The wildly popular puzzler The Talos Principle (2014) from Croteam is soon to be making its way to VR in a separate version, playable on SteamVR-compatible headsets; i.e. HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Getting a chance to go head-first into Talos VR at this year’s Gamescom, I walked in asking myself if I actually wanted to spend the 20ish hours it takes to beat the game, in VR; and if given the choice between the two—the monitor and the VR version—that I would prefer to play in a headset instead of on a flatscreen. While my 20 minute demo didn’t exactly answer that question in full, a few things have certainly changed about how you interface with the game, making it a necessarily slower, but much more immersive experience to boot. And you know us, we like immersion.

The demo took me through the game’s third level (Land C), a verdant, castle-filled world where trees dot a medieval age ruin. While the puzzles and backdrop are entirely the same as the 2014 flatscreen title, I was told by Croteam’s PR and Community Manager Daniel Lucic, that some serious love went into getting the VR version just right, as it “almost took as long as [the original] Talos to make,” which Lucic qualified as a little over a year. In that time, presumably, the developers took everything they learned from Serious Sam VR (2017) and applied it to Talos, a game that first saw experimental, albeit imperfect VR support in 2015 on the Rift DK2.

image courtesy Croteam

Even then, Lucic tells me there’s still some work to be done to make the game more visually appealing to VR players, like adding ivy to help break up some more obvious repeating textures—something you might miss playing on a monitor, but a clear eyesore viewing from within a headset. As for scaling, what little I played looked indistinguishable from dedicated made-for-VR games, so no weirdly large or mismatched bits to speak of, but that may have more to do with the game’s general sparseness and already massive architecture.

With the addition of motion controllers, the world also become more interactive, with plenty of puzzle pieces to slot into blocky sigils, and beam reflectors or force field jammers at your disposal to make your way forward through each successive gate. Placing these just right, especially the reflectors, feels easier in VR than on the monitor version, if only because you can get a better line-of-sight so you can connect the beam source to the receptacle.

image courtesy Croteam

Unlike the monitor version, zooming around at high speed to get back to the puzzle’s beginning to retrieve a needed object isn’t really a great idea from a comfort standpoint, so the default walking speed is a bit slow to accommodate. This may irk some, but I found the surroundings so interesting, and well-suited to VR that I couldn’t help but stop and smell the digital roses. And yes, it’s just as pretty as you’d imagine it to be in VR, albeit some anti-aliasing issues with tree shadows that looked a little too sharp to be believable.

The game will feature a number of locomotion styles including instant and blink teleportation, ‘comfort mode’ snap-turn, and smooth-turning locomotion. This ultimately allows the player to interact with the game in any way they want, be it seated or in a standing, room-scale space.

There’s sill no official word on exactly when we’ll be seeing Talos VR hit Steam, but Lucic tells me that developers in Croteam are speculating on a late 2017 release.

We’re here at Gamescom all week, so check back for more coverage and hands-on articles with all of your favorite upcoming VR titles. 

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

  • Raphael

    Yup. Good. Presumably it will have VRWorks support as well.

    • Peter Hansen

      Seriously hope so.

    • Does the right wand touchpad have the same movement as the left wand?

  • NooYawker

    I much prefer these types of games over pure shooters for VR. I never played this on the flat screen but I’ll definitely get it for VR

  • Bryan Ischo

    I bought The Talos Principle solely because it had some beta VR options to allow VR gameplay. I think it was pretty mediocre VR support and I never played it much as a result. I really hope that I will get this update for free given my previous purchase …

    • IanTH

      Given the line “making its way to VR in a separate version”, makes me believe it might be a separate purchase. However, Croteam did give existing Serious Sam HD/3 owners access to Serious Sam Fusion 2017 that includes VR versions (I have it apparently, but haven’t checked it out yet), so that gives me hope that perhaps we’ll get the VR version of Talos free as well.

      However, no VR version was promised back when we bought it – heck, it launched in 2014 before you could even buy a consumer VR headset. Not to mention, we know doing VR correctly is not flip-a-switch levels of easy. Article states a year of work for this, so it is rather presumptuous to assume getting VR support for free. I’d love it if more companies went the route of including VR mode free, but that’s true of everything; can’t imagine anything I wouldn’t like cheaper/free lol.

      We know Bethesda isn’t offering updates or even discounts to previous owners of Skyrim/FO4, so I’d say quality games that get real effort put into them for VR (proper HMD scaling, tracked controllers, locomotion options, etc) will – more often than not – cost extra. And ultimately, I have a hard time arguing.

