Have you heard of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, otherwise referred to as PUBG? Of course you have. It’s that one game that millions of people are playing around the world that features a cool looking dude walking away from explosions on its cover. The premise is that 100 players are o na plane and skydive down onto an island that’s slowly shrinking and they’ve got to kill each other, Hunger Games style, until only one person (or one team) remains. Simple, but oh so addictive.
After taking the world by storm this year it’s slowly been expanding and improving to its 1.0 release that just happened this week, but it’s a non-VR only game. We played PUBG in VR a tiny bit via Bigscreen, but that was more of a virtual LAN party setup than actually playing it “in” VR. Now Virtual Battlegrounds, an upcoming VR game from Oneiric Entertainment (Emmerholt), aims to fill that void.
Game modes will for sure include total free-for-all as well as Duos, as explained in a Reddit post. Players will be able to find everything from pills, health packs, gear like helmets and body armor, as well as plenty of guns.
Combat will feel familiar to anyone that’s played Onward, which is often lauded as the gold standard of VR FPS games. The current plan is to have maps that allow for 16 players, which is far fewer than the 100-player matches of PUBG, but there just aren’t enough VR gamers out there yet.
We also sent one of the game’s primary developers from Oneiric, Sean Pinnock, some questions over email as a quick Q&A to discuss the game’s development and inspiration:
UploadVR: What’s the basic premise and concept behind Virtual Battlegrounds?
Sean Pinnock: Virtual Battlegrounds is an open world player vs player survival game with some similarities to other Battle Royales. The island that these combatants battle upon is a post-war torn island loaded with weaponry and defensible structures. After skydiving out of a helicopter several thousands of feet into the air, players will scavenge for weapons, gear, and ride around in an array of vehicles to battle to become the last man standing.
UploadVR: How much of an influence was PUBG on Virtual Battlegrounds?
Sean Pinnock: For me PUBG really changed the way I think about the First-Person Shooter genre. Honestly, I became kind of bored with FPS games in general but PUBG really captured something amazing here. I think the most fun I have had playing games in a long time was when I was playing PUBG with a few friends. You get these serious highs and lows when playing the game because of the build up and craziness of the game. It’s a big inspiration for Virtual Battlegrounds. I think pulling off something similar in VR would be a hell of a lot fun.
UploadVR: What were the biggest challenges with making a Battle Royale game in VR?
Sean Pinnock: Well VR has its own big set of challenges when compared to Non-VR games. And this is especially true for a large open world networked game. Players have high expectations of what the visuals should look like and honestly most VR devs are missing it. I would say that for us the biggest challenge has been nailing down AAA visuals while keeping performance levels high enough for competitive play.
UploadVR: Do you feel like people approach Battle Royale games differently in VR than they do outside of VR? Does the fact that it feels more immersive make people play more cautiously?
Sean Pinnock: Absolutely, I think one of the amazing things about VR in general is how much different we interact with our games and experiences then we do with other digital mediums. Traditionally in an FPS I think that most players run around the world recklessly and hope that their quick reaction times and bunny hopping is going to win them the trade. In VR I can really see a lot of situations where players work their way very cautiously inside of buildings. Maybe throwing objects to make noise and distract a player then duck through a window to catch another player off guard. Not to mention those highs and lows I mentioned earlier are just going to be even bigger in VR. I’m honestly pretty excited myself to get out there and play it once the game goes live.
UploadVR: What types of locomotion do you plan on having?
Sean Pinnock: We will feature a few options for locomotion for the player to use. Trackpad movement based on head direction, trackpad movement based on hand direction(similar to Onward), LOTS of vehicles to ride around on by yourself or with friends, skydiving and we’ve also been throwing around the idea of adding in climbing similar to Climbey in the game. It could make for some interesting play in the cities.
UploadVR: Which platforms will this support initially?
Sean Pinnock: Initially we will support Oculus and Vive. If any other new exciting hardware comes out between now and launch we may support that as well. Also the idea of porting to PSVR in the future is a definite possibility.
UploadVR: Will you release in Early Access first, or a full launch? And what’s the timeframe?
Sean Pinnock: While I like the idea of Early Access I think a lot of players are dissatisfied with it because of what some devs have done with Early Access. It’s really a shame because I think Early Access is a great way to make your game better with the players and that is something I want to do. I don’t know for certain whether we will do Early Access or a full release but either way we plan on improving the game after launch.
Our release date isn’t set in stone as of now, but I can say we are targeting summer 2018. We’re likely going to host an open alpha first sometime in the coming months. We will keep you posted on this of course!
UploadVR: Finally, have you seen Stand Out VR? How does Virtual Battlegrounds compare?
Sean Pinnock: I am impressed with where Stand Out VR is at. I was expecting some other developers to make something to compete with VirtualBattlegrounds but not this soon and not this far along. Not only that but they have a lot of similar features as to what we have, and it looks pretty fun to play. But I think visually we’re leagues ahead of them and our map and game world will be a lot more interesting then there’s. Especially with where Virtual Battlegrounds is at now. It’s improved drastically since I last shared the technical demo in October. But only time will tell which game ends up on top and I wish Raptor Labs the best of luck.
How does that sound to you? Are you a PUBG fan? Let us know what you think of Virtual Battlegrounds so far down in the comments below!