This week at E3 2019, Oculus is showing their first ever demo of Lone Echo II, the anticipated followup to 2017’s Lone Echo. While the first game was an achievement in VR locomotion, interaction, and storytelling, Lone Echo II aims to up the ante with more dynamic gameplay, which starts with a new enemy that’s a more dynamic threat than anything seen in the original game.

Released in 2017, Ready at Dawn’s Oculus exclusive Lone Echo set an impressive bar for VR locomotion, interaction, and storytelling, and remains one of VR’s most critically and popularly acclaimed games.

The game is unique from many VR titles in that it lacked weapons, combat, or even any sentient enemies. Instead, it focused more on light puzzles, storytelling, and simply surviving in hostile environments.

With Lone Echo II, developer Ready at Dawn plans to present the player with more dynamic threats and gameplay, while continuing propel the story of protagonists Jack & Liv.

Image courtesy Ready at Dawn

I got to check out the first ever demo of Lone Echo II at E3 2019 this week and got to see one of these new dynamic threats first hand. Players from the first game will recall the ‘biomass’ that was an environmental hazard that the player had to avoid. In Lone Echo II, parts of the biomass have ‘evolved’ into ‘ticks’, little floaty organic sacks covered in antenna and suckers-like orifices.

I’m not sure if it’s intentional, but these agile little critters are actually kinda cute in the way that they move and how they just want to hug you… the only problem is that you die if they do.

The ticks are attracted to any source of energy, and if you get too close they’ll make a beeline for you and attach themselves for a hug-of-death which drains all your power and forces you to shutdown and reboot into a new android body (which is effectively the game’s ‘death’ mechanic, as introduced in the original Lone Echo).

In order to avoid their deadly affection, you’ll need to figure out how to focus their attention on other sources of power in the environment (powered doors, batteries, terminals, etc), enable you to slip by safely. One way to do this is by using electromagnetic cargo cranes found on the ship you’re in, which you can intuitively manipulate using the handles at the top, allowing you to rotate it as needed, as well as rails at the top to slide it from point to point.

In that sense, the ticks are enemies, but they’re also part of Lone Echo II’s puzzle gameplay, which is made more interesting and dynamic by incorporating entities that have a mind of their own.

Beyond the ticks, the Lone Echo II demo at E3 2019 leans heavily on the well established interaction mechanics of the original. You’ll find the usual lever pulling, door opening, laser cutter panels, and battery charging stations that will be familiar (and still satisfying) to players of the first game.

However, Ready at Dawn teases that there’s lots more in the way of new gameplay systems yet to be revealed in Lone Echo II, much of which is said to come in the form of new tools that the player will attain throughout the game. There’s also new characters coming, which sound like they’ll be key to the narrative, though Ready at Dawn wasn’t ready to reveal more.

Speaking of characters, Liv is of course back, but this time Ready at Dawn says she’s been upgraded to be a more dynamic part of the game. While in the original Lone Echo her movements and actions were heavily scripted, in Lone Echo II she’s said to be able to move more freely around the environment, allowing her to more naturally accompany the player throughout.

While the E3 2019 demo set up the game’s narrative (which will continue to focus on the bond between Liv and Jack and their struggle for survival in unknown territory), and offered a glimpse of new gameplay, a Ready at Dawn developer tells me that Lone Echo II is roughly 50% larger than the original game (which took us around six hours to complete) in both actual size and gameplay content, so it sounds like there’s still much to be revealed.

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While it was initially set for launch in 2019, this week Ready at Dawn confirmed that Lone Echo II has been delayed to Q1 2020. As an Oculus exclusive title, it’ll only be available on the Oculus platform, and so far slated for release only on Rift. Last year, Ready at Dawn release a VR trailer for Lone Echo II which can be watched on Rift and Oculus Go; a non-VR cut of the trailer is also available on YouTube.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Gonzax

    I can’t wait to put my hands on this.

  • ShiftyInc

    Lone Echo has been my best VR expierence to date, so i cannot wait for the next part in the series.

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      • ASHOT3359

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  • So excited. Crossing my fingers that Revive/Index will work well with this.

