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.
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.