Most exciting upcoming VR games for 2020

We take a look at some of the most interesting and exciting upcoming VR releases for later this year. ACF


Last updated on March 23rd, 2020

Did you recently get yourself a VR headset? Or are you looking at what games are coming up for VR whilst you weight up the decision to buy a VR headset? If so you may be interested to take a look through this list of our most anticipated titles coming to VR throughout the rest of the year.

Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond

Release Date: 2020
Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift

Bit of history to this one, and I’m not just talking about the World War 2 setting. Players of a certain maturity may remember the classic Medal of Honor games starting back at the turn of the millennium. Steven Spielberg was attached as a producer on the first three games, and they managed to pair explosive shooter action with moments of sombre reflection into one tight package. Regarded by many as the highpoint in the series, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault famously featured the storming of Omaha Beach, in a scene reminiscent of Saving Private Ryan’s opening. 

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault was the first game Vince Zampella and Jason West would work on together, before forming a new studio under Activision, named Infinity Ward, and pushing the formula they established in Allied Assault even further with the Call of Duty games. They worked on the COD games for years, achieving huge success with Modern Warfare 2, before having a very public falling out with COD publisher Activision, and leaving to form a new studio, Respawn.

Since they formed, Respawn has put out a couple of Titanfall games, Apex Legends, and Jedi: Fallen Order. They started off as an independent studio, but they were bought by EA in 2017, and it would seem that as part of that acquisition, they’ve been given the keys to the EA vault, and are dusting off the old Medal of Honor series (which hasn’t seen a new release since 2012), and it’s not just for a new shooter, but for a VR shooter.

Hard to gauge exactly the tone they’re going for in this game just based on the trailer. Clearly there’s somewhat of a sense of humour, throwing a frying pan at a Nazi certainly suggests a degree of levity, but they’re also playing up the “honor the memory of fallen soldiers” angle, and seem to be putting some effort into authenticity. 

It looks like players will be climbing, catching and throwing grenades, playing piano, and of course shooting their way across a variety of locations all set during WW2 conflict. Certainly one to watch out for.

 

The Room VR: A Dark Matter

Release date: 26 Mar, 2020
Supported Headsets: Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality

The Room series started off on mobile, and at the time it was a high watermark for intricate detail on the platform, letting players interact with beautifully crafted objects, locations and puzzles, as they look for hidden clues and secret mechanisms, and figure out the story behind them.

This shift to VR makes total sense, as it’s the perfect medium for showcasing Fireproof Games’ knack for building tight environments filled with thoughtfully placed and designed objects. This is a brand new story, built from the ground up specifically for VR.

A Dark Matter lets you get hands on with various different archaeological finds, uncovered in the early 1900s, and try to untangle the mysterious disappearance of the famous Egyptologist responsible for digging them up.

SoundSelf

Release Date: Spring 2020
Supported Headsets: Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

This has been in the works for many years, I played a very early build at GameCity festival back in 2013, and even in that prototype form on an early Oculus DevKit, it was a captivating experience.

It’s less of a traditional game, more of a meditation tool. SoundSelf works by feeding your voice from a microphone input into a visual synth and a reverberating audio processor. It’s hard to fully understand how it works, but essentially you make a sound, and then get audio and visual feedback that amplifies and feeds back your voice to you, and you try to harmonise with the game. It’s kind of trippy, and easy to get lost in.

It’s something that anyone can give a try, since the controls are as simple as just using your voice, and rather than try to create a virtual space for transporting you to different locations, or to simulate high octane action, it’s more of a meditative and isolating experience. I found myself chanting all sorts of sounds, relaxing with the psychedelic visuals, and completely shutting out the outside world. It’s a bizarre experience, and one that I think plenty of people will be fascinated by when it finally releases later this year.

The Walking Dead Onslaught

Release Date: 2020
Supported Headsets: Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift

We’ve seen all sorts of different takes on The Walking Dead since the original comic. Of course there’s the long running AMC TV series, Telltale’s now concluded episodic adventure game series, and various different mobile games, but one that really stood out earlier this year was The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, a VR survival game that put you right in the thick of a zombie survival scenario. It was well received by reviewers and players alike when it released back in January, and people looking for more VR action in post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead can now also look forward to The Walking Dead Onslaught.

Developer Survios are behind this new take, which is based specifically on the AMC show, rather than the original comic which Saints & Sinners was based on. The gameplay they’ve shown so far looks a little rough around the edges, and the game has been delayed from its original 2019 release date, so hopefully it will be a bit more polished when it is finally ready for release.

The big thing that stands out from the footage they have shown so far is the melee kill system, where when zombies get in your face, you can grab them by the neck, and shove a blade right through their skull. Looks like a pretty satisfying method for dispatching the undead. They’re promising “precise slicing”, so you can cut reanimated corpses into pieces at your leisure.

Half-Life: Alyx

Release Date: 23 Mar, 2020
Supported Headsets: Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows Mixed Reality

This is the big one. Many of us have been waiting for the Half-Life series to return since way back in 2007, when Half-Life Episode 2 released, but we never suspected it would be as a VR game. This isn’t Half-Life 3 though, it’s being billed as more of a side-story, fleshing out some of the events prior to Half-Life 2, told from the perspective of resistance fighter Alyx. Set before Alyx joined Gordon Freeman’s quest to deal with the outcome of an oppressive alien invasion in Half-Life 2, we’ll be participating in the founding of the human resistance, and taking the fight to the Combine forces.

Valve have obviously been a key player in the wave of VR technology that’s proliferated in recent years, with their Steam VR development platform aiding developers to implement support for a variety of VR headsets, their cutting edge (and in very limited supply) VR headset the Valve Index is pushing the high end VR experience further than any other currently commercially available headsets, and it feels like Half-Life Alyx is the next step on their path to driving customers towards VR experiences. There’s loads of great VR on Steam right now, but for many Alyx will be the first big showpiece VR game that is a must play. Much like Valve broke new ground in first person immersion and storytelling with the original Half-Life, and how Half-Life 2 pushed forward simulated physics in gameplay, players are hoping Half-Life Alyx will be the next big leap for VR gaming.

Footage they’ve shown so far looks really impressive, and shows off a host of smart uses of VR. There’s intricate interaction with environmental objects, where you’ll have to dig around in lockers for useful items, pick up all sorts of physical objects to use as makeshift shields, and pluck projectiles like grenades out of the air mid-flight. Using the gravity glove, prototype technology that will ultimately become the basis for the iconic Half-Life 2 gravity gun, you can pull items towards your hands to grab onto them. I can’t wait to see what different types of interactions will be supported.

Valve have never disappointed with any of their landmark first person games, whether it was the innovative experimental puzzle mechanics in the Portal series, coop and asymmetric multiplayer in Left 4 Dead, precise and brutally fast team based multiplayer in CounterStrike, or all the hats in Team Fortress. Fingers crossed that Half-Life Alyx hits the mark, and raises the bar for immersive first person VR games, and lives up to that legacy.

Will you be playing any of these games when they come out later this year? Are there any other upcoming VR titles you are looking forward to? Are there any genres or series that you’re hoping could find a home on VR? Let us know.

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