Netflix has released a VR game called Eden Unearthed on App Lab for Oculus Quest, available now for free.
The release has come as a surprise, with very little (if any) available info outside the App Lab listing. Netflix is listed as both the publisher and developer of the title on App Lab, which also has a April 21 release date listed as well. App Lab apps are not indexed in the same manner as Oculus Store titles, meaning that they can essentially be published without anyone else knowing if nobody is given the App Lab link.
Whether the April release date is an admin error or the app has been unlisted since then, it’s definitely available now and it’s entirely free. If you’d like to view a trailer, head over to the App Lab listing and take a look.
We jumped into the game and played for around 15 minutes. While I’m not any clearer on what exactly this VR project from Netflix is, I am definitely impressed with what seems to be an experience of limited scope but high polish, immersion and comfort.
The game is set in the far future, in a world without humans, organized solely by robots. You take control of a futuristic motorbike and ride around a vast and changing landscape, collecting apples as fuel and avoiding obstacles to try max out your speed without bumping into anything. At various points along the track, you pull up beside a landmark and receive a short burst of narration to advance the story, alongside visuals on a small portable screen from your bike.
It’s a very loose story and game structure — while you’re clearly following some form of narrative, you can also ride along the track for as long as possible and compete for a global high score by traveling as far as you can before you run out of fuel.
The experience is clearly meant to be simple and perhaps educational, while also giving you a fun mechanic — the motorbike — to toy around with. Luckily, the bike controls really well and is super thrilling to pilot at high speeds. It’s a very intuitive and clear control system, which has also clearly been designed with comfort in mind. The motorbike ‘cockpit’ in front of you goes a long way to quell motion sickness, as does the subtle vignetting when turning sharp corners.
Even after 15 or so minutes playing through Eden Unearthed, it’s hard to gauge the project’s scope and aim, but it feels somewhere between a game, immersive narrative and educational tool.
It could perhaps be the first of many upcoming VR projects from Netflix — former Facebook VR Content Head Mike Verdu is now with Netflix, as is producer Shonda Rhimes, who could be getting in on VR projects as well.
Eden Unearthed is available for Oculus Quest via App Lab. Keep an eye out for more news and info to come.
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