It has been quite an incredible year for virtual reality (VR) fans. Headsets like Oculus Quest, Valve Index and Vive Cosmos have arrived while developers have continually surpassed the quality of content available. So now it’s time to look ahead and into 2020. With plenty of exciting content coming in the next 12 months VRFocus looks at some of the most exciting prospects.
The one videogame pretty much all VR gamers are looking forward to, Valve’s addition to the Half-Life franchise is going to be a dedicated VR experience. Supporting PC VR headsets – free for those who own Valve Index – Half-Life: Alyx will be set between the events of 1998’s Half-Life and Half-Life 2 (2004).
You take the role of Alyx Vance as she and her father secretly form a resistance against the mysterious alien race known as The Combine currently occupying planet Earth. Set for an official launch in March, Half-Life: Alyx looks stunning from the screenshots released so far and could become the VR game of the year.
The Walking Dead: Saint & Sinners
Currently being developed by Skydance Interactive as an official tie-in to AMC’s TV Show, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is going to be a gory, zombie-filled, shooter. With its own unique storyline set within New Orleans, the videogame will task players with having to deal with constant threats of violence, disease, and famine, with threats coming from both the zombie and human population alike.
Being able to wield an assortment of ranged and close-combat weaponry, players will be able to inflict some brutal damage in their bid to survive, whilst also making life and death decisions which affect the narrative. There won’t be too long to wait either, as the launch date of 23rd January has already been confirmed.
The Walking Dead Onslaught
Can’t get enough of the undead and using shotguns to decapitate them? Well, you’re in luck as VR specialist Survios (Battlewake, Creed: Rise to Glory, Electronauts) is also working with AMC on a Walking Dead videogame. The Walking Dead Onslaught was originally due for release in 2019 but the studio pushed it back to improve the experience.
Offering a single-player campaign which also has its own unique storyline, VRFocus previewed the title at the Electonic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019, finding that: “The Walking Dead Onslaught looks like it’ll provide a fairly brutal zombie gameplay experience for fans of titles like Arizona Sunshine.” There’s no launch date at the moment but Survios has always produced high-quality VR titles so its one to keep an eye on.
Lone Echo II
Before Half-Life: Alyx was announced, developer Ready at Dawn had the most anticipated sci-fi experience arriving in 2020, Lone Echo II. An Oculus Rift exclusive, the original from 2017 set a new benchmark in both visual and gameplay design for VR experiences. However, the sequel has a lot more competition now and expectations are high.
Lone Echo II was supposed to be a 2019 release, the studio announced in the summer that a Q1 2020 launch window was now taking place. Thus putting it in direct competition with Valve’s epic. The sequel continues the story of Captain Olivia Rhodes and your robot character Jack who’s there to protect her. Having previewed Lone Echo II it looks like fans won’t be disappointed.
Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond
One of the surprise announcements from Oculus Connect 6 (OC6) in September 2019, Respawn Entertainment finally revealed its first VR title originally hinted at during OC4. Bringing one of its most popular franchises to VR, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond takes players back to World War II, as an Allied agent of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).
Tasked with completing a tour of duty across Europe to disable the Nazi war machine, the title will feature both single-player and multiplayer modes offering historically accurate settings, weapons and other items. Mixing up both first-person shooter (FPS) action with puzzles, Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond proved to be an enjoyable experience when VRFocus previewed the title. There’s no release window during 2020 just yet.
Coming from the indie team behind Technolust, Low-Fi first emerged on Kickstarter looking to raise $60,000 CAD to fund this cyberpunk adventure. The crowd-funding campaign easily hit the target within four days, raise over $100,000 CAD in the process.
Designed to be a massive open-world sandbox inspired by films such as Blade Runner and Robocop, Low-Fi puts players in the shoes of a police officer recently transferred to a crime-ridden section of city-block 303. Here they can keep law and order, solving crimes and advancing narratives or delve into the seedy underbelly of the city, taking bribes, framing innocent people and hanging out in casinos. A fully finished version is expected to arrive towards the end of 2020.
After the Fall
The next big title from Vertigo Games (Arizona Sunshine, Skyworld), After the Fall is another FPS filled with monsters to shoot and guns to upgrade. Taking place in Los Angeles 20 years after an apocalypse began a new ice age, you need to survive this harsh winter environment scavaging what you can whilst killing as many Snowbreed as possible. These horrible creatures were once human but thanks to designer drugs mutated into foul beasts.
Set to offering both single-player and co-op multiplayer modes, After the Fall will be an action-packed experience where you can build weapons, armour and other gear from found items. Vertigo Games has yet to announce when in 2020 After the Fall will arrive, so in the meantime check out VRFocus‘ preview.
Iron Man VR
One of the first VR videogames announced during Sony Interactive Entertainment’s (SIE) State of Play broadcast in March, Iron Man VR is possibly PlayStation VR’s biggest exclusive coming in 2020. Putting players in Tony Stark’s iconic suit whilst playing the character himself, players will be able to fly, shoot and punch just like the Marvel superhero, in what could be the best Iron Man videogame to date.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR is scheduled for worldwide release on 28th February 2020 with pre-orders available.
Another PlayStation VR exclusive, Paper Beast looks set to offer one of the most intriguing and original experiences to come to the headset next year. Created by French studio Pixel Reef, Paper Beast is the work of legendary designer behind Another World and From Dust, Eric Chahi.
Designed to be a playful exploration videogame, Paper Beast is set in the world of big data, born within the vast memory of data servers. Here players will find strange creatures and an everchanging landscape, with a non-verbal narrative to follow. Players can not only interact with the creatures they find but also the terrain, solving puzzles in the process. Paper Beast is due out soon, with a Q1 2020 window now in place.
The Room VR: A Dark Matter
A multiplatform title which was revealed during OC6, The Room VR: A Dark Matter continues Fireproof Games’ award winning series The Room. Designed specifically for VR, this version is set in the British Museum, London, circa 1908. The storyline revolves around the disappearance of an esteemed Egyptologist prompting a police investigation.
Players will be able to explore cryptic locations, examine gadgets and discover an otherworldly element blurring the line between reality and illusion, fantastic for any puzzle fan. A launch will be taking place early 2020 for headsets including Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Valve Index and Windows Mixed Reality.
Pixel Ripped 1995
Having begun with Pixel Ripped 1989, creator Ana Ribeiro and Brazilian studio ARVORE plan to make several sequels with Pixel Ripped 1995 being the next. Each one is a sort of homage to gaming of that era, mixing VR environments with some retro gameplay.
The first title was a delightful experience with Pixel Ripped 1995 promising more of the same, now stepping into the 16-bit gaming era. The narrative continues where players have to fight an evil goblin called the Cyblin Lord. This time players are David, a 9-year-old kid from New Jersey who must defeat the evil villain. Currently, Pixel Ripped 1995 doesn’t have a date or window for launch in 2020, so take a look at VRFocus’ preview from OC6 for a little more info.
Phantom: Covert Ops
As is quite often the case videogame launches get pushed back and nDreams’ Phatom: Covert Ops is no different. Another title expected in 2019, the British VR developer announced the decision to delay the release until the new year to polish the experience.
From what VRFocus has seen already Phantom: Covert Ops looks very promising, with the core mechanic being that you’re a stealth operative working solely from a kayak. One of the reasons for this idea was gamer comfort, in a seated position you need to paddle to move anywhere, whilst a range of weaponry including a silenced pistol, rifle and C4 are all close to hand for carrying out missions. Once again there’s no solid date for Phantom: Covert Ops’ launch in 2020 so you’ll have to make do with this preview for a little more detail.