

The core gameplay consists of a couple of things. First of all, the game is story-driven with fully voiced characters. Even your own character has a voice (you can choose between a male and a female voice). When you meet NPC’s, you’ll get dialogue options, allowing you to shape the conversation. There’s also a psychological aspect to the game as you’ll be given several moral choices in your playthrough.

After the tutorial and an introduction story, you’ll find the safe resting area where you can craft things like weapons, helpful items, and character upgrades. There’s a bus with a map of the game and a recycle bin where you can convert found materials into scrap. This scrap can then be used to craft. Materials can be found almost everywhere when you visit places for your missions. You will find yourself going back to the safe area often to recycle materials and to rest up.

Throughout the game, you’ll be assigned tasks that will take you to multiple places. Each place has randomized events, loot, and Walkers. For those that don’t know the series, Walkers are the zombie enemies you’ll encounter in this game.

Your character has six holster spots: two on your belt for weapons, two on your chest for a flashlight and a journal, and one over each shoulder for a backpack and a heavy weapon. The journal serves as your objective guide, map, character info, crafting recipe reference, and hints. The backpack stores a limited amount of items and there’s a slot inside for another weapon as well.

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'The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners' Coming to Quest & PSVR This Year

Combat has a nice physics-based feel to it; not to the obsessive extent of Boneworks (2019), but still enough to make it feel engaging. For example, all weapons have weight and each weapon has its own kill animation and sound effect that makes the kill feel pretty satisfying. Walkers can only be killed if you pierce through their brains. Trying to stab their heads lightly with a shiv won’t work—you’ll need to use a bit more strength to pierce through it. However, a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire will go through much easier if you use two hands and some force, but you’ll also drain your in-game stamina meter faster. Yes, you also need to pay attention to your stamina. If it runs out, it’ll be harder to swing weapons.

Your character can also get sick. When your health is low, you’ll start coughing loudly, luring any Walkers around towards you. And it doesn’t help that you can run out of ammo or weapons easily. Weapons have durability so after a couple of uses they can break.

Image courtesy Skydance Interactive

You also have a watch on your left wrist that indicates when bells in the city will ring and cause the streets to be flooded by Walkers. Best not to be around when that happens. So your only option is to go back to the resting place often and tactically choose what to bring with you on your next mission.

As said before, this game isn’t for the faint-hearted. The environments can be dark and eerie. It’s certainly a challenge, but even though I’m a baby when it comes to horror, I still want to venture further as the game intrigues me a lot.

The only complaint I have so far is that you can’t physically crouch, there’s only artificial crouching with the press of a button (which is weird for a VR game), but that aside, the game is well done. There is also more to this game than I could fit in this video and article. So if you like what you’ve read so far, I suggest diving into it yourself. Good luck!

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‘The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners’ Coming to Quest & PSVR This Year https://www.roadtovr.com/walking-dead-saints-sinners-quest-psvr-launch-date/ https://www.roadtovr.com/walking-dead-saints-sinners-quest-psvr-launch-date/#respond Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:55:52 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93337
The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners (2020) launched on PC VR headsets yesterday, and basically established itself as one of the most gritty and violent entries into the VR horror-survival genre. Now, Skydance Interactive says both PSVR and Oculus Quest users should expect the game on the respective platforms later this year. Skydance confirmed via Twitter […]

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The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners (2020) launched on PC VR headsets yesterday, and basically established itself as one of the most gritty and violent entries into the VR horror-survival genre. Now, Skydance Interactive says both PSVR and Oculus Quest users should expect the game on the respective platforms later this year.

Skydance confirmed via Twitter today that both PSVR and Quest support will arrive in 2020, with the PSVR version slated for Spring 2020 and the Quest version for Q4 2020.

We’re hoping the studio will be able to appropriately squeeze the horror-survival game onto those lower-spec platforms, as it was really a treat to play.

Outside of being a really fun physics-based romp through a zombie-infested New Orleans, Saints & Sinners also proved to be a visually detailed and atmospheric game, so it would be a shame if Quest & PSVR users miss out on the full breadth of the experience.

Although Quest users can play it right now via Oculus Link and a VR-ready computer, when it launches as a native Quest title later this year it will effectively be one of the longest and largest titles on the platform to date. In our play through, it took us 11 hours to complete, although there’s plenty of meat on the bone for at least another handful of hours of scrounging for supplies and crafting impressive weapons.

Make sure to check our full review here to find out why we gave it a resounding [9/10].

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Couch Co-op Heist Game ‘Covert’ Launching on PSVR in February https://www.roadtovr.com/co-op-covert-psvr-launch-date/ https://www.roadtovr.com/co-op-covert-psvr-launch-date/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2020 15:30:37 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93332
Covert (2018), an action-adventure title that puts asymmetric co-op at its core, is coming to PSVR next month. White Elk Studios says in a tweet that Covert is arriving on PSVR February 25th. White Elk is also known for the VR adventure title Eclipse: Edge of Light (2017) which recently landed on PSVR and PC VR […]

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Covert (2018), an action-adventure title that puts asymmetric co-op at its core, is coming to PSVR next month.

White Elk Studios says in a tweet that Covert is arriving on PSVR February 25th. White Elk is also known for the VR adventure title Eclipse: Edge of Light (2017) which recently landed on PSVR and PC VR headsets.

First launched on Oculus Go in 2018, Covert offers up asymmetric gameplay by way of a mobile companion app, which supports most Android and iOS devices.

Boasting six hours of gameplay, you play as either ‘The Thief’ in VR, or as ‘The Hacker’ on a mobile device. The objective: pull off a series of high-profile heists by using gadgets to infiltrate heavily guarded facilities in VR, and by breaching through security systems on mobile.

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'Iron Man VR' for PSVR Delayed Until May 15th

Although Covert is geared more towards couch co-op, online play is also possible through the free companion mobile app.

We haven’t had a chance to play Covert, however it’s currently rated at [4.1/5] stars for Oculus Go, with some detracting from that score due to a perceived issue with the game’s controls. We’ll be interested to see how White Elk has changed this up to fit the PSVR platform when it arrives next month.

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Rhythm Shooter ‘Audica’ to Launch on Quest Next Week with Rift Cross-buy https://www.roadtovr.com/audica-oculus-quest-cross-buy-launch/ https://www.roadtovr.com/audica-oculus-quest-cross-buy-launch/#respond Fri, 24 Jan 2020 12:26:39 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93329
Audica (2019), the VR ‘rhythm shooter’ from Guitar Hero studio Harmonix, is officially set to arrive on Oculus Quest on January 28th. This, the studio said in a recent tweet, also includes cross-buy with the Rift version available through the Oculus Store. Audica first launched on PC VR headsets in Early Access back in March 2019, […]

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Audica (2019), the VR ‘rhythm shooter’ from Guitar Hero studio Harmonix, is officially set to arrive on Oculus Quest on January 28th. This, the studio said in a recent tweet, also includes cross-buy with the Rift version available through the Oculus Store.

