Virtual reality gaming is something that we’ve been looking forward to for decades, but only in recent years has it become something that seems be on the verge of breaking into the mainstream. Leading VR headset Oculus Rift has already sold over 85,000 developer kits, and Oculus VR was recently acquired by Facebook for a reported $2 billion.
Determined not to be outdone by a crowd-funded piece of hardware, Sony has been developing its own VR headset for the PS4 that’s currently titled Project Morpheus. Of course, a VR headset isn’t much use without games that are compatible with it, so at E3 2014 Sony has announced an upcoming adventure game called The Assembly that has been designed from day one to be played using VR technology.
The Assembly is in development at nDreams, a small studio with a “fast-growing” team of 28 people based in Farnborough, UK. The first teaser trailer for The Assembly was posted on the official PlayStation blog today, and nDreams has also brought an early playable demo of the game to E3. The current plan is to release a PS4 version with Project Morpheus support and a PC version with Oculus Rift support.
The teaser is pretty mysterious, showing a bird decomposing in the desert followed by scenes from inside an underground laboratory, but nDreams CEO Patrick O’Luanaigh explains that the eponymous “Assembly” is a secret collective of scientists, academics and engineers who wish to break free from the constraints of morality that they feel have been holding back scientific advancement – a premise that’s extremely reminiscent of BioShock. The Assembly was written by indie game writer Tom Jubert, who is currently best known for his work on titles like FTL: Faster Than Light, The Swapper and Penumbra.
The Assembly has been in development since mid-2013, when nDreams first acquired VR headsets, and since then the studio has been experimenting to see what gameplay elements work best in VR. Currently the game allows the player to control two different characters, which highlights the differences in their heights, voices and sounds. The studio also eschewed silent protagonists in favor of fully-voiced characters, in order to encourage role play and greater immersion into the story.
There are a lot of exciting new titles on show at E3 this year, but for those who are interested in the future of VR The Assembly is definitely worth paying close attention to. The fact that it’s being designed to have a rich story and characters is also a very welcome bonus.
The Assembly doesn’t have an official release date yet but will eventually be available on PC and PS4.