‘Panzerwehr: 1949’ Reimagines Mechs in VR as WWII-era Combat Machines

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In development by indie studio KUKURU3Panzerwehr: 1949 is a mech combat simulator made for VR which imagines an alternate WWII timeline where mechs rule the battlefield as anti-tank hunters in a war that’s dragged on to 1949.

Panzerwehr: 1949 began as a tech demo in June 2016 and began development as a full VR title shortly thereafter, with support planned for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

Photo courtesy Kukuru3

Developer Kukuru3 has shared a new gameplay video (heading this article) showing the current state of development. The studio offers the following synopsis for the vision of the game, including an inciting three-player co-op mode where players collectively control aspects of a single mech:

It is April 1949, and the Third Battle of Stalingrad is about to begin. Infantry has long been made obsolete in the irradiated battlefield pockmarked with atomic bomb craters. In their place, a new breed of quadrupedal war machine roams the ruined streets of Stalingrad: German Jaegers and Soviet Samokhods. Under the aurora of a nuclear winter, elite pilots of both empires try to score a decisive blow. Panzerwehr 1949 is a hardcore World War 2 era mech simulator exclusively for VR headsets, inspired by classics such as Steel Battalion and Mech Warrior. Walkers in this game handle more like tanks than agile robots, and the equipment available matches the era and the weight of the beasts involved. Leaning more towards the simulation than the arcade, the game features a highly accurate ballistic model. The game requires the player to first master the highly detailed controls of their cockpit before they can bring the full potential of their walkers to bear. Planned features for full release are a procedural single-player campaign, a 1v1 multiplayer mode and a 3-player coop mode where three players in VR control separate crew stations of a single walker tank.

The studio says that “development continues at full pace,” and expects to launch into Early Access in Q4 2017.

SEE ALSO
VR Mech Combat Game 'Vox Machinae' is Back with Motion Input, Closed Beta Coming Soon

Despite a couple of exciting in-development VR mech projects seen over the years like—Vox Machinae and Hawken—VR’s first great mech game has yet to surface. Could Panzerwehr: 1949 be that game? Fingers crossed!

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  • ✨EnkrowX✨

    If it doesn’t have some kind of stick support, this game will be DOA. Hoping they’re smart and aren’t trying to force a weird motion control scheme.

    • George Vieira IV

      A combination would be nice. I really like using Touch to do stuff like flip switches, and rotate cranks, but for general control a joystick would be preferable.

      • White Raven Studios

        Next generation, need to think ahead of the game. If there is a joystick in the VR space you won’t need one irl. Implementation is fine, but VR immersion is better served with as much as possible contained within the game.

      • ✨EnkrowX✨

        Yeah, touch works really well for switches and the like. Unfortunately for more involved controls, current gen controllers and haptics aren’t able to produce a good, believable experience.

    • Raphael

      Discovering space 2 is an example of a game that switched from hotas to vr controls and works very well because the vr control is well thought out. I’m a hotas user and i think based on the video this game will be held back by stick.

      • ✨EnkrowX✨

        The problem with motion controls is there isn’t really a way to have tactile feel with something as analog as a control stick. The motion controls just feel vague and floaty; there’s a certain uncanny valley that modern hardware just cannot get out of.

        • Raphael

          Works brilliantly in discovering space 2 so I reject your claim that HOTAS is the only solution. I love HOTAS and wouldn’t be without it but in this case… nah.

        • Raphael

          Works brilliantly in discovering space 2 so I reject your claim that HOTAS is the only solution. I love HOTAS and wouldn’t be without it but in this case… nah.

      • ✨EnkrowX✨

        The problem with motion controls is there isn’t really a way to have tactile feel with something as analog as a control stick. The motion controls just feel vague and floaty; there’s a certain uncanny valley that modern hardware just cannot get out of.

  • MechFan

    This game looks amazing!

  • Michael (Battle8111)

    Reminds me a lot of Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor. This going is going to turn out a lot better as VR is more of a reliable and proven technology that the Kinect

    (And Despite SB: HA having issues with the Kinect, I still loved playing it, when it functioned lol)

    • Matthew White

      They should make that in to a VR game. It’s practically designed as one already other than the camera.

  • Andrew McEvoy

    Looks and sounds interesting ! Looking forward to playing it :)

  • Raphael

    Not been so impressed with a vr game video in a long time. Love the night map and dark atmosphere. I’m a Hotas user but i think this will work better with vr controllers.

    Now all we need is the nausea clan demanding this be made into a teleport myst adventure so they don’t get dizzy or vomit.