Neat Corporation, the studio behind the VR stealth action game originally aimed to release the PSVR version of Budget Cuts in May. Due to the global pandemic, Budget Cuts had to be delayed to July 1oth. Days before this expected release date, the studio announced that the new definite launch date has been set for September 25th.
In Budget Cuts, players take the role of an office worker going through the motions in a never-ending office complex. Incoming fax warns them of their impending doom as all the human have been replaced by worker drones. Armed with throwing knives and a teleporter gun, players have to stealth around the offices avoiding the security bots and figure out what has been going on.
Neat Corp had a few hurdles to port this two-year-old PC VR game to PSVR. Firstly, making the physics-based stealth game in shape for the decreased graphical and CPU power of the PS4. Another hurdle to jump over will invariably be the PS Camera’s smaller, front-facing tracking volume that will no doubt require users to make heavy use of snap-turning locomotion in addition to the game’s native teleportation scheme.
Despite the news of the delay, Neat Corp also has good news that there will be an additional new level called the Panopticon to this PSVR version. In this new radial level, players have a clear goal to achieve but can take whatever approach they choose. “We wanted to encourage the player to pave their own path forward, either through brute force and action or through stealth and sneaking their way around in order to reach the center of the level,” said designer Olle Axelsson in a post on the Playstation Blog.
There are still no words whether the sequel Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency which release last December will be getting a PSVR port as well. Neither is there any clues to whether there will be a Quest port.
Joy Way’s STRIDE The New Parkour Action Game Leaps into VR This Summer
The first-person Parkour Action game was popularized by DICE’s Mirror’s Edge that came out in 2008. Being a critical success, it was only a matter of time that this would translate into VR as headsets become more commonplace in the industry. Here enters the developers, Joy Way, with their new Parkour action game, Stride, that wears its influence from Mirror’s Edge on its sleeve, from the sterile dystopic city, parkour elements and even a homage to the main character, Faith’s gloves, with a minor color change. Coming this summer, players will able to leap across roof-tops in a massive cityscape with what boasts to be a smooth and immersive locomotion system.
Stride drops players into the city-state X, 15 years after an environmental disaster had cut it off from the rest of the world. The city has fallen to the growing gang violence over what little resources are left. It is up to the player to help the innocent victim caught in the crossfires of the rival gangs in the conflicting city.
Stride‘s movement-based locomotion allows players to freerun across the city, leaping, sliding, and wall-running to get from A to B in as creative a way as their hearts desire. Based on footage released by the developers, Stride won’t just be using the stick locomotion but will require physical movement of the arms by the player. If you are worried about the possibility of motion sickness while playing, Joy Way has stated on their Steam Page it has been tested that Stride did not cause significant motion sickness. Although some players may minor uneasiness when playing it for the first time, it will start to subside after a while of playing.
While Stride‘s parkour is a major focus, players will also have to fight their way across the gang-riddled rooftops of City State X. During combat, players can choose to stealthily take out their targets or fight them head-on with melee combat. Using their environment and parkour abilities, they can pick off large gangs that aim to overwhelm the player. Gunfighting is another option in the player’s arsenal to dispatch the gangs who want to kill them.
There has been no exact release date or price for Stride but Joy Way has given the release window of the “late” summer of 2020 coming launching on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality, and Valve Index VR devices. In a statement to Road to VR, they hope to bring the title to the PSVR and Oculus Quest as well eventually.
Tokyo Chronos Sequel ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos Mixes VR Visual Novel and Mech Battles
Tokyo Chronos developer, MyDearestInc, had announced in late 2019 that they would be working on a sequel to be released in Q4 2020. Recently, they dropped a new trailer of their upcoming game, ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos revealing more story and game details. Following the critically acclaimed and public beloved VR mystery title, MyDearestInc hopes to expand on their original’s success with twisting narrative with multiple choice based paths.
ATLDEUS: Beyond Chronos takes place in a world where humanity has taken refuge underground from a group of deadly monsters called the Meteoras. The game is set about 300 years after the events of Tokyo Chronos. Players take the role of Chloe, a genetically enhanced supersoldier who aims to save humanity from extinction and avenge her only friend, Coco who was tragically killed by the monstrous Meteora.
