‘The Gallery: Heart of the Emberstone’ is Out Now on Vive & Rift, Catch the Launch Trailer

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The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone is the anticipated followup to one of VR’s first room-scale experiences, Episode 1: Call of the Starseed, and promises to be considerably larger than its predecessor. Heart of the Emberstone today launched on Steam & Oculus for the Vive & Rift, including a 10% discount bundle with the first Episode.

Update (10/18/17): Following delays, Heart of the Emberstone launched today on Steam & Oculus, supporting both the Vive & Rift, and priced at $30. Episode 1 & 2 can be bought together on Steam in a bundle for $45, a 10% discount (if you already own the first Episode, you can still save by ‘completing’ the bundle). Folks who supported the game’s successful Kickstarter way back in 2013 should have received keys for the second Episode by now; if not the studio encourages backers to reach out to their support email address.

Though the game is also available on the Oculus store, the Steam version natively supports the headset, the studio confirms in their FAQ:

The Steam version of Heart of the Emberstone includes an additional launcher for native support of Oculus Rift (the same as you’d receive if you bought it on Oculus Home).

If you are awaiting a critical verdict before deciding whether or not to jump in, stay tuned for our full review. You may also like to read our recent preview of Heart of the Emberstone, as well as our review of the first Episode, Call of the Starseed.

Update (9/26/17): Though the studio had originally said the game would launch in September, the newly revealed official release date pushes the game back another month to October 18th.

The Gallery Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone will be priced at $30, and Cloudhead Games says there will be a bundle including Episode 1 and Episode 2 for a 10% discount (you’ll also be able to get in on the savings by ‘completing’ the bundle if you already own Episode 1).

The studio says the game’s expected runtime is 4–6 hours for most players, which feels quite right for a $30 title. The studio also released a new video offering new gameplay footage:

If you’re getting hyped to play Heart of the Emberstone, be sure to check out our preview and our review of the first entry in the series, Call of the Starseed.

Update (9/6/17): Developer Cloudhead Games has released a new teaser for Heart of the Emberstone which re-emphasizes the series’ ’80s setting and gives a glimpse of some new environments players will explore in the game.

The game is due to launch this month, though the company hasn’t given a specific launch date just yet.

Posted back in March, a video developer diary offers a slightly longer glimpse of new gameplay and some developer commentary for the latest installment of the adventure.

Original Article (6/17/17): During our hands-on with Heart of the Emberstone at GDC in March, we discovered a game full of clever puzzles and a stunning presentation, reminiscent of 1980’s sci-fi and fantasy movies. As explained in their multi-part Inside the Gallery video series, Cloudhead have taken a more open-world approach to the level design compared to the linear first episode, which has resulted in physically larger environments as well as a much longer playtime.

One of VR's Most Sucessful Studios is Building Two Brand New Games
Image courtesy Cloudhead Games

The game was heading for a Spring 2017 launch, claiming to be double the length of Call of the Starseed. Now that the second entry has been pushed to September, it sounds like the experience has grown again. Detailed on Cloudhead’s official blog, the team describe the playtime and scope as “even larger than we expected – this new date will allow us to add in all sorts of extra details to really flesh out the world the way we want to”.

In a slightly different blog entry on the The Gallery – Episode 1’s news page on Steam, Cloudhead dropped a very unsubtle hint that Call of the Starseed will receive a major price drop during the Steam Summer Sale.

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • J.C.

    The first episode was neat, but each level had one single puzzle to it. with the open world-ish approach this time, it’ll likely feel much less like a trek to a puzzle, solve, next level.

    happy to see a release window, but honestly I just want to know when Vanishing Realms is gonna get another episode.

    • Phillip Copland

      Vanishing Realms – don’t we all!!

      • Bryan Ischo

        Not me. I thought Vanishing Realms was cartoony and boring. But I loved The Gallery Ep 1. To each his own.

  • I liked the first one, but it ended on a very alien note. What was compelling in the first was the real-world stuff mixed with the alien. Makes me wonder how good the 2nd chapter will be if it’s completely devoid of the real-world. The real-world stuff helped to ground the game, made it all more believable. I hope they find some way to make it go back and forth in settings.

    • Bryan Ischo

      I agree with this. The connection with the human element, especially interaction with the crazy old professor and the funny and captivating messages from your in-game sister really made that game for me. I also hope that they retain that in Ep 2.

  • RavnosCC

    Enjoyed the first one tons, can’t wait for episode 2. : )

  • NooYawker

    YES!! Finally, I’ve been waiting for this.

  • yag

    Let’s hope we have locomotion options this time…

  • oompah

    I am waiting for the time when life like ray traced games will make u forget real reality

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Looks great, but $30 is a bit pricey for 4-6 hours of gameplay. I’ll buy it for sure, but when it’s in a sale..

  • Peter Hansen

    Was that a head crab? :D

    • Gus Bisbal

      You just saw half life three… right there…. boom.

  • HybridEnergy

    It’s awesome. It’s better than the first so no need to compare it.