While PlayStation VR seems to have a near total hegemony in terms of exclusive games, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive both still receive a lot of love from developers and plenty of VR experiences that cross the the platform borders.
There’s some familiar developers in this list, with the likes of Owlchemy Labs, Survios and the collective studios at Ubisoft returning to show their mastery of the technology and what it can offer. Ubi in particular are a AAA publisher who’ve decided to make VR their own, and it’s one of their more unusual projects that we’ll start with.
Platforms: PSVR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift – Release date: Spring 2018
I’ve legitimately no idea what Ubisoft are cooking up with Transference, but it really looks like Elijah Wood is having fun, so I’m happy for them.
OK, so I do have a slight clue, as this psychological thriller introduces you to a troubled family and asks you to solve delve into their minds and dreams, piecing together the truth of a mystery that their stories hide. It sounds fascinating and just a little bit creepy…
Platforms: PSVR, HTC Vive – Release date: Spring 2018
Filled as it was with dinosaurs, it’s no wonder that Ark: Survival Evolved captured the imaginations of so many people. Naturally, now that we have the technology, Snail Games are mixing Ark with virtual reality and Jurassic Park. The result is Ark Park.
By the looks of things, they’ve gone all the way in creating a range of environments to explore and dinosaurs to discover. There’s things like gene collection and dinosaur breeding to do, but there’s also a darker side to this, with Battle Mode and multiplayer letting you pick up arms and defend a base from rampaging dinos!
Platforms: PSVR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift – Release date: 2018
After all that hard work in Job Simulator, it’s time to kick back and relax on holiday. It’s time for Vacation Simulator, whisking you away to sunny beaches to hang out with a bunch of bots, playing with beach balls, flipping burgers on a barbie, ducking under the water to grab a crustacean. This is bound to be wonderfully bizarre gibberish, and I’m rather looking forward to it.
Platforms: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift – Release date: 2018
Ubisoft’s commitment to VR is more than admirable, and their efforts are helping to solidify that there is a market here and it’s worth catering to, even by huge publishers. Ubisoft Montpellier’s crack at a VR first person shooter is Space Junkies, where you bounce around with an array of shotguns, miniguns, railguns and more, and have crazy battles in outer space.
Battles are 2v2 or four way free-for-alls, with movement in any direction and maps full of cover and obstacles to make use of. Sadly, PlayStation VR owners aren’t being invited to the party this time, as it demands higher end VR and tracking.
Platforms: PSVR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR – Release date: early 2018 (Rift, PSVR)
It’s 1989 and Nicola is trying her best to play Pixel Ripped in class. The only problem is that while Nicola has to worry about rescuing the magical Pixel Ripped stone that contains the soul of Adventureland, she’s also got to worry about getting caught by the teacher and sent to the principals office!
A game within a game, you’ll have to think outside the box to actually manage to beat Pixel Ripped, and this is a fun, nostalgic concept that I think could work really well in VR.
Platforms: Oculus Rift – Release date: 22nd February
Coming from the lead designer of Age of Empires II, Brass Tactics is a classic real time strategy game shoved into VR. You face off against an enemy commander on the other side of a huge map laid out in front of you, picking troops from a menu in one hand and dropping them onto the battlefield, where they break out of their cages and can directed to fight as you see fit.
Platforms: PSVR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift – Release date: Q1 2018
This is one game that really feels like it absolutely shouldn’t work. Coming from Survios, the team behind Raw Data, Sprint Vector looks like a blend of parkour, Jet Set Radio and perilous assault courses, all smashed together in VR. It looks insanely fast.
The fluid locomotion is what really stands out here, and it will be fascinating to see how Survios have pulled it off using your whole body motion as a controller.
With that, it’s time to end our penultimate Ones to Watch. Join us tomorrow on Saturday for the last one, where we turn our gaze back to PlayStation 4 and its wide array of exclusive titles.