Aldin Dynamics is planning a major expansion to Waltz of the Wizard on Steam and Quest that’ll add “Natural Magic” alongside large new areas.
The update is planned for early 2021 and Aldin is likely to raise the price for the game with release. So if you have a PC VR headset or a Quest and don’t have Waltz of the Wizard yet, now might be a good time to pick up the groundbreaking title so you get the Natural Magic update when it arrives.
Aldin Dynamics was founded in 2013 and Waltz has been the studio’s flagship game since shipping it in 2016 as an early example of room-scale PC VR with tracked motion controllers. The developers consistently expand and update it, with the extended edition available on Steam and Quest version being one of the few titles with controller-free hand tracking supported throughout. If you haven’t tried it already, Waltz of the Wizard’s finger-based slingshot is a must see on Quest.
The Natural Magic expansion is described as Aldin’s first full expansion for Waltz of the Wizard with new forms of magic for users to control and new places to see. In particular, the new castle courtyard is triple the size of the main room from Waltz of the Wizard while still being jam-packed with interactivity throughout. There’s also a procedurally generated labyrinth filled with traps as well as “easter eggs and hand-sculpted events to add variety to the experience,” according to Aldin CEO Hrafn Thorisson.
The new magic system is pitched as a natural force in Aldin’s virtual world that’s connected to other forces like gravity and wind. “Your natural gestures control those energies, making magic feel and work more as if it’s real. Only the most skillful wizards will fully unleash their mystical powers,” the studio explains.
The expansion will also add challenges and achievements while featuring “improved visual fidelity on Oculus Quest 2.” There’s an official Aldin Discord group where you can join for a chance to be a part of the invite-only beta later this year.
“Visit the new castle courtyard and find the mysterious ritual circle to travel to new worlds – starting with the labyrinth,” the studio teases. “Adventurous wizards will explore its depths to recover forbidden knowledge and artifacts of the Observers, a race of interdimensional beings that have learned to harness magical energies to power strange gadgets and modify the fabric of space and time.”
Thorisson says they are exploring eye tracking and multi-user modes that might come into play eventually, depending on how things work out with the Natural Magic expansion. While the studio started its journey with Waltz of the Wizard on PC VR, Aldin seems to be experimenting the most — and finding very good sales — on Oculus Quest. So I asked Thorisson how he thinks the PC VR market stands relative to Quest.
“We think it’s very important to have SteamVR as an open alternative in the industry…we were one of the first roomscale developers, with one of the broadest features at launch for Index controllers and one of few with optimizations for 144hz,” Thorisson explained in an email. “That said, we think Quest is offering features that are vital for bringing VR to broader audiences and for what we are trying to accomplish. Standalone functionality, fully articulated handtracking and a more user-friendly consumer experience is something we continue to urge our friends at Valve and SteamVR partners to pursue.”