While 2020 may have been rubbish when it comes to almost everything, virtual reality (VR) developers have provided some awesome content to fill the time. So now it’s time to look ahead and see what the next 12 months will bring.
There’s no shortage of VR titles already slated for 2021, some have moved over from last year whilst others are looking to make their mark. Those such as Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell don’t make the main list as these aren’t expected anytime soon.
The main videogame a lot of PlayStation VR players are likely to be looking forward to, Hitman 3 arrives in a few weeks, the only title on this list with an actual launch date.
Putting you back into the shoes of the infamous assassin, Hitman 3 is fully VR compatible across its main campaign as well as its four other modes. Developer IO Interactive is making it possible to bring the two previous instalment’s maps – if you own Hitman 1 and 2 – into the third edition so you can play them in VR. Plus, the PlayStation 4 version will freely upgrade to the PlayStation 5 edition, whilst the PS5 version comes with a digital PS4 copy so there’s no need to worry which console you own.
Lone Echo 2
Announced as an Oculus Rift exclusive back in 2018, originally Lone Echo II had been slated for 2019. Over the course of 2020, a couple of updates were released noting that work was still ongoing as the team adjusted to working remotely but it was clear from the last one the videogame wasn’t going to make it this year.
The single-player sci-fi adventure, Lone Echo II continues the story where you play a robot called Jack who needs to help Captain Olivia Rhodes survive the perils of space. Exclusive to the Oculus Store, it’s worth taking a look at the original even if titles like Half-Life: Alyx have now surpassed it.
As there’s no actual release date just yet, Lone Echo II could well arrive after Oculus Rift S is discontinued so there’s little doubt it’ll be Oculus Quest (via Oculus Link) compatible.
- Supported headsets: Oculus Rift/Rift S & Oculus Quest (via Oculus Link)
- Release date: Unknown (expected 2021)
Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife
A horror title with a twist, Fast Travel Games’ Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife looks to be quite an intriguing experience. Set within the World of Darkness universe, you play as a wraith stuck in the mysterious Barclay mansion with the ability to walk through walls and pick items up remotely.
This being a horror videogame, just because you’re a wraith doesn’t mean to say there aren’t nasty beings lurking in the darkness. In fact, they’re called Spectres and they stalk your every footstep. Suspense is key here, there doesn’t look to be any combat just exploration, puzzle-solving and hiding when appropriate.
From the team that brought you A Fisherman’s Tale, InnerspaceVR is working on a puzzle adventure called Maskmaker. Set in a realm ruled by the titular character, you’re his apprentice, learning his secret, magical ways of making masks. These are no ordinary masks, allowing you to freely explore 8 levels ‘biomes’ and discover their secrets.
As an apprentice, you’ll have to learn to build various masks from blueprints using materials you find. Eventually, you’ll be given free rein to make your own designs, although the studio hasn’t revealed what will happen when you do. Grander in scope than InnerspaceVR’s previous projects, Maskmaker is expected early next year.
Iris VR Inc. – the team behind Technolust – held a successful Kickstarter back in 2019 for its ambitious cyberpunk project Low-Fi, which supports both VR and non-VR gameplay. An epic sci-fi adventure where you play a cop patrolling the dark crime-ridden streets of city-block 303, you’re able to choose between keeping law and order or exploiting its seedy underbelly.
While the Kickstarter offered backers access to the development build depending on which tier they purchased, that early access was then made available to everyone. Low-Fi is available on itch.io for $35 USD, once the videogame is ready to launch you’ll get a Steam key.
- Supported headsets: PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index & Windows Mixed Reality.
- Release date: Q1 2021
Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall
Warhammer fans on Oculus Quest have just been treated to Warhammer 40,000: Battle Sister from Pixel Toys. Next year it’s the turn of Carbon Studio’s Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall to take you into the wartorn universe.
Only a few teasing details of the gameplay have been revealed so far such as the image below and that the action will be a mix of melee combat and powerful, motion-based spellcasting. One aspect Carbon Studio has been detailing is the storyline through a selection of dev blog’s over on Steam. If the team’s recent The Wizards – Dark Times game is anything to go by Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Tempestfall is in good hands.
After the Fall
Another videogame falling foul of remote working in 2020, Vertigo Games’ After the Fall is its next big blockbuster shooter. Originally unveiled during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019, the studio has released few updates over the past year, the main one being the delay.
A promising action-packed FPS from what’s been shown so far, the studio behind Arizona Sunshine is heading for chillier climes for this adventure. Not to some northern outpost, rather Los Angeles set in a desolate future consumed by climate change and where most of the population have turned into monsters because of a designer drug. Survival will require scavenging for parts to build deadly weapons and other tools.
- Supported headsets: PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive & Valve Index
- Release date: Early 2021
The Climb 2
Revealed during Facebook Connect in September, Crytek’s free-climbing sequel was slated for an Oculus Quest launch by the end of 2020. Nothing has been heard of The Climb 2 since then including a reason for the delay.
Just like before you’ll need a head for heights, assailing cliff faces whilst looking for the best route up. This time around, however, it won’t just be scenic views of the ocean and countryside you’ll be able to enjoy, it’ll take you into cities to scale massive skyscrapers like you’re Tom Cruise in a Mission Impossible movie. Hopefully, more news will come available in early 2021.
Sniper Elite VR
Bringing its popular sniping franchise into VR, Rebellion has teamed up with Coatsink and Just Add Water on the production of Sniper Elite VR. A single-player, story-driven campaign takes you to Italy during World War 2, helping the Italian resistance to rid Sicily of the Nazi’s.
You’ll be exploring scenic locations, finding the best spots to snipe enemies or when necessary employing sub-machine guns, pistols and other weapons at close range. And let’s not forget about the infamous X-ray kill camera to really make those long-range shots standout. While no official release date has been mentioned, having demoed Sniper Elite VR in 2019 VRFocus has its fingers crossed this might appear in 2021.
Rhythm-action videogames can be awesome fun and Unplugged from Anotherway and Vertigo Games looks like it could be a blast. It’s also the only title here which uses Oculus Quest’s hand tracking feature for some air guitar rock and roll.
So far a couple of teasing videos featuring Searching for the Truth by The Electric Alley and Roadie by Tenacious D have showcased the gameplay no guitar controllers needed. You’ll score points and build combos when playing well or booed and beer hurled at you when you mess up.
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