When VR headsets first came into the public eye a few years ago, one of my first thoughts was how great it would be to play something with a bunch of other people in the same room. Put one person in VR wearing the headset and have everyone else doing something entirely different. Games like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes prove how great of a concept it is for VR and console games like Evolve and even Nintendo Land show there’s a market for those types of experiences. That’s why Ruckus Ridge, an upcoming VR party game from ForeignVR aims to be the game you want to show all of your friends when they come over to check out your fancy new Oculus Rift or HTC Vive in a few weeks.
In Ruckus Ridge, one players is wearing the HMD while up to three others are looking at the monitor or TV. “In the tournament mode of Ruckus Ridge, players battle it out a series of 1 vs. 3 style mini-games and score points by winning the games,” explains Sacha Reihani, one-third of ForeignVR, which is also comprised of Jacob Haigh and Thomas Angelopoulos. “The player with the most points at the end of the tournament takes the victory.”
Each minigame within the tournament is structured to be a self-contained experience, although they all follow a common theme: it’s 1 vs. 3. Everyone outside of the headset is working against whoever is inside the headset. Objectives vary from trying to sneak up on the HMD-wearing player or collecting coins that are scattered around, all the way to playing hot potato with a bomb before a timer expires.
“Couch players cooperate or compete to achieve victory, and the dynamic between couch players and VR players allows for different strategic possibilities,” said Reihani. “In every game, the VR player is placed directly in the environment [in first-person] and the couch players use the TV/computer for a top-down perspective of the action.”
In this way, it’s reminiscent of some of the minigames found in the Nintendo Wii U exclusive, Nintendo Land. The Mario Party series is also well-known for employing these types of mismatched mechanics. This tactic – dividing players and giving them different features and objectives in the same play space – is known as asynchronous multiplayer.
Since similar games exist on non-VR platforms, why’d they opt for making Ruckus Ridge with VR in mind? “Our project specifically takes advantage of the fact that players are surrounding you in the virtual space as a core part of the gaming mechanism,” said Reihani. “The sensation of the virtual world surrounding you is something you wouldn’t get on a Wii U or FPS games on console or PC. In our game, you get to actually feel the sensation of people creeping up behind you.”
But don’t worry, it’s far less terrifying than it sounds with how bright and colorful and hilarious it looks.
Ruckus Ridge is currently slated for a Q1 2016 release on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive with 6 different play zones, a handful of mini games, the aforementioned tournament mode, and a freeplay mode.
When asked whether it would be coming to PlayStation VR, the team was inconclusive: “PSVR hasn’t approached us and lately we’ve had our hands full with Vive and Oculus. We may reach out to them to gauge interest but in the meantime we’re just going to focus on getting the best Oculus/VIVE game out there and if we hit our targets for this game, we’d look into porting.”