“The response to Tokyo Chronos was incredible, but our community felt like we couldn’t stop there. We had to continue exploring that world,” said Haruki Kashiwakura, director in a statement to VR Focus. “ALTDEUS propels us into the future with an all-new cast, taking us to brand new highs in VR storytelling. We think this new saga is even more ambitious and only improves upon the formula from Tokyo Chronos.”
As a member of the anti-Meteora organization, Prometheus, players pilot a giant mech known as the Makhia to face off the monsters with the aid of their AARC (Artificial Augmented Reality Crystal), Noa, who helps them through song. Noa also looks very similar to Chloe’s deceased friend and creates friction between the two. As an interactive experience, ATLDEUS will give players multiple endings based on the choices they make as Chloe, as they try to find out the truth of the hellish Meteora and the AARC.
Bringing his unique anime aesthetic, design and bold color scheme, character designer LAM, famous for his work on Persona 5 and Fate/Grand Order speaks in a press release to Gamasutra about his experience.“TOKYO CHRONOS marks my first leap into VR and with the release of ALTDEUS, I want to showcase a new side of my work,” said LAM. “It is my most ambitious project to date, and I think my work with MyDearest will continue to breath vibrant new life into the VR scene.”
ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos is currently expected to be released on Q4 2020 on Oculus platforms (with more headset releases to be announced soon), available with English and Japanese voice acting and Chinese (Simplified), German, and French subtitles.
Murder Mystery Adventure “The Invisible Hours” To Get Oculus Quest Release Soon
The Oculus Quest has been seeing an increase in ports to its library. With a recent announcement on the birthday of Nikola Tesla, another name can be added to the list. Game developers, Tequila Works, have announced that they will be porting their murder mystery drama, The Invisible Hours, to the Oculus Quest “soon.”
Truth is a matter of perspective.
⌚️THE INVISIBLE HOURS, coming soon to Oculus Quest🧐
— The Invisible Hours 🧐 (@HoursInvisible) July 10, 2020
Set in the 1870s, the murder mystery of The Invisible Hours has seven characters trapped within a gothic mansion on an island in the middle of the lake smack dab in a storm of torrential rain. In a very Agatha Christie fashion, these characters all have nothing in common with each other except for the fact that they are all suspects in the murder of the owner of the mansion, Nikola Tesla himself.
Players are not put in the role of a character but an outside observer, a ghost, who can’t be seen or heard by any of the suspects as they go about their investigation of the murder. What The Invisible Hours does differently from many interactive adventure games is that the context of the murder is not found through dialogue interrogation or clues found from puzzle-solving minigames, but purely through listening and observing the suspects.
The thing of the plot is that at any given time there are multiple story threads playing out. So it is up to the player to follow whichever story they find interesting or will lead them to solve the murder of the famous inventor. So if you follow one character’s storyline, you will be missing other scenes taking place in different parts of the mansion. Tequila Works’ approach to integrating human curiosity into their core mechanic relies on their story structure they refer to as the ‘Spherical Narrative.’
The Invisible Hours is built out of dozens of motion-captured scenes that all have to begin and end at different times – but must all fit together into one giant sphere of uninterrupted story, says Narrative Director Rob Yescombe in an interview with Gamasutra. Before you can even begin, Spherical Narrative is trapped inside a paradox: you have to know how long every single scene is going to be – to the exact second – before you write it because the length of every scene is dependent on the length of all the others.
He adds, “In an attempt to crack this paradox, I started by writing a scene-by-scene outline from each character’s perspective on their individual story, then placed them into a grid representing units of time. At this point they may look synchronized, but not only are the varying lengths of every scene a consideration in synchronization, we must also apply the unique distances that characters need to traverse between their scenes in varying locations, the speed at which they need to cover those distances, and the impact those factors will have on the scenes that they are traveling to interrupt. If any one of those puzzle pieces is off by a single second, the whole thing breaks. But now, imagine multiplying that problem across dozens of scenes, across five floors in the mansion, across seven interwoven stories.”
While initially released for VR in 2017, The Invisible Hours did get a non-VR version for the PS4, Xbox One and PC included with full 4k support. So if you haven’t played and are interested, you don’t need a headset to take part in this intriguing voyeuristic take on the murder mystery genre.