Audica first launched on PC VR headsets in Early Access back in March 2019, and then later on PSVR late last year, which carried with it four new songs exclusive to PSVR as well as five paid DLC songs from household names such as 5 Seconds of Summer, Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Imagine Dragons, and Post Malone.

Now, the Quest version is set to arrive next week alongside four new paid DLC tracks and four free DLC songs that were once PSVR exclusives.

New Paid DLC Songs

  • Chvurches – “The Mother We Share”
  • Flo Ride Ft. Sage the Gemini and Lookas – “GDFR”
  • Lizzo – “Juice”
  • The Weeknd – “Can’t Feel My Face”
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Free Songs (previously PSVR exclusives)

  • ASMS – “Reeds of Mitatrush”
  • Darren Korb ft. Ashley Barrett – “We All Become”
  • James Egbert ft. Nina Sung – “Exit Wounds”
  • James Landino – “Funky Computer”

In Audica, players shoot and smash targets to the beat of a soundtrack; you’re tasked with not only trying to shoot on beat, but accurately too.

An Oculus Store page for the Quest version is already live. The game will be priced at the same $30 as the Rift version for new players, or free if you already own it on the Oculus platform.

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Now 150 People Strong, Varjo Talks Future Focus, More Affordable Headsets https://www.roadtovr.com/varjo-ceo-interview-niko-eiden/ https://www.roadtovr.com/varjo-ceo-interview-niko-eiden/#comments Fri, 24 Jan 2020 11:03:06 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93143
Finland-based startup Varjo, maker of high-end enterprise VR headsets, has built an impressive product and charted a rapid growth, seemingly similar to the early years of Oculus. Now with 150 employees and some $46 million in venture funding, Varjo is aiming to make its headset lineup more widely accessible. After an impressive demo of Varjo’s […]

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Finland-based startup Varjo, maker of high-end enterprise VR headsets, has built an impressive product and charted a rapid growth, seemingly similar to the early years of Oculus. Now with 150 employees and some $46 million in venture funding, Varjo is aiming to make its headset lineup more widely accessible.

After an impressive demo of Varjo’s ‘workspace’ concept earlier this month, I sat down with CEO Niko Eiden and got a glimpse of the company’s focus and heading.

To Be (a Platform) or Not to Be

Eiden told me that Varjo isn’t planning to make an ecosystem play. Rather than profiting by owning a platform and the means of content distribution (as Facebook, Valve, HTC, and others are focused on) Varjo intends to be a product company—one which primarily profits from the sale of its hardware. The company’s headsets are currently compatible with OpenVR (the foundation of SteamVR), and every Varjo headset includes SteamVR Tracking built in.

More Affordable Headsets for a Broader Appeal

Image courtesy Varjo

Even among enterprise-focused headsets, Varjo’s are expensive. As the only headset on the market offering genuine retina resolution (at least in the central part of the field of view) the company at least has a truly unique differentiator which to justify the premium $5,000 pricetag for use-cases which demand visual fidelity that matches human eyesight. Even so, Varjo hopes to make its headsets more affordable in the future.

Eiden said that Varjo’s goal is to eventually make its products affordable enough that individual employees could reasonably ask their employer for the headset—the same way they might ask their department for a high-end monitor—whereas the cost today means there generally needs to be a very specific use-case and ROI in mind, which has kept Varjo’s headsets largely in the realm of Fortune 500 companies.

Indeed, impressive companies like Volvo, Audi, Saab AB, and Siemens PLM—companies with market caps in the tens of billions of dollars—are among Varjo’s “hundreds” of customers, Eiden said. But it’s going to take a cheaper headset for Varjo to reach medium-sized businesses, and to see its vision of seamless VR enterprise workflows come to fruition.

Image courtesy Varjo

Exactly where the price will fall, Eiden didn’t say, but with HTC’s Vive Pro Eye (perhaps the most complete enterprise-focused offering out there) at $1,600, somewhere between that and $3,500 (the price of well equipped workstation PC) seems reasonable.

Startup Trajectory

Since its founding in 2016, Varjo has grown quite rapidly. Eiden confirmed the company now has some 150 employees, about half of which he said are focused on hardware, with the other half on software. Varjo has raised some $46 million to date, and Eiden told me that the company is in the midst of raising its Series C funding round with a goal in the neighborhood of $55 to $110 million.

Image courtesy Varjo

As far as a the trajectory of a VR headset startup, that puts Varjo just about in a league of its own, with the nearest comparable seemingly being Oculus itself, which, over the course of about three years, raised nearly $100 million before being acquired by Facebook in 2014. Other VR headset startups out there which come close are Pico and Pimax, though neither have amassed the same level of funding.

Vision Driven

There’s a big question still in the air for Varjo. If the company doesn’t plan to own an ecosystem, what will differentiate its headset once others catch up with retina resolution visuals? For Eiden, the and rest of the company, the long term vision of the ‘workspace’ concept seems to be the pillar around which the company plans to ultimately build. “When we’re done, computers will look nothing like they do right now,” the company says.

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‘The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners’ Review – Satisfyingly Drenched in Existential Angst https://www.roadtovr.com/the-walking-dead-saints-sinners-review-vr/ https://www.roadtovr.com/the-walking-dead-saints-sinners-review-vr/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2020 18:59:20 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93300
To put it bluntly, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is genuinely terrifying. And I’m convinced the game’s creators started with a pretty simple premise and built everything with that in mind: ‘how to make the player feel insanely distressed in literally every conceivable way’. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Details: Developer: Skydance Interactive Publisher: Skybound Games Available On: Steam (Index, Vive, […]

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To put it bluntly, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is genuinely terrifying. And I’m convinced the game’s creators started with a pretty simple premise and built everything with that in mind: ‘how to make the player feel insanely distressed in literally every conceivable way’.

The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Details:

Developer: Skydance Interactive
Publisher: Skybound Games
Available On: Steam (Index, Vive, Rift, Windows MR), Oculus Store (Rift)
Reviewed On: Rift
Release Date: January 23rd, 2020
Price: $40

Gameplay

Regardless of whether that supposed premise was Skydance’s intended goal or not, that’s exactly how I feel about Saints & Sinners: morally compromised from no-win scenarios, mentally fatigued from a constant barrage of the undead, and demoralized from grasping at what little detritus I can scrounge up along the way in a grey, unforgiving world. With only a few caveats, it is a remarkably fun (and frightening) virtual safari through a gang and zombie-infested New Orleans, and one you can easily slip into for hours of zombie-ganking carnage at a time.

