Of all the game franchises that are currently active, few take place in worlds that feel as appropriate for VR experiences as Deus Ex. The latest entry, Mankind Divided, released in 2016 for PC, Xbox One, and PS4 platforms without VR support and takes place in a dystopian cyberpunk version of the year 2029. Players take on the role of Adam Jensen, an augmented human with cybernetic powers.
Although none of the games in the franchise have supported official VR integration, Square Enix and Eidos today quietly and surprisingly released a tiny, free VR Experience for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on Steam. It only features a handful of environments, but you can freely move around and explore them, taking it a step above passive VR experiences that don’t allow you to explore anything at all.
The Deus Ex: Mankind Divided VR Experience supports both gamepad and motion controller inputs. I tried it with an Xbox One gamepad and the Vive’s wands. For the gamepad, I could move with the left thumbstick using full locomotion (not teleporting) as well as rotate my view with the right stick, or use the bumpers to snap rotate in predefined degrees in either direction laterally. I could also recenter the camera by pressing Y. Each room has a point you touch to advance to the next area and a point you touch to quit.
Similarly, the wands allowed full locomotion with the left touch pad, smooth rotation with the right touchpad, snap rotation with each wand’s triggers, and recentering with the right menu button. So while you can technically control yourself with the Vive wands, they’re not actually displayed in the world and you can’t interact with anything.
That all sounds like pretty basic stuff, but it is particularly interesting that they opted for full locomotion instead of teleportation, which seemed to be the prevailing default control scheme for these sorts of casual exploration VR experiences.
In the experience there are currently four environments to explore, including the city of Dubai. There isn’t much to it, it is not interactive, and it’s a far cry from being a real game, but it is easily one of the most visually impressive VR tour modes we’ve seen thus far. If this is a sample of what Square Enix and Eidos are capable of doing in VR, then we hope to see them create something fully immersive and playable next.
You can download the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided VR Experience for free on Steam right here. It supports Rift, Vive, and OSVR headsets. Even if you’re not a fan, it’s worth checking out for free just to see the gorgeous environments on display.
Update: When asked on Twitter about bringing this experience to PS VR, the official Deus Ex Twitter account stated that there are currently no plans for that platform:
@domipok There are no plans for a PSVR version at the moment, sorry!
— Deus Ex (@DeusEx) January 24, 2017