Grapple mechanics aren’t often used in virtual reality (VR) as they can be tricky to pull off comfortably, the most well known being Psytec Games’ Windlands series. Today, indie developer Greensky Games has announced its take on this dynamic locomotion mechanic, Swarm, combining with first-person shooter (FPS) gameplay.
Instantly striking thanks to cel-shaded graphics which have that Borderlands 2 VR feel to them, Swarm is built around frantic arcade action. Set in arenas filled with platforms to swing from, the gameplay showcased in the video below looks like players will be challenged to take on a succession of boss fights, dealing with one primary enemy as well as smaller drones and other minions.
Players will be able to nip around arenas using grappling hooks from either hand whilst being able to dual wield two pistols. Other weapons do pop up including rocket launchers for crowd control and a gun which fires electricity.
On the subject of all that swinging around in VR, Peter Le Bek, founder of Greensky Games said in a statement: “You know, after we finished prototyping the grappling mechanic, before there were enemies, we were having so much fun just swinging around, but we were really worried that the movement would be too intense for most people. So when we tested with everyone in our office – most of whom had never tried VR before – we were really surprised that no one complained about motion sickness.
“And Swarm’s now been tested by hundreds of VR veterans and newbies alike, we haven’t had one complaint about nausea. Just to be safe we added comfort settings, but Swarm can be played without the fear of motion sickness.”
“From the start we were focused on building something where you can jump in for a 10-20 minute session and make progress,” Le Bek continues. “We also wanted to build a game with an incredible motion mechanic. We’d been enjoying grappling in Windlands and we felt like grappling in VR could feel even better.
“We spent 4 months iterating on grappling, and had a breakthrough when we gave the rope some elasticity and tension simulation – suddenly it felt like we had more control and power, more like Spider-Man. From there we considered building a 3D platformer, or a racing game, but we settled on the arena shooter because swinging through explosions and plunging down on enemies while shooting them was just ridiculously fun!”
Swarm is currently slated for a Summer 2020 release supporting Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift and SteamVR compatible headsets and it’ll feature cross-buy support on the Oculus Store. As further updates for Swarm are revealed VRFocus will keep you updated.
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