An adventure videogame set in a lost world played from a first-person perspective. XING: The Land Beyond may not sound particularly inventive, but those of you who are regular readers will know that VRFocus already has high hopes for the title. It’s environment design, gameplay loop and the draw of it’s mysterious may be enough to sell the idea to many virtual reality (VR) fans, but there’s more. How about a rollercoaster ride into the bowels of the Earth?
It’s not yet known how or why the scene appears in XING: The Land Beyond, but the indie team at White Lotus Interactive were keen to demonstrate their VR rollercoaster to VRFocus. A lengthy sequence, the player is mounted within a minecart and flung along a precarious looking track as they are taken through numerous different locales and past amazing sights. The warmth of the lava below is almost tangible as you swoop by some fascinating stone statues carved by an ancient race that have long been forgotten. Technology and art merge into something quite surreal as you hurtle along the track, reaching a dramatic height before plummeting down into a crevice with vertigo inducing speed. This is the type of experience the Oculus Rift is best suited for: sitting down and being presented with something out of the ordinary. A life other than your own, if only for a few moments.
The area presented in this build is clearly a small piece of a larger puzzle, and it’s not for VRFocus to suggest what lies before or beyond. However, it is exemplary of a videogame designed to make the best use of the Oculus Rift hardware. White Lotus Interactive offered Oculus Rift compatibility as a stretch goal for XING: The Land Beyond during their successful Kickstarter campaign, and yet here we are with a sequence that was obviously designed specifically for use with the headset. The rollercoaster would certainly still be enjoyable without the Oculus Rift, but it simply wouldn’t have the same impact. Here we see not only environment design that would benefit from VR – as XING: The Land Beyond‘s stunning vistas most clearly would – but gameplay also.
It’s not yet known whether or not more sequences like this will appear in the final build of XING: The Land Beyond, however the fact that White Lotus Interactive are keen to demonstrate this small piece of the videogame with the Oculus Rift acts as a footnote to their understanding of what they have achieved. VRFocus waits to see what the team delivers next in the hope that they have even more reason to shout about XING: The Land Beyond and it’s compelling VR design.