In the middle of HTC’s CES space this year there’s a giant green screen booth. You literally couldn’t miss the thing it was so big. In the center of the booth there are four HTC Vives and four sets of two Hyperkin blasters. Each headset was running its own copy of Arizona Sunshine and the entire arrangement was rigged for four players to simultaneously walk into the booth, put on headsets, and shoot zombies in VR together, side by side, all while being captured and rendered (in real time) to a mixed reality display.
It totally worked and it was absolutely incredible.
We’ve obviously covered a lot of mixed reality stuff and have done plenty of streaming of our own in the past, but this was unique in that it had all four people in the same room together. And to take things even further, I got to do the demo using the Vive Wireless Adapter, while two of my teammates were using backpack PCs. The fourth Vive was wired like normal.
The piece of content we played was a preview of the type of experience Vertigo Games wants to deliver to VR arcades this year via Arizona Sunshine. As an iteration of the existing cooperative wave-based Horde mode, all four of us had to face off against relentless flesh eating zombies that descended on our location.
However, the Canyon map was a bit different than it is in the actual game. Instead of multiple crates and tables to use for cover, there was a large single platform in the middle that everyone could access by turning around. Ammo was also unlimited and scoring seemed a little different, to encourage a different type of arcade-esuqe playstyle.
I was already impressed with the Vive Wireless Adapter from the first demo I tried the previous day, but that was only in DOOM VFR, which is a teleportation-based game that doesn’t really require you to move around too much. With a game like this, where I have no means of locomotion other than physically moving around the actual playspace, it immediately felt more immersive.
Spinning around to find new zombies gnawing at my back didn’t result in a tangled web of wires. Bobbing and weaving to get a better shot from behind cover never ran the risk of getting my arm wrapped up in a cable. I could glance over my shoulder and to the side to see avatars in the same places that my physical co-op CES game buddies were. It was remarkable to see all of these pieces come together so flawlessly.
In the short video clip at the top of this article you can get a brief glimpse of me (in the gray shirt) playing along with three other partners (some from HTC, some from Vertigo Games) as we mow down the zombie hordes. It’s pretty epic.
Let us know what you think down in the comments below!