Matrix Inspired VR Stealth Game ‘Black Hat Cooperative’ Launches

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Black Hat Cooperative is a neat two player VR title which draws upon The Matrix for inspiration, that asks you to escape a labyrinth whilst being pursued, just like Neo, with only your ‘operator’ companion outside VR guiding you.

One of the most effective and tense scenes from the seminal action movie The Matrix (1999) for me was actually one with no bullet time slow motion and very few special effects. Thomas Anderson, played of course by Keanu Reeves, has just discovered that the world as he knows it may not be quite as real as he’d been led to believe and having been contacted by the mysterious Morpheus at his workplace. Anderson is told he’s being stalked by guardians of the digital simulation he’s a part of, and that in no uncertain terms he needs to get the hell out of there, right now, guided only by Morpheus’ voice on a cell phone.

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A new game from Team Future Games, Black Hat Cooperative, takes the essence of this scene and constructs an elegantly simple game of cat and mouse from it, whereby one player inside virtual reality is being guided to safety by the all seeing eye of their very own Morpheus, a friend playing outside VR with a birds eye view of both their location and of the VR player’s assailants. The VR player has to escape, avoiding the guards and “invisible” traps, by finding their way to the exit through ever more labyrinthine environments, dodging between rooms once danger has passed, collecting keys and treasure along the way.

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The game was conceived as part of 2014’s Global Game Jam, then called Black Hat Oculus, and the developer has since tweaked, honed and expanded on the original concept. It’s another example of what could be seen as a new sub genre of games, successfully explored by the likes of Keep Talking and No One Explodes, another title which uses the player inside-and-out of VR conceit to drive gameplay. And like that game, we can see Black Hat Cooperative being a popular social experience.

The title has just hit Steam Greenlight and launched on the Oculus Store as yet only for the Oculus Rift, although the developers state an HTC Vive version is planned. You can check out the Steam Greenlight page here and hit it up on Oculus Home right here priced $9.99.

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  • KrisVS

    Looks cool. Would like to try this on Vive if it turns out to be good.

    • I’m the artist on the team! We’re working on the Vive version if we get Steam greenlight. Otherwise there’s no way to distribute. Please vote for us here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=561979891

      • Bryan Ischo

        Is that true? Clearly games not downloaded from steam can work with SteamVR, see Revive which allows games downloaded from the Oculus store to work on the Vive.

        Aren’t there other distribution mechanisms, like direct download?

        • DiGiCT Ltd

          No its not true, seems they just dont know as its bullshit, Vive is not platform bound and also has a viveport.
          The real problem with Steam is that users need to greenlit it, and thats not the easiest to do.

        • Mark Sullivan

          Game’s coder here. So to clarify, we’re planning on implementing Vive support so that you don’t have to use tools like Revive. Other distribution options exist, but Steam and the Oculus Store are the big ones where we’re focusing our efforts. We’re a small team of 4 working on this project nights and weekends, so running our own store and offering a direct download is something we’d rather not do given the existence of well-built game distribution platforms. We hope to being you all a Vive version soon!

      • Slayer Chen

        How do you move in this game? Certainly room scale tracking won’t guarantee to have such a big arena for you to move. And move by keys will cause nausea. Are you guys assuming your user to have some kind of Virtuix Omni?

        • Mark Sullivan

          It uses joypad locomotion, so we have a “moderate” comfort rating, similar to something like Lucky’s Tale.

      • DiGiCT Ltd

        You could launch on viveport and there are other platforms too steam is not the only one for Vive……

      • Fredrik Sjöborg

        You do not need to go through steam greenlight to get VR games to steam.
        https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=1131-WSFG-3320

    • DiGiCT Ltd

      I hope you mean it looks like fun instead of it looks cool as it does really not look cool to me, but it could be fun. The art is way beyond back in time.

      • Sorry to hear you don’t like the art. We didn’t have a ton of resources to develop the game — there’s just one artist (myself). I agree that we could have put more time into it. Perhaps we’ll blow you away on our next game! Either way I hope you get a chance to play and enjoy it.

        • DiGiCT Ltd

          Yes i hope you guys update the art as the concept itself and the gamelogic looks very good, but just the art is missing for me personal as its for me also something i like to enjoy in VR.
          Thx, I am an artist myself too, and i know it cost a lot of time, also the workflow is different compared to normal games but yeah its worth the efford.
          I f you make the game with unity i strongly can suggest you to try out their lateest steamVR The Lab free asset kit as it realy has render performance increased using their shaders.
          also it shows some good examples how to apparoach 3d in VR.
          If its UE4 based no worries as thats already optimized a lot for VR.

        • Tad Springer

          The art seems fine to me! From my experience in the Rift while it’s nice to get some great graphics (Adrift, The Climb etc) they’re not essential for a good VR experience. I’d much rather a dev focused on developing presence than fancy artwork.

          I’d be great if you can have a cross-HMD multiplayer – i.e. another player using another HMD so you can do distanced co-op and not need to use the same computer locally. I have friends with Rifts/Vives who’d want to do that but can’t see my wife wanting to play VR games with me locally (sadly). :)

  • Jorgen41

    Why the crappy gfx ? Seems like a fun game but they realy have to make better gfx.

  • JasonBSteele

    Gear VR support?

    • J.C.

      Seems unlikely, as this game has two people playing the game on the same machine.

      • JasonBSteele

        Hah! Good point – I assumed it was networked!

  • J.C.

    like many, MANY other VR titles, the art in this is pretty awful. The concept sounds pretty amusing but there’s only so many “we tried our least hardest” games I’m willing to pony up for. I understand financial constraints but teams with “no time” to make decent art could just toss $50 at the Unity Asset Store and at least have a semi-respectable looking title. The Voxel look is massively overused, and now just looks lazy.

    • JasonBSteele

      I would expect that the problem is that currently the market is so much smaller it’s difficult to cover the costs.