VR Developers Fended For Themselves At Gamescom
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Gamecom Leaves VR Developers To Fend For Themselves

Title: Gamescom 2023: The Changing Landscape of VR Presence

Introduction:

As Gamescom 2023 unfolded, VR enthusiasts eagerly anticipated a showcase of cutting-edge experiences and groundbreaking advancements. However, the event revealed a shift in the VR landscape, with a notable absence of major industry players in the public halls. This vacuum provided smaller studios and developers an opportunity to shine, showcasing their passion, creativity, and exciting new projects. Let’s delve into the highlights of Gamescom and explore the evolving VR scene.

Polyarc & Fast Travel Games: Pushing Boundaries in VR Design

Established VR studios like Polyarc and Fast Travel Games stood out as pioneers in their field. Leveraging their experience and expertise, both studios demonstrated their commitment to creating valuable VR experiences. Polyarc’s Glassbreakers combined the tabletop concept of Resolution Games’ Demeo with the enchanting world of Moss, offering a competitive MOBA-style game with stunning visuals. Fast Travel Games showcased Vampire: The Masquerade – Justice, a stealth-action game with a vampire twist, and Mannequin, a unique multiplayer VR experience that reimagines Prop Hunt with motion controls.

Skydance, nDreams, Soul Assembly & Toast Interactive: Innovators in the VR Space

Gamescom 2023 brought forth exciting offerings from other notable VR developers. nDreams impressed with their Power Wash Simulator VR, providing calming and meditative power-washing experiences, albeit with slight performance concerns. Teaming up with Sony Pictures Virtual Reality, nDreams also presented Ghostbusters: Rise of the Ghost Lord, a solid cooperative multiplayer game with a foundation in the beloved Ghostbusters franchise. Meanwhile, Soul Assembly showcased a mixed reality game mode for Drop Dead: The Cabin, adding a fresh twist to the previously released VR horror game. Skydance Interactive put forth Arashi: Castles of Sin – Final Cut, a visually upgraded stealth-action experience that aims to captivate audiences on Quest, PC VR, and PSVR 2. Australian studio Toast Interactive ventured beyond Richie’s Plank Experience with Max Mustard, a charming Moss and Astro Bot-inspired platformer.

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Owlchemy Labs & Niantic: A Hidden VR Presence

While large players were notably absent in the public halls, Owlchemy Labs and Niantic managed to carve out a space for themselves. Owlchemy Labs showcased a thought-provoking proof-of-concept hand tracking experience, providing a glimpse into the studio’s future projects. Although lacking specifics, it piqued interest among VR enthusiasts. Niantic, known for their Pokemon Go-inspired AR experiences, presented Monster Hunter Now. While the demo lacked AR functionality, Niantic assured fans that it would be incorporated in the final release, highlighting their commitment to emerging mixed reality devices and AR glasses.

Indie Gems & Upcoming Releases

Gamescom 2023 also featured a range of promising indie titles and upcoming releases. MyDearest’s Brazen Blaze offered a melee-focused multiplayer experience, while NoxNoctis presented Ovrdark, a Resident Evil-inspired horror game coming to PSVR 2 and PC VR. Pixelity unveiled Teahouse of Souls, a character-driven experience that delves into intriguing afterlife narratives. Finally, Patient 8 Games, known for their Return to Rapture mod for Half-Life: Alyx, showcased their upcoming horror game, Memoreum, discussing its unique features and gameplay mechanics.

Conclusion:

Gamescom 2023 demonstrated a changing landscape in the VR industry, with major players noticeably absent from the public halls. However, this allowed smaller studios and developers to shine, showcasing their passion and creativity through a variety of exciting VR experiences. From renowned studios like Polyarc and Fast Travel Games to innovative developers like nDreams and Toast Interactive, Gamescom 2023 provided a glimpse into the future of VR gaming. As the industry continues to evolve, VR enthusiasts can look forward to a diverse array of immersive and captivating experiences, paving the way for VR’s biggest days.

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Written by Colin Cassidy

A game developer turned writer, Colin insights into the world of indie game creation have inspired many. His memoir, "Code to Canvas", recounts his journey from coding to storytelling.

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