Just when I thought I had finally managed to nudge Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” to the Upside-Down of my subconscious mind, the Meta Quest Showcase only went and happened — once again adding another layer to the ever-popular world of Stranger Things. Only this time, it’s a VR game, and going by the details left out to dry by Zuckerberg and crew, it’ll be heading to Meta Quest 2 and “all major VR platforms” later this year. Tidy.
Anyway, with the news well and truly out in the open, what more is there to tell ahead of the game’s launch? Well, if you’re even the slightest bit interested in Netflix’s powerhouse poster child, then be sure to read on. Stranger Things VR: just what is it, and how will it tie in with the kids over in Hawkins? Let’s talk.
What Is Stranger Things VR?
So, what is this VR adaptation of the beloved Netflix series, and how will it compare to the mobile iteration that rolled out just a couple of years back? Well, to put you in the picture, Stranger Things VR is a (you guessed it) psychological horror virtual reality game set in the Upside-Down — from Vecna’s perspective, of all people. As players, you will be tasked with delving deep inside the minds of the people of Hawkins, and with your power to extract and preserve core memories, plot your revenge against Eleven and those who fall under her wing.
Going by what’s been shown to date, Stranger Things VR will be split between two timelines — the past, and the present. In the former, users will experience the events that took form prior to Henry Creel’s transformation into Vecna and the Hive Mind, whereas the present will accommodate a timeline that lets you plunge into the minds of Hawkins’ most iconic characters. But more on that shortly.
Just to echo, Stranger Things VR will take place across both the Upside-Down, and the town of Hawkins, and will serve as a prequel to the events of Stranger Things 4. As Vecna, or Henry Creel, you will be tasked with constructing the Hive Mind—a collective consciousness dominated by an all-seeing evil. With outlandish powers that let you invade the minds of others and extract their memories and abilities, you will set out and plot your revenge against both Eleven and the unknowing citizens of Hawkins.
In other words: “Experience the world of Stranger Things from the never-before-seen perspective of Vecna as he explores unknown realities, forms the hive mind, and enacts his plan for revenge against Eleven and Hawkins.” Vecna? Upside-Down? Unknown realities? VR? Count us in, Tender Claws.
Judging from the trailer that slipped out earlier this week, the gameplay will include exploring iconic locations from the Stranger Things universe, seeking out additional lore, as well as engaging in fast-paced combat and even the odd boss encounter. All of this will come bundled in an immersive VR experience—one that will no doubt make full use of the Meta Quest 2’s extensive features.
“Players will invade the dreams and memories of fan-favorite characters and harness telekinetic powers to possess minds and battle creatures, as Henry Creel’s transformation into Vecna and his influence on the events of prior seasons is revealed,” the description continues. “Relive memories from Henry’s time at Hawkins Lab with Dr. Brenner as you explore an otherworldly, interconnected hive mind.”
Going by this, we can only begin to imagine that there’ll be a 50/50 divide between playing as Henry Creel in Hawkins Lab, and Vecna in the Upside-Down. So, if you’re after another scoop of lore for your Stranger Things fan fiction, then you’ll no doubt get your money’s worth in the forthcoming VR entry.
So, who do we have to thank for this latest instalment in the Stranger Things nexus? Well, to put it short, it’s Tender Claws who’ll be bringing it to the table, a firm best known for Virtual Virtual Reality among a slew of other VR favourites.
Announced back in November 2022, both Netflix and Tender Claws revealed that the game would be shaping up for a Winter 2023 release across all major VR headsets. This was, thanks to Meta Quest’s recent showcase, then brought forward to Fall 2023. Unfortunately, neither faction has let slip a guaranteed release date. It won’t be long, though.
Tender Claws just so happened to drop a rather insightful trailer of Stranger Things VR earlier this week. And not just an old run-of-the-mill trailer, but a surprisingly in-depth gameplay trailer, no less. You can catch a glimpse of what’s to come in the Meta Quest chapter in the video embedded above.
Release Date, Platforms & Trailer
Stranger Things VR will be shaping up for a Fall 2023 release on Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest Pro, and “all major VR headsets” — presumably Pico, PlayStation VR2, and SteamVR. Does this mean the likes of PlayStation VR and other ex-gen headsets are out of the question? Honestly, it’s hard to say at this point, though nothing currently suggests it’ll be available on anything other than the latest models, either.
As it stands, Stranger Things VR will launch with only the one copy in mind: the Standard Edition, which will be available for $30 across all major retail outlets. You can get your hands on a copy over on the Meta Quest Store here.
Has the Upside-Down piqued your interest? If so, then be sure to check in with the team’s official social feed for all the additional updates here. We’ll be sure to let you know just as soon as Tender Claws hammer down a formal release date right here on gaming.net. Until then, be sure to add it to your wishlist here.
So, what’s your take? Will you be picking up a copy of Stranger Things VR when it drops later this Fall? Let us know your thoughts over on our socials here.