I’m a simple man. I love beautiful, cel-shaded worlds, RPGs, and fighting monsters online with friends. Similar in many ways to Sword Art Online, Nostos is all of those and more, in virtual reality, and I’m absolutely foaming at the mouth to see more of this game.
We would really love a true, in-universe VR MMO that follows the plot of the first season of the popular SAO anime, but the prospect of that ever really happening is pretty slim. The only VR game to speak of the series has so far is more of a dating experience and it’s just…not what we want.
So far, all communication we’ve received from NetEase and their PR indicates that despite what it looks like, Nostos is actually not an MMORPG at all, but simply an open-world VR RPG with online elements. For now, your best bet for a VR MMO is still Orbus VR and its forthcoming relaunch.
As you can see in the trailer above, Nostos is absolutely gorgeous. The art style is reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and recent Tales Of games, which is quite the compliment. NetEase is a China-based company, but everything I’m seeing has a distinctly JRPG flair. As I sit here writing this in my Zelda t-shirt, listening to Kingdom Hearts music, looking at my Final Fantasy art book, I can say with complete confidence that I am this game’s target audience based on what I’ve seen so far.
Details are scarce right now, but according to a press release today, NetEase are leveraging Improbable’s SpatialOS simulation technology, the same platform in use for social VR MMO, MetaWorld. In the trailer we can see players climb the environment, chop down trees, build houses, and fight monsters in a pseudo-survival focused open world. Seasons and time of day shifts also seem to play a big role.
While at Gamescom UploadVR’s Editor-in-Chief, Tal Blevins, got to try a brief demo and didn’t get enough time to write a full hands-on report, but did give me some details.
First of all, his demo only featured four total players, but it was a large sandbox as you see in the trailer and images. Even though it looks inspired by a lot of classical JRPGs and anime, the developers are still unclear on if they will include a formal “quest” system or leave it entirely open-ended for player-focused emergent storytelling.
There will be a mixture of modern and fantasy weapons, such as bows and guns, and the art style he says reminded him of Final Fantasy XI Online. He also took note of a clever weapon-holstering system in which you can store weapons along your belt to carry around, which sounds similar to how Stand Out: VR Battle Royale handles storing guns. In his demo they came across a truck similar to the one in the trailer that they were able to get inside of and drive around — he even ran over some other players while doing so.
Performance-wise it’s still very early on in the project’s life cycle so he noticed significant pop-in on objects and textures like grass, which only rendered about 20-feet away at its furthest point.
For more details on Nostos make sure to check out the official website and the game’s Twitter and Facebook. There is no release date yet, but it’s playable already at Gamescom this week.
Let us know what you think down in the comments below!