To help infect you with this inescapable existential angst, the game is built on a few key elements: you need to scrounge for basic supplies, and craft those into useful items to help you throughout your successive hops across the map. A few cork boards back at your base present you with recipes that you can research and then craft by pushing a single ‘build’ button.

Supply recipes, Photo by Road to VR

Once you leave your base, you have both a stamina and health bar that needs constant attention. Getting physical like sprinting and using melee weapons kills your stamina and creates hunger, which additionally puts a temporary cap on your max stamina until you eat something wholesome—not that garbage you find in the NOLA wasteland, only home-made fixins. Similarly, getting infected from z-bites puts a temporary cap on your max health until you take medicine.

It’s not a very tough balancing act, provided you’re not overwhelmed by a pack of shambolic brain-eating monsters, which is usually the case. Killing zombies one at a time is easy, but more than three and you better have your head on straight and your supplies in order. And it’s not like there’s a wristwatch on your arm that tells you when to leave because the sun will go down and zombies will rush in to chase you through the streets until you collapse of exhaustion. Oh wait. That’s totally a thing.

Image courtesy Sundance Interactive

Escape the level before the clock runs out, or you’ll be overrun by a basically unsurvivable horde, forcing you to either start the level over entirely fresh or alternatively restart the level with your accumulated cache where you last died. The latter option can be useful if you died close to the dedicated starting area, but you’ll be stepping out from there empty-handed; if it’s deep in the level, you can basically kiss it goodbye at that point. It’s a clever, anxiety-ridden way of making you asses things quickly.

And in practice, this places you right on the edge of failure at nearly every turn. Like in the many of the beloved RPG titles from Bethesda such as Skyrim and the Fallout series, you need to be smart about what stuff you put into your finite backpack. If you want to build ancillary bad-ass weapons like assault rifles or machetes, you’ll need to grind it out a little bit for the raw material. While you can make it to the end of the game even the most basic starter equipment, chasing down even cooler weapons had me running around and rifling through drawers outside of the main storyline for a good amount of time.

Note: reaching your controller over your left shoulder pulls out your backpack. On your right shoulder is a large weapon, and on your left and right hips are holsters for knives and pistols. I like these sorts of holster systems, although you’ll need some muscle memory to make sure you’re not accidentally tossing away an important weapon willy-nilly.

Photo by Road to VR

And there is a singular storyline to follow with a few choices along the way, but not much in the way of truly world-shifting decisions to make. No matter how hard you suck up to either of the game’s dueling forces, you won’t find yourself becoming the king of your own gang.

I only wish the game had the budget to be a game at the grandiosity of Fallout, with its numerous intertwining stories and large, open-world environment, although I’m happy Saints & Sinners didn’t overextend itself. More on that in the ‘Immersion’ section below.

Image courtesy Skydance Interactive

What about zombie killing, you ask? If you’re not a good shot (head shots only, boys and girls), you’ll be grabbing zombies by the head and braining them for the foreseeable future—something that is intentionally super off-putting. And you have to watch out, because there are three types of zombies, a vanilla zombie, one that craps out infectious fumes when you kill it up close, and helmeted zombies with different exposed areas of their skulls. It’s a nice way of creating difficulty without artificially making them bullet sponges.

Although you’ll find a number of guns on missions, they have lower durability than home-made versions, which take considerable resources to research, build and feed with appropriate ammo.

Image courtesy Skydance Interactive

Save states are equally as punishing, as you’re only afforded autosaves when you wake up in the morning and when you land at your destination, which makes wandering through larger levels really a truly daunting task. One false move, and you’re back to square one, albeit a bit wiser about the map’s layout and general zombie placement. It’s definitely a double-edge sword; it keeps you on your toes, but can frustrate when you have to race your way through the same dialogue tree over and over.

This game really got under my skin, and in the best sort of way. Like both the comics and the TV show, The Walking Dead is less about the zombies, and more about the survivors fighting it out for survival. And to that effect, you choose who lives and who dies, and there aren’t any easy answers. You can try to talk your way out of pulling the trigger, but NPCs have their reasons—human reasons for doing the terrible things they do. And everyone is pretty terrible, you included.

In the end, it took me around 11 hours to complete Saints & Sinners. After the credits rolled, you’re tossed back into the game for infinite scavenging, crafting, and zombie ganking throughout the world. I hoped there’d be a little more to it than that to cap off an ultimately satisfying story filled with warring factions, betrayal, loss, and enough zombies to shake a stick at, but I was more than happy with putting down the headset and leaving the game’s fractured, depressing verion NOLA behind.

Immersion

Firstly, the game’s sound design is pretty great. Zombies visually flail around when they notice you, but they also give off a number of warning noises that should keep you from having to keep your head on a swivel. Constant moaning gives you a good read on their general position, and more aggressive moaning means they’ve seen you and are coming towards you. In addition, there’s also a few different levels of ‘da-dump’ sound effects that happen when a zombie is interested in you.

The soundtrack is also littered with noises that, if you’re not carefully listening, could sound like breathing and screaming, which essentially puts your perceptive system into overdrive as you try to keep your ears open for the nasty ghoulies. In addition, voice acting isn’t hammy, or overdone, which is a feat when it comes to Southern accents.

Image courtesy Skydance Interactive

Sound is so much of an important factor because the game is extremely dark, even in the ‘daytime’, which is really more like a temporary twilight. You of course have your military-style flashlight to help you out when you’re tippy-toeing through poorly lit crypts and passageways, but you have to get used to just how dark and grey everything is. Although the screenshot above makes the zombies look a little too shabby, it’s not something I really noticed (or cared about) in the game. Animations are on point though, so zombies definitely feel real enough when they grab you and you nearly smash your monitor in fear.

If you’re hoping for unbridled exploration, level design is intentionally on the small side—only the size of a few small city blocks—and only offer a few areas to explore, which shunts you to what few NPC side missions there are alongside the comparatively overbearing main quest line. Again, I’m more glad that Saints & Sinners is reducing complexity and not tossing it in where it doesn’t belong in the name of making a technically larger game. Instead of putting emphasis on pure exploration, the clock is constantly ticking away, so you really only have a few minutes to dash in to admire the actual craftsmanship of the game’s levels.

Image by Road to VR

Saving the best for last: yes, this is a physics-based game, although it’s not nearly as married to the concept as, say, Boneworks (2020). Weapons have weight, and your hands don’t clip through the world, which I’m a big, big fan of on principle. Low stamina makes things heavier, and your virtual hands won’t keep up with your physical hands as a result, which can feel a little weird at first.

Because of a strange hand placement issue with the Oculus Touch controllers, I walked away after a few hours with a distinctly ‘off’ feeling to the actual placement of my physical body, which lasted for about an hour after playing. There is a setting that allows you to have a ghostly representation of your controller’s actual position in contrast to their simulated position, but that strangely felt less immersive.

