Virtual reality is the fastest-growing and most talked about technology right now, and as more and more people start to gain interest, developers are exploring new ways to immerse players in brand new environments.
Some of the genres most impacted by VR are horror and sci-fi, which are set to thrill players like never before by inserting them fully into the setting, adding far more levels of engagement (and therefore terror) than ever possible with flat gaming. Here are some of the upcoming horror and sci-fi VR games we’re looking forward to the most!
For those still mourning the loss of SILENT HILLS and have spent hours replaying its demo trailer, PT, to get a glimpse of what could have been, ALLISON ROAD is here to sate your appetite. For a time, it looked like it may have had a similar fate, as the creator Christian Kesler announced in June 2016 the project would be cancelled following a split with its publisher. Thankfully, two months later, he rescinded this, saying ALLISON ROAD would move forward under a new label.
The gameplay trailer puts the player in a quiet house, staring at a tv screen, moaning of a headache. As it takes you through the house, small sounds and little knocks turn into vaguely threatening whispers before culminating in a direct confrontation with the ghost as blood drips down the walls.
There’s no release date set for ALLISON ROAD yet, but we look forward to seeing what direction it goes in.
Like ALLISON ROAD, SadSquare’s VISAGE draws heavy inspiration from PT, and follows its predecessor in placing the player in the middle of an innocuous, suburban house and letting them explore around. From the gameplay trailer, VISAGE seems to do a great job of immersing the player and corralling them into the spaces it wants them to go through the use of mysterious paintings and some well-placed haunting. What sets it apart is the eventual set change – going from the home into a pipe-filled warehouse reminiscent of THE NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET before concluding in an entirely different location still.
The developers promise a full 6-7 hours of gameplay, and though the release was delayed, VISAGE should be out sometime in 2017.
ORGAN QUARTER is another that wears its inspiration on its sleeve, citing in its trailer that it draws influence from classic survival horror, and it definitely shows. Set in an abandoned, SILENT HILL-like town, the player is faced with the aftermath of some type of infection that has left the town empty save for the grotesque creatures the infected residents have become. “Picture RESIDENT EVIL by way of David Cronenberg and David Lynch,” the official Kickstarter says. It goes on to cite more inspirations and influences, from 90’s survival horror games to horror films of the 70’s and 80’s, and looks to be a well-blended and well-balanced game for fans of all horror genres.
ORGAN QUARTER’s development team is aiming for an HTC Vive launch in July 2017, with a launch for Oculus Rift soon to follow.
Unlike the three games above, NARCOSIS doesn’t focus on ghosts or infections or anything else a typical survival horror game uses to terrify the player. Everything is rooted in one of the more unnerving parts of our natural world: the deep sea, and descending into insanity. NARCOSIS puts the player in a diving suit, exploring an underwater research facility as its sole survivor. Tension mounts as the player needs to constantly find a supply of oxygen lest they suffocate, encounter various alien-like deep sea creatures that can damage the suit, and slowly begin to question their sanity.
NARCOSIS has been in development since 2014, and as such, is one of the few VR games that will be played using a gamepad. It launches March 28, 2017 for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and non-VR Xbox One.
STIFLED is an extremely unique game: it relies on sound to illuminate the environment. Any sound the player makes in-game or through their microphone bounces across objects and setting, giving a clear but brief look at the outlines of what’s around them. The drawback is that as much as sounds are necessary for the player to see where they’re going, they also lure the monsters to their location. What results is a tense balance players have to strike to navigate but stay hidden as they investigate their surroundings.
What makes STIFLED even more intriguing than just this unique method of navigation is the simplistic but effective graphics. While there are certain areas with enough light that the player can see without making sounds, most of the game is spent in near or complete pitch darkness, with objects only lit up with solid white outlines, immersing the player in the feeling of really “echolocating” as they explore.
STIFLED will be released for Vive, Rift, PlayStation VR, and other non-VR platforms sometime in 2017.
Set aboard a spacecraft observing a phenomenon only identified as “an anomaly”, LONE ECHO is one of the most talked about games in VR news right now. More specifically, people are extremely excited about how the game allows the player to navigate in zero gravity: with their hands. Rather than using specific controller commands to move the player, which can incite motion sickness fast, LONE ECHO allows the player to push themselves around with their hands, which immediately gives a more natural and controlled movement that keeps players from getting nauseous. On top of the unique movement system, the game looks beautiful but terrifying as the “anomaly” begins interfering with the spacecraft’s electrical systems and causing crashes reminiscent of the ones in GRAVITY.
LONE ECHO is available for pre-order now and will be available for Oculus sometime in 2017.