Virtual reality will be a hot topic at GDC this year, and a recent blog post from Facebook owned VR company Oculus is hinting at big reveals just around the corner as we approach the next Game Developers Conference.
In a blog post titled ‘Why I’m excited for VR in 2019’, Nate Mitchell, head of VR at Facebook, celebrates the success of Oculus Go and calls the upcoming Oculus Quest “just another milestone on our long journey to bring VR to everyone.” Much like how Oculus Go introduced many consumers to VR thanks to its low cost and high comfort, the Oculus Quest, a $400 VR set that dispenses the need for a connected PC or external sensors altogether, makes more immersive VR accessible to the masses.
But that doesn’t mean that Oculus is only working on lower-end, mainstream-targeted hardware. It’s also looking to improve its existing PC VR offerings and bring something new to the table.
According to Mitchell “we continue to ship software improvements to Rift on a steady basis, incorporating your feedback to level up our existing hardware while developing new tech (more on that soon)… we’re looking to make true breakthroughs—from optics and displays to haptics and more.”
What will be revealed at GDC?
The Rift S confirmed?
So what will this new tech be and what kind of breakthroughs will we see? Although the Oculus Quest is expected to be the star of the show at GDC, Mitchell does promise “some surprises in store”. It’s possible that we will see official details confirm the nature of the mysterious “Rift S” with on-board cameras, higher resolution, and potentially of these ‘breakthroughs’ that Mitchell hints at in his blog.
A Zelda-like VR adventure for Oculus
Mitchell mentions that he’s already been playing some games that the company will showcase at GDC and PAX East. Particularly exciting for the Oculus chief is a new title from Turtle Rock Studios. According to Mitchell, “it reminds me of playing Zelda back when I was a kid—that sense of awe and wonder and larger-than-life adventure.”
A VR game that could give that Legend of Zelda feeling in VR would certainly be something to get excited about, and Turtle Rock Studios have previously developed excellent VR games Face Your Fears and The Well. The team is already slated to present Face Your Fears 2 for Oculus Quest and it’s not certain whether this Zelda-esque adventure game would be for Quest, Rift, or both.
Asgard’s Wrath: 30+ hour viking RPG debuts at GDC
One thing we do know is that GDC will see Oculus showcase one of the most ambitious VR games ever made: Asgard’s Wrath. RPGs are a popular genre in VR but many are still very limited early access titles from indie studios, or in the case of Bethesda’s Skyrim VR, suffering from less than seamless adaptation from flat screen to VR.
Asgard’s Wrath is a Rift-exclusive game inspired by Norse mythology that puts you in the helm of a godling developing their divine powers. This being Norse mythology of course, this involves brutally eviscerating all manner of monsters. The player can switch between ‘god mode’ as a floating spirit towering over the world, and possess mortal bodies, wield weapons and so on in a world with fully fleshed out VR physics. With over 30 hours of content promises, this could potentially blow competitors out of the water and offer the deep Witcher 3-esque VR RPG we’ve been waiting for.
To see these new games, the Oculus Quest and the exciting “surprises” Mitchell has hinted at, we’ll have to wait for GDC, taking place in San Francisco March 18–22. Of particular interest to VR fans is VRDC, a section of the conference dedicated to the most immersive VR and AR experiences.
What would you like to see from Oculus at GDC? Or do you have your eye on HTC or a different company?