Comfort

Saints & Sinners offers up a fair bit of comfort options that should keep most player happy, as it includes snap-turning and smooth turning locomotion. Variable FOV blinders help keep forward and turning movement comfortable as a default, but can be toggled off in the settings menu.

There is very few moments when your point of view is forced in a slightly uncomfortable way, like when you’re climbing on a ledge or being grabbed by a zombie, although these are few and far between. Otherwise, Saint & Sinners is extremely comfortable for both standing and seated players.

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Valve “Confident” That ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ Will Ship on Time https://www.roadtovr.com/half-life-alyx-release-date-no-delay/ https://www.roadtovr.com/half-life-alyx-release-date-no-delay/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2020 00:41:32 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93293
With a handful of high profile games being delayed in the last few weeks (like Cyberpunk 2077, Doom Eternal, The Last of Us Part II, and more) there’s been lingering worry that Valve—perhaps the game studio most infamous for delays—would wind up delaying Half-Life: Alyx. Not so, according to the game’s development team, which says it’s […]

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With a handful of high profile games being delayed in the last few weeks (like Cyberpunk 2077, Doom Eternal, The Last of Us Part II, and more) there’s been lingering worry that Valve—perhaps the game studio most infamous for delays—would wind up delaying Half-Life: Alyx. Not so, according to the game’s development team, which says it’s “confident” the game will be ready for its March release date.

Today during a Q&A session with Valve developers working on Half-Life: Alyx, the group confirmed the game is on track for a March release date.

“With the exception of some tweaks to the absolute final scene, the game is done. Lots of us at Valve, as well as playtesters, have played through the entire game multiple times,” the company wrote. “Right now we’re primarily polishing and fixing bugs, which is where we’d hope to be at this point in the development cycle. We’re confident we’ll hit our intended release.”

And the response didn’t come without a reference to the infamous ‘Valve Time‘, a term which has come to encapsulate the company’s habit of letting self-imposed deadlines slip by.

“We let the Valve Time happen before we announced the game,” the developers joked.

Half-Life: Alyx developers gathered today to respond to a Q&A on Reddit | Image courtesy Valve

Valve developers Robin Walker, Jamaal Bradley, David Feise, Greg Coomer, Corey Peters, Erik Wolpaw, Tristan Reidford, Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, and Kaci Aitchison Boyle represented the larger Half-Life: Alyx dev team during the Q&A.

SEE ALSO
Valve: 'Half-Life: Alyx' Dev Team is the 'single largest we've ever had'

They also answered a handful of questions about gameplay; we’ve pulled out some of the most interesting snippets here, but you can dig through the entirety of the responses over at the Q&A on Reddit.

On enemies, weapons, and movement:

Yes, Barnacles are a threat in VR. They don’t kill you instantly. You’ll deal with them in familiar ways, but the opportunities afforded by VR also give you new methods to use against them. We experimented with moving the player, but moving the player without their input in VR didn’t work very well. As with many aspects of working on this game, we’ve had to find new ways to take well-worn mechanics and other Half-Life staples into the specific framework of VR.

Similarly, Combine soldiers definitely return, both in the form you’ve previously seen them as well as with new variations to keep players busy and take advantage of VR.

Some creatures respond to audio more than others. We don’t want to spoil anything, but there’s an example of this we’re particularly excited about.

As with audio, limb dismemberment is not a factor in most combat encounters—but there is a very notable exception.

Because the game includes the ability to mantle in continuous motion, you don’t need often need to jump. For instance, if you need to get past an obstacle like a crate, you mantle up rather than jump up. The only time you need to jump is to traverse a short gap, which happens very rarely. We tried a few iterations of jumping, but ultimately found that even in continuous motion, players preferred dealing with those jumps with a teleport-style movement.


Our weapons all require only one hand, but they can be optionally grabbed and steadied by your offhand. We really wanted to focus on simultaneous two handed play throughout the game, so we needed the player to always be able to easily have a free hand. We keep that hand pretty busy with gravity gloves, movement, world interactions, flashlight, and so on.

We have a few systems for inventory and weapon selection, all designed with the goal of keeping the players eyes on the environment as much as possible. We have an ‘over the shoulder’ contextual inventory system for ammo on your off hand, Your weapon hand has a quick weapon select feature, and we have a couple of wrist bags for some of the other items.

On horror in VR:

Tristan here, I admit I cannot deal with headcrabs in general, and definitely not in VR. If I’m testing the game, and I’m in an area where I know one of those things is around, I’ll remove the head set and hold it off my face as I attempt navigate on the 2D monitor screen, to lessen the impact of headcrab discovery. Disappointingly for me, it seems that I’m the only one on the team who can’t deal, we handle the scarier parts pretty well in terms of making the game accessible.

Horror is part of the franchise, and through playtesting, we feel like we’ve gained some confidence about where to draw this line. Some of our gorier visuals tend to evoke a grim fascination rather than revulsion or panic, and apart from myself, we’ve hardly ever seen anyone nope out of a playtest, even during the creepier sections. So among testers I still seem to be the outlier on horror tolerance.

Support for Index controllers and other VR hardware:

Index controller finger-tracking allows for greater player expression and more opportunities for fine-grained engagement with the world. But the game was tested with all major VR solutions throughout development to ensure full compatibility for all required interactions.

Half-Life: Alyx will have subtitles in 10 languages:

We will be doing subtitles at launch for ten total languages: English, French, German, Spanish-Spain, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish-Latin America, and Traditional Chinese. VO in other languages is something we’re still considering.

Trains confirmed:

It’s actually illegal to ship a Half-Life game if you don’t spend at least a little time riding in a train.

The Q&A is still ongoing and we’ll be keeping our eye out for more interesting info from the team. For more on Half-Life: Alyx, check out our coverage of all the details surrounding the game’s announcement:

More on Half-Life: Alyx

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Valve: ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ Dev Team is the ‘single largest we’ve ever had’ https://www.roadtovr.com/half-life-alyx-development-team-reddit-ama-qa/ https://www.roadtovr.com/half-life-alyx-development-team-reddit-ama-qa/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2020 20:17:17 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93286
Today during a Q&A session with Valve developers working on Half-Life: Alyx, the group confirmed that the development team behind the title is the largest to have ever worked on any Valve game. Responding to a question regarding how many people are working on Half-Life: Alyx, the company said the game’s development team is the “largest single […]

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Today during a Q&A session with Valve developers working on Half-Life: Alyx, the group confirmed that the development team behind the title is the largest to have ever worked on any Valve game.

