There were a number of interesting virtual reality (VR) titles at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) such as Gearbox Software’s Penn & Teller VR and Survios’ Battlewake. Tripwire Interactive (Killing Floor: Incursion) was also there to promote a title it’s publishing, Espire 1: VR Operative, by Australian studio Digital Lode. A couple of the team came over to the show, and VRFocus decided to find out more (that’s what we’re here for).
Espire 1: VR Operative is a first-person shooter (FPS) with plenty of stealth elements to allow players to conduct missions however they please. The sensible option might be to stay hidden, using gantries, zip lines and other environmental objects to stay out of sight, only engaging enemies if you really need to. This way you can truly explore the Espire 1: VR Operative world without bullets whizzing past your head.
Or there’s always the second option, throwing caution to the wind, grabbing some guns and practising the delicate art of turning enemies into swiss cheese. Both options are equally open to all players, but the first requires patience and skill, the other a deadly aim. Plus there’s the little issue of altering all the guards should you get spotted or somewhat trigger happy.
Digital Lode is keen on ensuring Espire 1: VR Operative can be played by anyone (something not all VR FPS titles are good at), so the team created the ‘Control Theatre’ movement mechanic. This is actually intertwined with the story as you play an Espire Agent, operating a fully remote-controlled Espire model 1 robot. The theatre is the area the player character is in – a holodeck of sorts – so when movement takes place part of this location comes in rather like a vignette. This can be turned off if players so wish.
In the interview, VRFocus had a chat with Michael Wentworth-Bell, Espire 1: VR Operative Game Director at Digital Lode about the videogames’ production, inspiration as well as all the cool stuff you can do when remotely controlling a robot body that’s strong and more agile than a human.
Espire 1: VR Operative is scheduled to arrive in August 2019, supporting Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. A PlayStation VR has yet to be dated. Check out the interview below and for further updates on Espire 1: VR Operative, keep reading VRFocus.