Wondering what Oculus and Sanzaru Games were hiding when they teased their next Rift exclusive a few days ago? Well, now we know: it’s called Asgard’s Wrath, and it’s poised to toss you head-over-heels into a Norse-inspired world of melee combat, monstrous fiends, and plenty of reasons to keep your playspace clear.
Asgard’s Wrath prominently features first-person, physics-based melee combat, which includes a fighting system that rewards skillful kills.
According to Mike Doran, an executive producer at Oculus Studios, you can’t just swing wildly to be successful though, instead requiring a skillful touch to slay more powerful enemies.
“That might work against some lesser enemies, but eventually you’re going to get your butt handed to you that way,” Doran says.
Asgard’s Wrath apparently features serious opportunities for some gruesome enemy dismemberment too, replete with ragdoll physics and time dilation—something fans of Early Access combat sandbox Blades & Sorcery should be well familiar with.
“One of my favorite things to do in-game is to use a shield to ‘catch’ thrown enemy weapons like daggers, yank them out, and throw them right back. Another great moment is swinging your weapon to knock decapitated monster heads through the air.”
It’s more than a first-person physic sandbox though, the studio explains. During crucial moments, you can physically shift scale and swap between human and god modes, letting you solve puzzles and “overcome challenges to advance through the world.”
Although that last part isn’t entirely clear yet, from the trailer it seems you can turn hapless animals into beasts that fight on your behalf. This might be what the studio is referring to when it says the title features “a heavy helping of RPG elements.”
Way back when we first started prototyping this game, the player was always at god-scale. Eventually, we added a mortal hero to mix things up and give the player something to protect and support. Sanzaru then had the breakthrough idea to let players swap back and forth between God and hero, which really opened up the game’s potential to become far more expansive than we had originally envisioned. Add in quests/sidequests/a bunch of other metagame loops, and the action adventure that you see today was finally realized.
The game’s story takes you to the twilight of the Norse gods. As a new fledgling god on the scene you’re thrust into an encounter with Loki, who then tasks you with proving your worthiness before you can be given true godhood. Through standalone scenarios—called ‘Sagas’—you use your powers to help the world’s mortal heroes on their path to fulfill their destinies.
These mortal heroes each have their own load-outs and unique gameplay mechanics; in images and the trailer (linked above and below) we’ve seen single-handed swords, axes, shields, and some sort of ethereal dagger-nunchuk.
Oculus says there will also be the ability to augment combat via crafting, disposable weapons, elemental traits, and more.
The game aims to incentivize players to return to previously explored areas as you unlock new abilities that then open up more of the world. The game is also promising some form of asynchronous multiplayer, although the studios are staying tight-lipped for now.
Asgard’s Wrath is the result of multiple years of work, and is said to provide over 30 hours of gameplay. Sanzaru, which developed Marvel Powers United VR (2018) and VR Sports Challenge (2016), calls it their “deepest title yet.”
Asgard’s Wrath is slated to release sometime in 2019. The title will be debuting at GDC 2019, which takes place between March 18th – 22nd in San Francisco.