Responding to a question regarding how many people are working on Half-Life: Alyx, the company said the game’s development team is the “largest single team we’ve ever had at Valve.” It was further revealed that the current size of the team sits at around 80 people which is certainly a large team compared to the size of most VR game studios today, but not particularly large relative to teams working on non-VR AAA titles at other studios. Still, Valve is known for punching above its weight class thanks to its top-notch talent, and the company maintains that Half-Life: Alyx will but a full fledged game.

SEE ALSO
Valve's Gabe Newell: 'We're excited to return to Half-Life, VR has energized the studio'

Valve developers Robin Walker, Jamaal Bradley, David Feise, Greg Coomer, Corey Peters, Erik Wolpaw, Tristan Reidford, Chris Remo, Jake Rodkin, and Kaci Aitchison Boyle represented the larger Half-Life: Alyx dev team during the Q&A. They also answered a handful of questions regarding the production of the game.

Half-Life: Alyx developers gathered today to respond to a Q&A on Reddit | Image courtesy Valve

We’ve pulled out some of the most interesting snippets about the game’s development here, but you can dig through the entirety of the responses over at the Q&A on Reddit.

On sound design and audio tech:

Dave here (Sound Designer) – A short and incomplete list of audio features we’ve added or improved for HL:A

  • Soundscape system improved to be more fully integrated with the audio system as a whole.
  • Our music system is new.
  • Numerous Steam Audio improvements.
  • Huge amount of work on the lower level audio systems.
  • New tools for mixing and implementing sounds.

From a Sound Design perspective we’ve had to change how we think about the sounds we make and implement. A lot of things are the same as making a traditional game, good art/sound is good in VR as well, but there are new factors as well. A main one for me was figuring out ways of making environments sonically interesting for players who want to take their time and explore, which happens much more frequently in VR.


We’re using Steam Audio HRTF, DSP, and occlusion in HL:A. Having the SA development team in the same building has been really beneficial to the audio team since we’ve been able quickly iterate with them on feature requests and performance issues.

On writing and music:

We’ve never been able to figure out where the rumors of us falling out with [Marc Laidlaw, a writer on the original Half-Life games] came from, because there’s no truth to it. He’s been super generous with his time throughout the development of HL:A, answering many questions from Erik, Jay, and Sean as they hammered away on the story. As is always the case with Marc, we send him an email, and he sends us a response, and then roughly 40 more replies to his own email.

Several of the HL:A team members worked on HL1. There are some things we think we did better in HL1 than HL2, so we did go back to look at it again. As an example of that, the soldier AI in HL1 was something we looked at carefully during the development of the Combine Soldiers in HL:A.


Music on HL:A is being done by Mike Morasky (Portal 2, TF2, more!), and I know he’s talked with Kelly quite a bit about his approach to the music of Half-Life. So you’ll probably hear some of that come through but in Mike’s unique style.

Why Half-Life: Alyx won’t show the player’s arms:

We don’t render arms due to our experiences with playtesting—briefly, we found that players themselves don’t notice them missing (spectators do, obviously), and they don’t like them obscuring their view.

We actually simulate invisible arms though, which connect from your hands back up to your HMD, and we use those to detect impossible things, like completely closing a drawer over your wrist.

On the upgraded Source 2 engine and Hammer modding tools:

This is Corey, a level designer here. Hammer in Source 2 has been overhauled from the ground up. Everything from how geometry is built and textured to how asset creation is done has been improved to increase the speed and ease at which we can build and iterate on levels.

One big feature for us on HL:A was the addition of a system similar to layers, where individual map files from multiple level designers, environment artists, and sound designers are combined into a single map. This had a huge impact on how many disciplines could get their hands into each map, which resulted in a much denser level of content throughout the game.


We’re not currently planning on shipping a full SDK [though the company has promised it will release new modding tools for Half-Life: Alyx]. We’d really like to release one at some point, but it’s a ton of work because Source 2 is a new toolset, much of which hasn’t been previously released. Any time we spend on it now is also time we could be spending on polishing the game itself, which we think is more important. As a result, we thought it wasn’t appropriate to promise anything before release.

Generally, this is how we’ve done SDKs in our previous Source 1 titles as well—making the game takes precedence, and after that’s done, we start looking at what’s next.

The Q&A is still ongoing and we’ll be keeping our eye out for more info from the team. For more on Half-Life: Alyx, check out our coverage of all the details surrounding the game’s announcement:

More on Half-Life: Alyx

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Multiplayer Dueling Game ‘Ironlights’ Kickstarter Crosses 50% With Three Weeks Left  https://www.roadtovr.com/darknet-e-mcneill-ironlights-kickstarter/ https://www.roadtovr.com/darknet-e-mcneill-ironlights-kickstarter/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2020 03:51:06 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93198
E McNeill, the developer behind VR strategy games Darknet (2015), Tactera (2016), and Astraeus (2018), is launching a new VR title soon that aims to bring a strategic bend to the melee combat genre. The crowdfunding campaign for the game has passed the 50% mark. Update (January 21st, 2020): The Ironlights Kickstarter has raised 50% of its modest […]

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E McNeill, the developer behind VR strategy games Darknet (2015), Tactera (2016), and Astraeus (2018), is launching a new VR title soon that aims to bring a strategic bend to the melee combat genre. The crowdfunding campaign for the game has passed the 50% mark.

Update (January 21st, 2020): The Ironlights Kickstarter has raised 50% of its modest $15,000 goal with more than three weeks remaining. According to creator E McNeill, the campaign hit the 20% mark on its first day when it launched last week.

The creator also confirmed that the game has already been approved by Oculus for release on Quest, and that Ironlights will support cross-buy between Quest and Rift.

In response to backers who wanted to back the Kickstarter campaign for more than one copy of the game (to share with a friend) McNeill added a new $40 reward tier which includes two copies of the game both with beta access. All higher tiers have also picked up the same two-copy perk.

The original article announcing the game and Kickstarter continues below.

Original Article (January 15th, 2020): Called Ironlightsthe still in-development game is setting itself apart from other physics-based melee titles by offering up a dynamic ‘back-and-forth’ combat scheme, which is designed to further eliminate careless controller waggling by way of a novel turn-based combat system. During a turn, only the attacker can land strikes while the defender must do their best to dodge or parry the incoming blows.

As a physics-based game, all weapons have weight and momentum. However striking an enemy automatically enters you into slow motion, forcing you move your body in slow-mo in order to maintain “optimal control” of your weapons.

In Ironlights, you’re also only allowed one hit per swing, as weapons shatter after each hit instead of bouncing off. By design, this is meant to side-step the sort of disconnect you might feel when you strike a virtual enemy and your physical controller keeps moving. McNeill says to think of it “sort of like a VR version of Street Fighter or Soul Caliber, mixed with SUPERHOT and maybe a dash of Beat Saber.”