      • Raphael

        Ummm… serious sam fusion does not give you their VR games free. It’s a hub for updates and news.

        • IanTH

          My bad, you are 100% correct in that VR is not a free upgrade via Fusion. I finally installed it so I could fire it up & see for myself what was in there since I couldn’t suss out everything with any certainty just from the product page. After loading it up, I found it entertaining that littered among the New Game and Options in the main menu that “FAQ” was nestled in the middle. After clicking, you are taken to an external web page explaining the finer points of Fusion, and the separation of HD and VR versions of the game is one of the 1st things they clear up. So I guess it isn’t just me who is confused, but still not sure why they don’t put that info on the main Steam product page.

          Bottom line though, normally I do a better job looking into stuff. I read and assumed I understood. If I’m fully understanding now, it is an engine upgrade for the supported games which also allows you to bounce around all the levels and modes of the games you own from within Fusion. HD & VR versions are separate, and it’s essentially just updating those games to run off the same engine & code base so changes/updates are more efficient.

          So more than just updates and news, but certainly not what I thought. Apologies if I misled anyone with that.

      • Bryan Ischo

        Well I didn’t buy it until 2016, because there were reviews of the VR mode (I think it was evrydayvr who reviewed it). So I bought it explicitly for VR support. But whatever, maybe I’ll have to buy it again. Frustrating, but not the end of the world.

    • Raphael

      You ain’t getting anything free, flappy. I bought Talos principle years ago along with non-vr Serious Sams… Serious Sam VR is a new purchase. Talos principle is a new purchase. VR market is still niche so most developers can’t afford to give muppets stuff for nothing.

      • Bryan Ischo

        Zen Studios gave me a free HTC Vive version of Pinball FX2 VR because I had bought the Oculus Rift version when I had a DK2. So some developers cooperate with their customers instead of treating them like cash cows. We’ll see what croteam does.

        • Raphael

          It works both ways flappy. VR gaming is still niche and a small percentage of PC gaming thus it’s harder for devs to earn. There is no universal law applying to VR versions of games. Croteam is a bigger development house producing more complex games than Pinball.

          I have zero issue supporting Croteam with their VR games because they made a choice to support VR and not to be bribed by OctopusVR with exclude development. Trying to force them to give you a discount is very self-centered.

          And we can see from your statement that you’re branding croteam greedy if they don’t bend over and give you a free upgrade. What a miserable attitude.

          • One has to admit that it sucks to rebuy a game at full price like the Fallout 4s and Skyrims when the original is half price or cheaper.

            Steam sales is the only answer to this mess.

            The least they can do is give a limited time discount for current owners that’s greater than 40% off. Maybe 50%.

            This can happen at or soon after launch.

  • Nathan Williams

    Beautiful game to get to experience in VR, but the maps are huge and require a lot of traversal to get your head around some of the puzzles. I found Obduction absolutely tedious to navigate relative to playing on a monitor. Some of that’s just bad/lazy mapping of bimanual input possibilities (seriously, why can’t I use one controller for strafing and fine adjustment instead of having to laboriously turn around and come back in for a better angle), but it’s also inherent that a big part of these games after you get done ogling the scenery is a decidedly non-immersive running around and trying out different puzzle solutions until you find something that works. Having to all that in VR is tedious and exhausting. For games that weren’t originally designed for VR, having a tactical overhead view to teleport around with or just a way to step back to a more projected view while doing some of the zippy nausea inducing stuff would be welcome.

    • Skippy76

      Spot on!
      I ended up by getting a refund for obduction because I was fed up of traversing and of course there were so many nausiating bugs.
      Stuff like jittery movement, dropping into the map,

  • Ben

    dam wish it was coming to psvr too

  • Peter Hansen

    One problem all those VR remakes have is that most people who like those kind of games have already bought and played them, irrespective of VR or not VR. The VR community is not as big yet, so there are not so many who’ll get the game now because it is playable in VR.

    And who already finished the game will not necessarily want to play it again, even if they loved it. Solving this game with all its puzzles and achievements is really great, but also a little work. Doing this in VR is probably more work. And for a replay, particularly if you have to buy the game again…

    I really hope this pays off for Croteam, because I highly value their effort and enthusiasm for VR.

    • Raphael

      For a puzzle game you might be in respect of those who completed the non-vr version. For Serious Sam not so. People wanna play it in VR. I didn’t complete Talos principle so I will buy the VR version.

  • Sam Illingworth

    Ooh, I hope it lets me use my save from the normal version. Haven’t finished it, would enjoy finishing in VR, assuming it’s a lot better than the old VR mode which made me sick.