  • bud01

    I think some one should start finalising the shape of our first base on Mars, and put its shape and systems into VR so that younger generation can start to get familiar.

    So if we see the Musk Mars base apperiance, It could be some kind of game or walk through that enables some thing like the below to get in motion.

    Its going to happen.. would get to get the younger minds working and playing with future bases in accessible VR.

    • Moe Curley

      In my humble opinion, f**k Mars, save Earth.

      • Fredrik Pettersen

        We need to expand throughout the solar system to save earth. At some point we must seriously start to invest and develop technology at different outpost at a higher rate. In the long run utilise resources and industries in space away from our, one of a kind, fragile oasis. This is crucial if our species and the rest of earth’s diverse inhabitants are going to survive. We are growing too fast on a lifeboat that’s taking in water. No time to lose.

        • Moe Curley

          “This is crucial if our species and the rest of earth’s diverse inhabitants are going to survive”
          WHY!!! We have a perfectly good planet ! Are we incapable of not destroying it?! It may turn out to be impossible to move away from earth. I think that resources being used for these projects would be better off used to fix our destructive abuse of earth.

          • bud01

            Moe in your general thinking you are correct but there is a lot more going on that than, we face the challenge of facing an infinite future and to date although best efforts applied too much failure (see :

            The ideal situation in the face of almost limitless question is that we gain robust platform for humanity and INCREASE count of humans.

            1 Trillion should not be a number that resonates with you only as a debt number for example or as a number that signify s ext ream but a count of how many humans beings we have added to our kind across 1, 2, 3 and more planets,or complete systems,

            AI and advancements should allow man and women to spend more time thinking, doing, imagining, understand.

            War has been the plague of humanity but also a catalyst for Science. We need a NEW reason to progress and Space is the ultimate pressure on us, we need this, it needs us!

            Just think, in the face of a depiction of the uttermost beginnings of a new, you could only reflect on our mistakes so far. Are they valid, yes, but how much more is missed.

            Its a lot.

            Every body needs to consider the flow, the progression, the want, the application of the 4th industrial revolution. Finally focus on systems, good, better, “almost perfect but we are still watching”.

            There is a known flaw in every human being on Earth, its called the problem, we are built to seek it, to hold it, to defend it, to pull back to it. Because previously in our development it was very helpful in keeping us alive.

            We need to clear the plastic from the oceans.
            We need to clean the air.

            But we also need to ensure our place in the Solar System, the Universe.

            We have good to do. not just down here but any where at any time.

            So is our place assured and with a good motive.

            Mars is the ultimate celebration in humanity, its our crown, our achievement, our reason in a insane world.

            It should be a stretch for each of us to understand but also accept in our hearts, that truly we are all one but also facing an almost limitless challenge to continue to exist.

            The stakes are really high,
            Maybe you should sit back into stasis and consider it.

          • Fredrik Pettersen

            I’m not suggesting we abandon Earth. Gradually move harmful industry away from the surface. In space there is practically limitless resources and… yea space. No need for thousands to live and work in space when robots can do it safer and cheaper.
            Start by building outpost between Earth and the Moon, then on the surface of the Moon. Private sector will invest when rocketry is affordable, and it’s profitable to harvest exotic resources in space. Technology they develop will be steppingstones to get further out in The Solar System. Eventually Mars and then the Kuiper Belt between Mars and Jupiter.
            Looking at population growth, industry growth and human consumption from the start of the industrial revolution it is clear we will eventually outgrow Earth. In time limited resources will be exhaust, and in the process, nature will no longer sustain stable ecosystems that animals and humans alike are dependent on.

          • Jerald Doerr

            Call me a dumb fuck., But I think we need to go back to the moon 1st.

          • Warscent

            We must do both to ensure humanity’s long term survival. On a cosmic scale we are on borrowed time.

  • Rosko

    It looks like pretty much the same game, could we not have had different locations & characters. Even the missions look boring like the first game.

  • Seems a cool experience!

  • Ubelsteiner

    Love the first game, and I’m sure I’ll love the second…. but I really would love it if the game ends up having enemies other than the whole Biomass thing. I’d just love to have some Echo Combat shooting elements blended into the story somehow.

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