Although Ironlights is said to be nearly finished, with launch slated for Spring 2020, the studio is searching for $15,000 in extra funding via a Kickstarter campaign, which promises a 25% discount off the full game ($20 MSRP) when it goes live later this year on Oculus Quest, Rift, and SteamVR headsets. The funds, McNeill says, will help bring to the game more armor models; backers at the $30 and above will get early access to the game.

SEE ALSO
Hands-on: Pico Neo 2 Could Be the Next Best Standalone After Quest

The game is set to include five classes at launch, which includes the Knight (two-handed greatsword), Duelist (rapier & buckler), Monk (staff), Ninja (dual katar-style daggers), and Crusader (flail & shield). And while it promises a single-player campaign, which will include duels, tournaments, and exhibition matches, the game is also targeting cross-platform multiplayer, featuring online and LAN-based modes.

Starting out in VR development is 2013, McNeill has since produced four VR games, including the early Gear VR hit Darknet. He’s been secretly working on Ironlights for some time now with Rockstar Games veteran Geoff Barber, something he calls his “biggest game yet.”

In addition to McNeill’s VR development chops and Barber’s programming expertise, much of the 3D art was built by SuperGenius, a high-caliber art studio which has worked with Blizzard, Double Fine, and Oculus. The game’s thumping soundtrack was composed by EDM artist Jordan Aguirre (aka bLiNd), who also created a few of the game’s sound effects.

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Valve Makes All ‘Half-Life’ Games Free to Play Until ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ Launches in March https://www.roadtovr.com/half-life-free-until-half-life-alyx/ https://www.roadtovr.com/half-life-free-until-half-life-alyx/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2020 03:26:32 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93267
In celebration of the upcoming launch of Half-Life: Alyx, the studio’s first full VR title, Valve is making all games in the Half-Life series free to play until Alyx’s release in March. Half-Life is the cornerstone franchise that established Valve as one of the game industry’s most lauded developers. From the first Half-Life in 1998, the series has spanned […]

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In celebration of the upcoming launch of Half-Life: Alyx, the studio’s first full VR title, Valve is making all games in the Half-Life series free to play until Alyx’s release in March.

Half-Life is the cornerstone franchise that established Valve as one of the game industry’s most lauded developers. From the first Half-Life in 1998, the series has spanned seven titles, leaving the world with a doozy of a cliff hanger in 2007 with the release Half-Life 2: Episode 2.

And though it isn’t the infamously anticipated Half-Life 3, the upcoming Half-Life: Alyx is set to be Valve’s return to the franchise after more than 12 years, and the first full fledged VR title to be release by the studio.

SEE ALSO
Valve's Gabe Newell: 'We're excited to return to Half-Life, VR has energized the studio'

For many, it’s been a minute since they played the iconic series; for many others, Half-Life may have simply been before their time. To refamiliarize (or newly introduce) Half-Life to the world, Valve has made all seven titles free to play until the release of Half-Life: Alyx this March.

Although Alyx is set before the events of Half-Life 2 (2004), Valve has said that players will be better off having played the Half-Life 2 series before Alyx, for reasons that will become apparent in the game.

“The Half-Life: Alyx team believes that the best way to enjoy the new game is to play through the old ones, especially Half-Life 2 and the episodes, so we want to make that as easy as possible,” the company said about making the franchise free to play.

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‘Minecraft’ Creator Praises ‘Boneworks’, Considers Starting a VR Game Studio https://www.roadtovr.com/minecraft-creator-praises-boneworks-notch-vr-game-studio/ https://www.roadtovr.com/minecraft-creator-praises-boneworks-notch-vr-game-studio/#comments Wed, 22 Jan 2020 00:48:53 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93263 mojang minecraft notch oculus rift virtual reality
Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” has apparently been spending time with Valve’s new Index headset and the recently released Boneworks. Now he’s flirting with the idea of starting up a new VR game studio to revisit some game development ideas. Recent tweets from Persson tell us that he’s been playing Boneworks with Valve’s new Index headset and having […]

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mojang minecraft notch oculus rift virtual reality

Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” has apparently been spending time with Valve’s new Index headset and the recently released Boneworks. Now he’s flirting with the idea of starting up a new VR game studio to revisit some game development ideas.

Recent tweets from Persson tell us that he’s been playing Boneworks with Valve’s new Index headset and having quite a bit of fun with it. Across a handful of tweets, he’s called the game “incredible” and “super immersive.”

An emergent moment born of the game’s dedication to physical simulation—where he nearly fell but used a hook-shaped tool to cling to a ledge at the last moment—led him call it “the greatest game of all time;” a bit of hyperbole, I’m sure, though it’s clear how much the interactivity in the game has wowed him.

“Boneworks is what really sold me on VR again. It was the first time I played through a game in VR like I do when I get really absorbed by a game,” he wrote in another tweet.

SEE ALSO
'Boneworks' Outpaces 'Beat Saber' to 100K Units, Earns an Estimated $3M in First Week

The experience has got Persson once again flirting with the idea of making his own VR games.

“All the things I want to try to make in VR keeps gravitating towards a game quite similar to what I was planning with 0x10c,” he tweeted on Monday. “[…] I’m going to need someone driven to help me start up a studio, but I’m afraid to ask anyone I know. So now my plan is to get hunted by dream.”

Whether or not Persson actually goes for it remains to be seen, but this is far from his first foray into VR.

0x10c was an ambitious sci-fi space and survival sandbox game project that Persson had been working on back in 2012, and after a demo of an early Oculus Rift prototype, he said he was “100% impressed and will make 0x10c compatible with it.” Unfortunately the game never came to fruition.

Even beyond 0x10c, Persson has been curious about VR since its inception. He supported the Oculus Kickstarter way back when to the tune of $10,000, and though he had some choice words when the company was sold to Facebook, he eventually claimed he was “officially over being upset” about the acquisition not long after. He even made a key introduction between Oculus and Minecraft studio Mojang (after he had sold the studio) which led to VR support being to Minecraft.

SEE ALSO
John Carmack's Quest to Bring Minecraft to Virtual Reality

In 2016, Persson also experimented with building web-based VR experiences with a project called Unmandelboxing, a ‘fractal’ renderer that runs in the browser with WebVR support.

From his recent musings, it seems like its been a while since he took a good hard look at the state of VR, but his renewed interest could be the motivation that brings him back into the fold.

