Two years in the making, Budget Cuts has remained almost completely off the radar after briefly surfacing back in 2016, but this week at GDC 2018 the game has reemerged with fresh details, including a May 31st release date, which, for this promising title, still manages to feel like an eternity away.

Update (5/9/18): Budget Cuts was set to launch on May 16th, but has not been pushed back by two weeks, with a new release date of May 31st, according to a post from developer Neat Corporation. The original article has been updated with this information.

The studio cites “unforeseen obstacles in the development of Budget Cuts,” and says “we want to release Budget Cuts in a state that we’re proud of and know will be enjoyable throughout the entire game (without killing our devs in the process).”

Original Article (3/19/18), Updated: Budget Cuts impressed us back in 2016 when it demonstrated smart and innovative VR game mechanics back before any consumer VR headsets had even hit the market. Today, many VR developers are still struggling to come to grips with VR game design, but developer Neat Corp has been busy toiling away, in stealth (if you will), turning Budget Cuts into something that’s still promising, even as VR game design has advanced a good two years since the last time we saw the game. We went hands on with the latest build of Budget Cuts at GDC 2018.

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'Budget Cuts' to Reemerge From the Shadows at GDC, On Track for 2018 Launch

Neat Corp tells us that Budget Cuts will launch on May 31st priced at $30. Promising seven or so hours of content, the game will be released for both HTC Vive (SteamVR) and Oculus Rift (Oculus Home).

Image courtesy Neat Corp

Neat Corp developer Linnéa Harrison tells us that the game will support full room-scale locomotion, and, while the studio plans to encourage Rift users to use three Sensor configurations for greater immersion, the game will support typical two Sensor front-facing setups as well. When it comes to locomotion, Harrison and team said that the game’s teleporting movement is here to stay, as it’s intertwined with both gameplay and story and slapping smooth movement into the game simply wouldn’t work with the game’s underlying design.

The team told us that players can expect stealth, action, puzzles, and bosses. They also said that a number of new mechanics have been introduced since the release of the game’s demo back in 2016, which support varying modes of gameplay, giving players choice in how they want to experience the game. Indeed, they said the game can in theory be played 100% stealth, for those patient and cunning enough to go completely unseen. Also at one point in the new build I opened an office cabinet and found a single cookie inside, so there’s curiously placed cookies too.

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  • J.C.

    Mmm, yes. I’ll happily spend $30 for a few hours being sneaky while using the best teleportation idea I’ve seen. I’m surprised no one else has stolen it, although it DOES require that your game is slower paced.

  • Raphael

    Seven hours of content. Nop. Nop nop nop. I want VR games I can be playing a year later.

    • muchrockness

      You’re legit surprised that a single-player action/stealth game doesn’t have hundreds of hours of content? You must be kidding.

      • Raphael

        Nop. Not surprised for a single-player but seven hours ain’t enough for me. I do tend to go for games I can be playing a year later. I do buy some story-based single player. For 7 hours I wooden be paying that price.

        • muchrockness

          I mean, I guess it’s insanely expensive when I compare it to my backlog of $3 games I’ve amassed through Steam Sales. But I can’t say those games were on the cusp of innovation when I got them. 15-20 hours of innovative VR gaming in exchange for 1-2 hours of my wages is a REALLY fair trade in my opinion.

          • Raphael

            It’s 7 hours in this case. Approx 7 hours of content and I’m not prepared to pay that. I paid 45 for Elite Horizons… that was a year ago and I still play it. It’s still expanding. That’s value for money. I also paid 20 for the base game. So 65 in total and I’ve purchased HCS voice packs and a few things from frontier store.

            I paid 30 for Skyrim VR.

            Not paying 30 for 7 hours.

          • muchrockness

            And those games already existed/would have existed without VR support. When I buy a VR game I’m not just concerned about how long I’ll spend playing it, I’m thinking about the overall enjoyment in the moment, the financial needs of the developer, and the apples to apples cost comparison to other VR-only games.

          • J.C.

            So, you’re saying you value bland, repetitive games over handcrafted, every-moment-planned games. Don’t act like it’s anything different from that.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Don’t bother with Raph and his opinions, he thinks he’s got the lock on all judgement and understanding. Let him sit in his tree house alone on matters and just enjoy it if you want, it’s all relative anyway.

  • Clan Virtu

    Awesome! Can’t wait to review this :D

  • Luke

    killer application!

  • ummm…

    oh man!!! this is awesome………said to years ago. good luck. but im out.

  • Firestorm185

    Glad to hear it! More time spent on this is surely worth it, cannot wait!

  • jj

    took too long to come out. Used to be cool when there was less competition, now a days for that price you can get bigger and better things. They simply took too long to release in an emergent market.

    • muchrockness

      VR fans have been looking forward to and mentioning this game for the entire dev cycle.

      • ummm…

        i stopped caring in late 2016. just saying

      • JJ

        No they really haven’t, just a few bloggers and the devs themselves.

        At the beginning, yes lots of vr fans were talking about it. Now people don’t really care for a game that only has two basic mechanics. Sneak-teleport and object throwing are the two main components and honestly I don’t care for an entire game based off of just that. That could stand when they didn’t have much competition and vr fans were exploring new mechanics, but now that we have full game like skyrim, Fallout, doom and more, this just seems like a glorified demo.

        • muchrockness

          Well no, you’re oversimplifying things. Weapon switching, inventory management, world interactions etc are all interactive. Not to mention combat, physics, AI etc feel right. Budget Cuts benefits greatly from being designed for VR from the start- it’s a more believable experience.

          • JJ

            I meant unique mechanics, and even for that the ones they have are now widely used across all vr games. Plus if they didn’t have those that you mentioned then it clearly wouldn’t even be classified as a game because those are all needed mechanics. You have a really low standard for what qualifies as a game. It’s just a very simple concept extended across the game, and vr should be past demos like this, most of the vr fans are beyond such basic things.

          • muchrockness

            The simplicity of the concept doesn’t matter- it’s how that concept is integrated into the gameplay, and how much gameplay variety is presented by the laws of the world and the scenarios they come up with.

            I can’t pretend to know it’ll be 7 hours of great twists and turns, but it’s not right to assume it‘s just a one-trick pony.

      • PJ

        He’s right, it’s still going to sell pretty well, but it’s no longer a ‘must have VR title’

        • muchrockness

          A small fraction of people have forgotten about/lost interest in it over time, but the reviews will renew interest. The concept is too unique and too well-suited for VR to be ignored. I say this as someone who was disappointed (but not surprised) to hear all the compromises made in Skyrim/Fallout VR. We need more polished VR games that feel completely made for VR.

          • PJ

            Not being funny, but how do you know if a small fraction has forgotten or lost interest???

            The overall standard of VR games have already gone up since Budget Cuts initially blew everyone away, it no longer looks amazing, I’ll buy it, but on sale in future, like I said, it’s not a must have title anymore.

            The thing is despite Skyrim and Fallout VR obvious control and UI issues aside, there’s nothing else in VR like those games, along with LA Noire, it shows that remaking older games for VR is way to go right now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Activision or EA port an older Call of Duty or Battlefield for VR soon, and if/when they do, I expect VR headset sales to go through the roof

          • muchrockness

            Adapting traditional games to VR is one way to solve for the lack of meaty games and is something to flaunt at non-VR owners, but Budget Cuts appeals to the existing core VR fans because every element feels tailor-made for VR and all the fans know that it’s really important to have interactivity that distinguishes and elevates the medium over traditional gaming.

          • PJ

            Are you a developer?

          • muchrockness

            No.

  • Sandy Wich

    This game looks pretty fun :O