Haven’t you heard? Ubisoft is bringing the goods in late 2018 with Space Junkies, a new arcade-style VR FPS game that appears to emulate the high-intensity multiplayer action of FPS scorefests from the late 1990’s.
Simply put: From what we’ve seen, Space Junkies looks like an honest push into the coveted AAA gaming territory that VR users have been craving for a while.
If you’ve been waiting to get your feet into a solid FPS experience that feels built from scratch for VR—and isn’t limited to a set of levels, or the hyper-specific hardcore Mil-Sim niche that Onward occupies—then Space Junkies may be the answer to your prayers.
There are a few key features of Space Junkies that, from the previews so far, I’d like to highlight:
No Gravity? No Problem!
If you’ve played Lone Echo or Echo Arena, then you already know how great it is to propel yourself around using nothing but your hands and the rocket boosters attached to them.
Good news! Not only does Space Junkies not have gravity. But it also takes zero-gravity shenanigans to the next level by featuring environments that are built—from the ground up, mind you—for completely unpredictable engagements on all sides.
This expanded zero-G verticality might make certain players dizzy, so be warned.
Space Junkies’ deliberately well-optimized smooth turning controls sweeten the deal by combating a major problem that so many other VR games tend to have: motion-induced visual lag.
Now Including: Your Entire Body
One thing that bothers me about a lot of VR games? The lack of full-body support included out of the box.
In my opinion, Skyrim VR is the biggest perpetrator here as the lack of a full player character body mesh nearly rips me out of the immersion.
With Space Junkies, that concern has been sealed shut. You can look down and see your own body whenever you are flying or floating around the virtual battlefield.
It’s unseen whether or not Space Junkies will contain discreet support for foot tracking like in VRChat, but I’d venture that it’s achievable.
Each Match Is Limited To 2v2
Right now, matches are limited to four players total. Keep in mind that this is subject to change when Space Junkies finally comes out in Q4 of this year.
The player-cap is most likely due to technical limitations—so that you can enjoy Space Junkies’ gorgeous visuals without being bogged down by the additional resource drain that comes with numerous other characters zooming around the map.
Don’t go in thinking that you’ll be getting huge battles like you may be used to on flatscreen games like Battlefield or Halo. But while the frenetic skirmish-type gameplay of Space Junkies is perfectly balanced for 2v2, there is room for improvement in future updates.
Space Junkies Loves Crazy Weapons
The most striking thing for me about Space Junkies is the wacky (cool!) weapon design that prevails through its presentation.
Space Junkies isn’t a realistic shooting game by any means. But it delights in the punchy weight of its superweapons to give impact to each shot. Not only that; every weapon has a unique personality that makes it memorable.
For example, check out the Biopump shotgun:
Weapons in Space Junkies seem easy to pick up but difficult to master. And I can already see Space Junkies becoming an ESL title where competitive players deliberately build up their real-world stamina and reflexes to master the game.
Can we talk about this for a minute? Everything about Space Junkies looks phenomenal from a production-value perspective.
Each character is voiced, the models and animations are thoroughly detailed and—by the heavens—meshes actually collide with one another!
What high-budget VR wizardry is this?!
Ubisoft’s first major entry into VR may feel like the cavalry has arrived. Especially when you consider that the stickiest VR games have been crafted by indie developers on shoestring budgets.
Even here at VR Fitness Insider, where the niche has always been about using VR to get fit—something that you could do with nothing but an Oculus Rift and a copy of BOXVR—the turning of the AAA tide is optimistic.
But the important part of all this? VR is finally starting to ramp up enough to get the attention of giants like Ubisoft.
How will you blast your friends to pieces when Space Junkies launches later this year?