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https://www.roadtovr.com/minecraft-creator-praises-boneworks-notch-vr-game-studio/feed/ 12 Road to VR Markus "Notch" Persson (left) poses with Rift dev kit in 2012
Lenovo Unveils New Standalone VR Headset for Education https://www.roadtovr.com/lenovo-classroom-vr-headset-standalone-launch-date/ https://www.roadtovr.com/lenovo-classroom-vr-headset-standalone-launch-date/#comments Tue, 21 Jan 2020 17:14:25 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93259
Undeterred by the death of Google Daydeam and the subsequent discontinuation of its consumer-focused standalone headset, Mirage Solo, Lenovo announced its building a new 3DOF standalone for educational purposes. With the so-called ‘Lenovo VR Classroom 2’, the company is offering up a complete package to educators, which includes hardware, content, device management, training, and support—all of […]

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Undeterred by the death of Google Daydeam and the subsequent discontinuation of its consumer-focused standalone headset, Mirage Solo, Lenovo announced its building a new 3DOF standalone for educational purposes.

With the so-called ‘Lenovo VR Classroom 2’, the company is offering up a complete package to educators, which includes hardware, content, device management, training, and support—all of it intended for middle and high school students.

The company says in its education-focused site that the headset will help teachers and administrators “easily integrate virtual reality lessons and field trips into their curriculum, leading to inspiration and meaningful learning outcomes.”

As for the hardware itself, Lenovo seems to be going a bit retro in the tracking department, as both the headset and single controller are 3DOF, which not only will keep students sitting at their desks due to the lack of room-scale tracking, but will also likely lower the overall cost of the hardware.

SEE ALSO
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Lenovo says it will include a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 running an Android-based OS, 1,920×2,160 per lens resolution display clocked at 75Hz, and an integrated 4,200 mAh battery charged via USB type-C. The field of view is said to be 110-degrees, which is more or less standard at this point; overall it basically sounds like a slightly beefier Oculus Go.

According to a press release, Lenovo VR Classroom 2 will launch sometime in Spring 2020.

Deflated Daydream ambitions notwithstanding, the Chinese tech giant is garnering itself a name in VR/AR product design and manufacturing. It recently partnered with Facebook to create Oculus Rift S, the inside-out tracked hardware refresh of the company’s PC VR headset, unveiled a new prototype AR headset for business travelers, and partnered with Finnish headset creator Varjo to certify a line of Lenovo workstations for Varjo’s super high-resolution commercial VR headsets.

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‘Iron Man VR’ for PSVR Delayed Until May 15th https://www.roadtovr.com/iron-man-vr-launch-date-psvr/ https://www.roadtovr.com/iron-man-vr-launch-date-psvr/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2020 17:05:50 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=91347
Camouflaj, the studio behind PlayStation VR exclusive Marvel’s Iron Man VR, had initially announced its high-flying super hero adventure was coming to PSVR February 28th, 2020. Now, the studio says the game is being delayed by a few months, bringing its new launch date to May 15th. Update (January 20th, 2020): Camouflaj recently tweeted that Iron […]

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Camouflaj, the studio behind PlayStation VR exclusive Marvel’s Iron Man VR, had initially announced its high-flying super hero adventure was coming to PSVR February 28th, 2020. Now, the studio says the game is being delayed by a few months, bringing its new launch date to May 15th.

Update (January 20th, 2020): Camouflaj recently tweeted that Iron Man VR will arrive on May 15th on PSVR. Here’s the studio’s full statement below:

‘In order to deliver on our vision and meet the high expectations of our amazing community, we’ve made the difficult decision to move Marvel’s Iron Man VR to a May 15, 2020 release. We truly appreciate your patience and understanding. You’ll be hearing from us again soon!”

Original Article (October 15th, 2019): The game tosses you into the boots of Tony Stark where you fend off attacks from the mysterious anti-corporate hacktivist Ghost, the game’s main nemesis who wants to dismantle Stark’s empire by using his own technology against him.

“In our game, Ghost is a great foil for Tony Stark—she not only holds a grudge against our hero, but holds a mirror up to him,” said Brendan Murphy, the game’s lead writer. “As a witness to the damage caused by Stark-made weapons years earlier, Ghost’s fight against Iron Man is both ideological and personal. Because of Ghost, our complex and fascinating hero must reconcile his troubled past, both on and off the battlefield…”

Image courtesy Sony

We’re sure to see more of Iron Man VR in the weeks leading up to its February release, although from our hands-on this summer, it’s clear there’s some serious potential for it to become an excellent VR game. Road to VR’s Ben Lang says it’s thanks to the game’s innovative flying mechanics that do a pretty remarkable job of making you feel like you’ve stepped into the iconic hero’s super suit.

Iron Man VR is already available for pre-order through the PlayStation Store, and is slated to arrive in two specific flavors:

Standard Edition: $40 USD / $50 CAD (physical & digital copy)

Digital Deluxe Edition: $50 USD / $60 CAD (digital only):

  • Marvel’s Iron Man VR Game
  • 4 Deluxe Edition Deco Armors (Golden Avenger, Black Centurion, Sun Stinger, Stealth Armor)
  • 12 Research Points – Research Points are gained by analyzing combat data from Iron Man’s performance in the field. This research and analysis allows Friday to develop new technology (weapons and augments) for the Impulse Suit. Use these Research Points to unlock some weapons and augments early and customize to play style.
  • Marvel’s Iron Man VR Digital Deluxe Soundtrack
  • Digital Deluxe Edition Iron Man PS4 Theme

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Valve Confirms ‘Left 4 Dead’ VR Game Not in Active Development https://www.roadtovr.com/valve-confirms-left-4-dead-vr-game-not-active-development/ https://www.roadtovr.com/valve-confirms-left-4-dead-vr-game-not-active-development/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2020 14:30:39 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=93253
If you were buzzing about the proposition of getting a Left 4 Dead game any time soon, be it VR or otherwise, Valve says it’s definitely not working on any Left 4 Dead-related IP, and it hasn’t for years. Rumors that Valve was pursuing a VR adaptation of the Left 4 Dead franchise have been circulating since well before the […]

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If you were buzzing about the proposition of getting a Left 4 Dead game any time soon, be it VR or otherwise, Valve says it’s definitely not working on any Left 4 Dead-related IP, and it hasn’t for years.

Rumors that Valve was pursuing a VR adaptation of the Left 4 Dead franchise have been circulating since well before the company unveiled Half-Life: Alyx late last year, if only as a hypothetical next step the company might take in building out its famed three ‘full VR games’ first promised back in 2017.

As early as 2016, code relating to both Left 4 Dead and Half-Life was found in Valve-built VR demos, making the L4D franchise the next obvious choice.

IGN obtained the following statement from Valve that puts a pretty tight lid on the prospects of getting a Left 4 Dead game however—at least for now:

“We’ve seen rumors to this effect for the last couple of months,” a Valve spokesperson tells IGN. “We did briefly explore some Left 4 Dead next gen opportunities a few years ago. But we are absolutely not working on anything L4D related now, and haven’t for years.”

