The Way of Kings: Escape the Shattered Plains is a very short VR experience from Arcturus Studios that’s centered on the first entry in Brandon Sanderson’s sweeping epic fantasy novel series, The Stormlight Archives. Sanderson is three books deep into the world (Oathbringer just released very recently) and this extremely brief experience, for all of its eagerness, is little more than a tech demo.
In a unique turn of events, The Way of Kings VR isn’t based on an existing movie, TV, or video game at all, but is actually created directly from the original book source material itself. You can see some glimpses of gameplay down below:
The Way of Kings VR being short in and of itself isn’t a huge problem, but I’m just not sure anyone other than die-hard Sanderson fans are going to pay for an experience like this. When I first read these books my mind was racing with ideas for movies, TV shows, and video games, but I never once thought that a short, pseudo-marketing demo was the way to go. But maybe this was an experiment with an eye towards a future of more episodic Stormlight Archive content?
We’ve entered a period of VR software creation in which I can only assume most studios are struggling to turn a profit. Small projects like this, The Martian, Spider-Man Homecoming, Justice League, Jumanji, and others are riding on the coattails of brand recognition more than anything in the hopes of raking in enough to recoup investments.
The frustrating thing about The Way of Kings VR is the fact that, despite its brevity, it’s actually well-made for the most part. Character models look good, animations are mostly top-quality, and the moments of action feel about as good as you can expect from modern VR hardware. The visuals are solid and they do a really stellar job of making you feel like you’re right in the middle of a High Storm as its described in the books.
In my 15 minutes with the app I did see a few bugs here and there, but nothing game breaking. It needs a bit more polish overall and should absolutely be a free download instead of paid, but it’s not really a bad VR experience relatively speaking.
For more on The Way of Kings VR, you can check out the official Steam page right here. Let us know what you think of The Way of Kings VR and the book series as a whole down in the comments below!