With all the hype surrounding the releases of the numerous VR headsets this year, it’s surprising that virtual reality still doesn’t seem to have found the wide-spread appeal that everyone thought it would receive. Many would argue that the systems are far too expensive at this point, but one could also contend that VR doesn’t yet have the experiences people are looking for. The headsets’ price points are still in the “hardcore gamer” realm, but the experiences they have to offer are not. Most games are “experiential” and little more than interactive cutscenes, while others offer activities that are simply gimmicks.
It looks like all of that could change in 2017 and with the gift card deals and games bundles we have been seeing paired with various headsets going into the holiday season, virtual reality might just find its stride in the coming year.
These are just a few of the virtual reality games coming out in 2017 that could shape the future of the VR format and capture the hardcore gamer audience.
Publisher: Oculus Studios
Developer: 4A Games
Platforms: Oculus Rift/Touch
Release Date: 2017
4A Games might not ring a bell for many, but the small studio in Malta is home to the development team behind the critically acclaimed Metro series. Their first title being built from the ground up for the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch, Arktika.1 transports players 100 years into the future after a “silent apocalypse” has frozen most of the earth. Players take control of a mercenary in the Russian territories tasked with killing all manner of mutated creatures in the frozen underground world.
Arktika.1 isn’t your average shooter with your typical range of weapons. The game boasts guns that can see through walls or fire bullets around cover to find their target. The trailer above also shows the ability to choose weapons and manually mod them with additional features, such as sights, in real time. This is a great addition that, now that I have seen it, seems like a no-brainer. Couple that with the Touch’s motion controlled guns and this looks like a truly immersive experience.
Developer 4A Games ensures that Arktika.1 will be a full-length AAA production and that players will get an experience on par with current console and PC games.
Easily one of the best looking games for any of the VR headsets at this point, if Arktika.1 can deliver on the high intensity, fast-paced style of action-horror that its predecessors were known for, it is sure to be a must-have for anyone who owns an Oculus.
Fallout 4 VR
Publisher: Bethesda Softworks
Developer: Bethesda Game Studios
Platforms: HTC Vive, TBD
Release Date: 2017
When Fallout 4 was released last year, Bethesda was lauded for finally nailing the combat mechanics, making the title a truly great FPS experience. Previous iterations felt clunky and, while many were upset about them dumbing-down of the RPG elements, the action really was dialed this time around. Now that Bethesda’s lead director (and recent inductee into the Video Game Hall of Fame) Todd Howard has announced the jump to VR for the fourth installment of the series, it’s not hard to see why the gun-play was so important to the developers.
The notion of a VR version of Fallout 4 is wildly exciting. This is the true dream of VR, the Tron experience! A massive, open-world where you are able to move and adventure freely. This could be the baseline experience to which all other virtual reality games are compared. Okay, so I’m excited.
The early version presented at E3 back in June was a somewhat “incomplete” experience, but if Bethesda can work out the difficulties with movement in VR and truly give us an open world to explore in its full 3D glory, this may just be the standard for all future game of its kind.
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Impulse Gear
Platforms: Playstation VR
Release Date: 2017
Farpoint VR is not the most novel game of the virtual reality format. You play as a space mercenary. Been there. You will fight wave after wave of angry, acid spewing aliens. Done that. But that simplicity and refusal to reinvent the FPS genre may just be the best thing about this new title from first-time developers Impulse Gear. They have taken the tried and tested FPS and simply changed the way we perceive and interact with the virtual world.
Impulse Gear describes Farpoint VR as an “unnerving” VR space adventure. Set on a hostile planet after being pulled into the story and transported by an anomaly, players must fight to survive against hordes of alien creatures.
While Farpoint may certainly not be the only shooter to try its hand in the virtual reality landscape, it is one of the first to utilize the PS Aim controller. A thumb stick on the PS Aim controls movement in the world. The player will move their head to turn and aim and shoot with the gun-shaped controller. The PS Aim is said to feel “tactile” and aims like a real weapon. In the 3D space of VR that means actually looking down the sights to zero in on your enemies.
Publisher: Cloud Imperium Games
Developer: Cloud imperium Games
Platforms: PC, HTC Vive, Oculus
Release Date: 2017
One of the most ambitious games to ever go into development, Star Citizen hopes to combine space combat, FPS, and commercial trading elements to create a real universe in a massively multiplayer online world. Sound like too big a pill to swallow? Throw in Star Citizen’s VR support and you can see exactly why everyone is so excited about this game.
Star Citizen will allow players to move seamlessly between each aspect of gameplay. It is truly a sight to behold to watch a ship start on a space port, fly thousands of miles through space, enter the atmosphere of a planet, and then land on that planet. Rest assured, this will not be the let down of No Man’s Sky. There are no sky boxes here.
Though this is the first title being developed and published by Cloud Imperium, their wildly successful Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $138 million dollars. That’s more than double the average funding for most triple-A titles.
Think this is all too good to be true? Check out this 24-minutee gameplay demo and see for yourself.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard
Platforms: Playstation VR, TBD
Release Date: January 24, 2017
A reinvention of the franchise in every sense of the word, Capcom’s new multi-platform Resident Evil game will take players into a terrifying world of horror. Unlike past installments of the franchise, this will be the first, fully first-person Resident Evil game. No, I don’t count The Umbrella Chronicles as a true Resident Evil game.
What we have seen of Biohazard so far suggests that players will be doing battle with more than just zombies this time around. Players will take control of Ethan Winters as he makes his way through a creepy, derelict mansion in Louisiana. Players will be constantly pursued by members of the Baker family in what is sure to be a heart-pounding virtual reality scenario of cat and mouse.
In the newest game, it will be possible to interact with the world on an unprecedented scale. The capabilities of VR are sure to allow for far more involved puzzle-solving, a gameplay mechanic that the series is historically known for.