SEE ALSO
Index Sold Out in all 31 Regions, Valve "working hard" to Meet Demand Ahead of 'Half-Life: Alyx'

The reasoning behind the public denial? HTC Vive China president Alvin Wang Graylin teased a few slides from a talk held by the company late last week in Beijing, one of which states that Half-Life: Alyx and “LFD3 (sic) will drive consumer and AAA studio interest” over the course of 2020.

Graylin dispelled the contents of the slide later that day as personal speculation, however since Valve worked closely with HTC to develop the original 2016-era Vive headset, it seemed to many as a tacit confirmation of a bonafide VR entry in the Left 4 Dead franchise, which we now know doesn’t have any merit.

Whether Valve has a Left 4 Dead VR game in its sights is another question entirely. With a supposed bank of assets from their earlier attempt at reportedly making, and subsequently scrapping Left 4 Dead 3 in 2017, there may still be some incentive to push forward with a L4D VR game, however it may take the success of Half-Life: Alyx to get the studio to fully commit.

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The 5 Best Cross-Play Multiplayer Games for PC VR & PlayStation VR https://www.roadtovr.com/best-cross-compatible-multiplayer-games-for-rift-vive-psvr/ https://www.roadtovr.com/best-cross-compatible-multiplayer-games-for-rift-vive-psvr/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:20:30 +0000 https://www.roadtovr.com/?p=65535
Single-player games can immersive and rewarding, but when the campaign is done and all the AI foes have been slain, you need to know when you finally hit that ‘multiplayer’ button that can play with actual human beings. Here we take a look at multiplayers games that will let you play together—be it on PC […]

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Single-player games can immersive and rewarding, but when the campaign is done and all the AI foes have been slain, you need to know when you finally hit that ‘multiplayer’ button that can play with actual human beings. Here we take a look at multiplayers games that will let you play together—be it on PC VR headsets through Steam or Oculus, or on PlayStation VR.

VR’s overall playerbase—even across the major headsets—is still a pretty small community in contrast to console/PC gaming. So while the multiplayer lobbies won’t be busting at the seams like you’re used to in flatscreen games, you’re still bound to find a group of casuals, die-hards, and try-hards populating the servers.

Here’s what we think are the best cross-compatible games for Rift, Vive, Index, or Windows MR players on PC, and for console players on PSVR. You’ll find a longer explanation below our top 5 list detailing more about PSVR cross-play (spoiler: there’s only a few).

5 – Sparc

CCP’s 1v1 sports game Sparc was their last virtual reality title before shuttering their VR studios late last year. While CCP has basically called it quits on VR for now, there’s still plenty of reasons to pick up Sparc if you’re looking to connect up with a buddy.

Sparc is by all measures a great game, but it’s even greater that you can play mano-a-mano against any one of your VR headset owning goons you call friends. Sparc suffers from the same issue as many cross-platform VR games though, i.e. no support for friends lists outside of the platform you’re on, but you can always host a game and hope for matchmaking serendipity—the silver lining to a smaller user base means you’ll probably be able to match up with your friend easily.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store 

4 – Catan VR

Catan VR (2018) brings the best-selling board game Settlers of Catan to pretty much every VR headset out there, with dedicated community of players on PC VR headsets, PSVR, Oculus Go and Gear VR. You’re certain to meet Catan-lovers from all over the world, so who knows how your game will improve or what friends you’ll make along the way.

Although online play is the main focus of Catan VR, there’s also a single-player mode with ‘Catan AI Personalities’, which were designed with guidance from Catan creator Klaus Teuber.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store

3 – Space Junkies

Space Junkies (2019) is a team shooter from Ubisoft’s Montpellier studio that puts you into zero-g for some pretty familiar Unreal Tournament-style action. Although Ubisoft pulled the plug on development only a few months after the sci-fi arcade-style shooter was released, there’s still a sizable chunk of meat on the bones here, making it one of VR’s most finely-polished and fun team shooters out there.

Full cross-play adds some disparity in input; PSVR players could technically have a leg up on the competition due to DualShock 4 allowing for quicker target acquisition, although you may just find dual-wielding with motion controllers way easier and ultimately more satisfying.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store

2 – Star Trek: Bridge Crew

You don’t have to be a Trekkie (or Trekker) to see why sitting at the bridge of a star ship, cooperatively taking down hostile aliens is a really engrossing way to lose an entire afternoon/evening. With its 4-player multiplayer, you can go through the game’s half-dozen campaign missions, or alternatively experience an infinite number of procedurally-generated missions in the company of other PC VR and PSVR-owners.

Created by Ubisoft’s Red Storm Entertainment, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is worth it if only to say you’ve been where no man’s gone before.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store 

1 – Rec Room

Social apps are a fun way to talk and interact with people in VR, but if you don’t have something fun to do while you’re actually there, the novelty ultimately wears off. Anti Gravity’s Rec Room is a great way to experience fun activities like paintball or dodge ball, but the real meat of the game likes in their co-op ‘Quests’ and PvP battle royale game Rec Royale. Of course all of this is served up in a lovable cartoony environment while you have a chat with people from all over the world, or just your best buddies if you so choose. Did we mention it was free. Yeah, we can’t believe it either.

Rec Room isn’t only a great game, but it allows all players regardless of platforms to meet up, create friends and sally forth to take on all activities without the issues we mentioned above.

Oculus Store – Steam – PlayStation Store

Healthy Playerbases, Cross-compatibility Issues

Let’s face it: there aren’t many other cross-play multiplayer titles that currently work on all three major headsets. It’s a fact we’ve been living with since the headsets launched in 2016, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better due to two very real roadblocks outside of the friends list issue a large portion of cross-platform games suffer from. While platform exclusives wall out a large percentage of would-be users, the ugly truth is studios simply aren’t going head-first into VR multiplayer games like they once were. Time after time, VR games that primarily feature multiplayer support have fallen to the wayside because of low hourly active user numbers, and perfectly fun games like Werewolves Within and Eagle Flight stand as testament to this.

If you buy a game and the servers aren’t populated with players, you probably won’t wait around too long for a match; it creates a vicious cycle that tends to spell the death of a game if a hardcore playerbase isn’t built-in due to things like active Discord servers or subreddits to keep people engaged outside of the matchmaking screen.

Thankfully for SteamVR headsets owners, Steam is a great resource for guaranteed cross-play on multiplayer titles; many games available through Steam offer VR support for Rift, Vive, Valve Index, and Windows VR pretty much on a de facto basis. Conversely, with a SteamVR headset and ReVive at your disposal, many Oculus Rift multiplayer titles are technically cross-play capable if you’re looking to hack your way in. It’s a pretty strange way of vaulting over the friends list roadblock, but entirely feasible if you’re motivated.

Update (January, 20th 2020): We’ve done a long-due overhaul of the list reflecting the latest developments in the games, and their cross-play abilities. We’ll be periodically updating this list as new games come out.

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