CCP Games, makers of Eve: Online and the upcoming multi-headset title Eve: Valkyrie, are expanding the Eve universe to Samsung Gear VR with their new mobile release Gunjack. The game isn’t only jaw-droppingly beautiful, (and despite my penchant for gaze-shooter hate) it’s actually really fun.
I entered into CCP’s booth at Gamescom 2015 to find a pair of Oculus’ Crescent Bay prototypes running Eve: Valkyrie—admittedly the star of the show—taking up much of the staff’s time and attention to run. Across from the impressive Valkyrie set-up though was a small table piled high with Gear VR paraphernalia, a stack of Samsung S6s, two Gear VR headsets and a laptop cooling pad to keep the demos chugging along one after the other.
Now, we’ve seen Valkyrie quite a bit, starting back in 2013 when it transitioned from the Eve VR moniker to the name we know today. Since then, we’ve followed it over the years, from several Gamescoms to our detailed review from Fanfest to a number of E3s to … well, you get the point. It’s a slick game that very easily attaches to the hard-core sci-fi lover’s psyche, and if you ever get a chance to play it you’ll see why it’s launching on all VR headsets in the near future. Simply put, it’ the sort of spacey experience we thought we’d be having in VR.
Gunjack, previously known as Project Nemesis, hails from CCP’s Shanghai office, and was created in collaboration with the company’s Valkyrie-producing New Castle, UK location.
The game itself is simple: look at the bad guys, tap the touchpad to shoot the bad guys. Pick up the goodies (armor, weapons, etc.) and don’t die. While I personally don’t find gaze-based control schemes that interesting (CCP has also stated that the game will make optional use of Bluetooth controllers), Gunjack pulls off a very compelling example by keeping action tight and making enemies variable enough so as not to bore even the most seasoned Gear VR fan. This rings true with the game’s several classes of enemies, ranging from small fighters that explode in a single shot, to gigantic bosses that required constant armor patches and weapons upgrades to beat.
Gunjack is launching alongside the consumer version of Samsung’s Gear VR, confirmed by CCP to come this fall.
Visual detail is high, arguably the best I’ve seen on Gear VR since Technolust: Thought Crimes caught my eye back during Oculus’ Mobile VR Jam. Without the expressed knowledge that the tethered Valkyrie experience and the Gear VR Gunjack game are entirely separate platforms, I would have sworn I had stepped into a single game, one that incorporates gaze-shooting-controlled gun turrets (Gunjack) and gamepad-controlled dogfighting (Valkyrie)—as if Gunjack were somehow an extension of Valkyrie.
“Our goal was nothing less than creating the best game yet for the Gear VR headset,” Gunjack executive producer Jean-Charles said in the game’s press release. “Our team has focused on delivering the most action-packed, graphically-stunning game possible on this new virtual reality platform.”
In all, Gunjack is an exemplar of the sort of varied fighting system needed to make gaze-shooters interesting. My neck is a notorious complainer when it comes to these things, serving as a physical reminder when gameplay becomes dull and repetitive. Gunjack was anything but, and I look forward to snapping this one up when it launches with the consumer version of Samsung’s Gear VR coming this fall.
Here’s hoping my Note 4 Gear VR gets to play along too.