April 21 marked the inaugural launch of the Oculus Gaming Showcase. The live-streamed event, hosted by executive producer Ruth Bram teased us with new game announcements and trailers, plus exciting new content coming to existing fan-favorite games.
In this article, I’ll cover all the major news, with an emphasis of course on the more physically active titles, befitting our status as a VR fitness-focused website.
Lone Echo II – Summer Launch PCVR Exclusive!
Ok, this isn’t fitness but I had to lead with this. Arguably the most eagerly anticipated VR title of them all, Lone Echo II IS coming this summer, and in a major surprise, it will be a PCVR exclusive for the Rift platform. Quest users will need to have a PC and connect via Oculus Link or Air Link.
Given the overwhelming popularity of the Quest platform, I think we all expected that the reason for this game’s multiple delays was to ‘downgrade’ its graphical complexity to be playable on the standalone Quest platform. With Oculus having seemingly abandoned any interest in PCVR in the past year and discontinuing the Rift line altogether, that this is only coming to PCVR is frankly stunning news.
Whatever happened regarding Lone Echo II it was likely to be divisive, certainly many Quest standalone users will be disappointed that they won’t get to experience this game on mobile, but for the all too neglected, overlooked, and long-suffering Rift and PCVR crowd, to get one last major PCVR title from Oculus will be exhilarating news. The fact that this is a PCVR exclusive must suggest that the game is simply too complex to create a standalone version, and developers Ready At Dawn has pushed ahead in creating the best version of the game that they possibly can.
I’m beyond excited about this, as I’m sure all PCVR users will be. Does this indicate that Oculus hasn’t given up on PCVR? Maybe this is them testing the water again, and seeing if the surging growth of the Quest platform has increased the PCVR userbase? Or maybe Ready at Dawn wouldn’t budge on their vision for this game, and insisted they be allowed to design for high-end VR only to make a truly groundbreaking title?
Either way, I’m pumped and I know the rest of you PCVR users will be too!
I’m certainly ready to return to the rings of Saturn and pick up the story of Jack and Olivia Rhodes when it releases in a few month’s time.
Ok, I had to cover that first as for me it’s the biggest news of the event, at least for PCVR users, but it’s not really an active title, so now let’s focus on fitness-related content. We’ve got some exciting new expansions coming, and a new game that I’m really excited to try.
Carve Snowboarding coming on May 27
If you like active, extreme sports games then you’ll likely be excited for Carve Snowboarding. Developed from the ground up for VR, Carve is the creation of legendary Nintendo retro games programmer Giles Goddard, the man behind the N64 classic 1080° Snowboarding. He was also part of the team that made Star Fox and he designed the face of Mario in Mario 64, quite a programming pedigree. Goddard is an avid snowboarder himself and utilizing virtual reality technology to really capture an authentic snowboarding experience has been a personal passion project for him. I got to interview both Giles and lead producer Mark Lentz and talk about their upcoming title so check out my Carve Snowboarding preview article for more information.
Pistol Whip, The Concierge Update, plus New Storybook DLC
Cloudhead games pleased their fans last December by releasing a free Sci-Fi story campaign 2089, that had you fighting an army of robots in a post-apocalyptic world straight out of a Terminator movie. The five linked levels were very well received and so the announcement of a second story is going to delight a lot of fans. Smoke & Thunder tells a tale of rescue and revenge in the old Wild West, as a notorious gunslinger sets out to find her missing sister. Set on the brink of the Industrial boom, the story features trains, tech, and lots of explosive action.
That’s not all, we’re also going to finally get the long-teased Concierge update, which will unlock full customization options. As players, we will now have total control over the selection of weapons and modifiers for every level so that we can perfect and hone our own unique playstyles
Expect both Pistol Whip: Smoke & Thunder and The Concierge to launch for both Quest and Rift this summer.
The Climb 2 Gets A Freestyling Update
The Climb 2 has only been out a hot minute but some free DLC is incoming. Tomorrow’s update contains one-half of the planned 12 levels from the Freestyle update. The 6 new levels have no checkpoints, so climb carefully if you want to make it to the top! For the hardcore, you can get bonus points for not chalking at all. Crytek is also introducing rhythm-based climbing with disappearing grips along your route. To progress safely you’ll need to learn the grips and climb to the beat of a background track.
This sounds like a fun variation to the climbing theme and it’s coming tomorrow so not long to wait!
Best of the Rest
I’ve focused above on the most explicit fitness/active game content, but there are a host more announcements and exciting games and expansions incoming.
Let’s briefly go over some of the other news.
Warhammer 40,000: Battle Sister Multiplayer Update
Following last month’s ‘Last Bastion’ update, which brought a horde mode to the game, developer Pixel Toys is imminently introducing a cooperative two-player multiplayer mode to fight the horde together, along with the addition of two brand new maps.
Star Wars: Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge Part II
This episodic series will give us more Star Wars adventures later in the year. Today we got introduced to a new character, Dok-Ondar, a visitor from the Den of Antiquities.
There are a lot more reveals besides, including a look at Resident Evil 4, coming to the Oculus Quest, and news on Star Wars Pinball, After The Fall, Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife, and we’re also getting a sequel to I Expect You To Die. But as these are not strictly active games I’ll leave you to discover these on your own!