Windlands is a unique game amongst virtual reality’s early lineup. Whereas most of these early titles do their best to mitigate movement, speed, and jumping, Windlands dives deeply into all three. For some, this has made Windlands one of the most exhilarating and open-ended VR experiences on the market today, but there are also those that find themselves less exhilarated and more nauseated as they play. Windlands also has a very high degree of difficulty; its platforming features some of the most intense and challenging configurations I’ve seen.
All of these factors have worked together to make Windlands one of the most polarizing and, sadly, overlooked VR games to date. In order to reduce these complaints, Windlands developer Psytec Games, has released a balance patch that will hopefully make the game more accessible to a wider variety of people.
Psytec announced the updated through a Reddit post in which the team stated that,
“After listening very carefully, we know most players find some sections of the game difficult or find the learning curve hard. To remedy this, we are really pleased to introduce the new game modes! Please note, there will be adjustments to your save games, please see “Big Changes” for more information. We also know that some players are unsure what to do in the game, and would like the story to be told clearer. Today, we are really excited to introduce the new story features! Key events in the game now feature full narration and subtitles. All of the narration has been completed, and we would really appreciate your feedback on how you felt when experiencing the story and instructions this way.”
The full list of game changes can be found below:
- Hard mode remains as the original difficulty, your current save games will be set to hard.
- We have added Normal Mode (with extra bushes to avoid parkour, a good example is the top of the Jungle, which can now be completed without using parkour)
- We have added Easy Mode (hooks attach to any material and extra bushes to avoid parkour).
- The end game credits have been improved to change slightly dependent on the difficulty level.
- Challenge levels and playgrounds always follow the Hard ruleset regardless of your selected game difficulty, so world leaderboards are not affected.
- The game now starts with an introduction story scene.
- Image projectors and various key parts of the game now have subtitles and narration to help clarify story, objective and expand knowledge on what to do.
- We have added a new playground map to City, the “City Playground”.
- We have added a new playground map to Sky, the “Sky Playground”.
- We now have 3 Challenge maps and 3 Playgrounds in total, 2 per island in the hub. They can be opened by returning Crystals to the center of the hub.
- Each Challenge map and Playground map now has a Global Leaderboard displayed for Oculus and Steam.
Changes and Fixes
- The respawn button now requires a slightly longer press, so accidentally touching it doesn’t cause a respawn and the associated frustration (especially on the Vive)
- The world content has now been fully optimised so performance should be improved, especially on Sky.
- Tablets no longer appear in the distance when you have already collected them.
- Many many fixes to the world, thank you for all the map feedback, we continue to remove errors, polish areas and implement changes. If you find any map issues please submit them directly to us using the in-game feedback tool.
- Peon is now in the game (classic speedrunner)
- We have decided NOT to include backer hooks as stated in our Indiegogo. In retrospect this is something that should not have been included as they don’t change the game, will only affect a small group of people and are very difficult to implement. Instead we spent the resources to add story elements.
- The standing shadow is now slightly darker.
- Corrupt save games no longer cause the game not to work.
- The default choice on the Load Game screen is now Slot 1
- The respawn messages and delete slot text now contains icons for the buttons.
- We have added another Vive Layout for you to play with, please try it out and share your feedback!
- Oculus Touch Support is now in testing, sorry you can’t have access right now, but be excited, it’s coming!
- Cursors (Receptacles) have been improved to make sure only the correct ones are visible while switching between 3D input and controllers.
- Oculus now has Leaderboard support as well as Steam.
- You can now adjust the angle of the hooks from the VR Options Menu for 3D input.
- We have turned on Single Pass Rendering for VR, this improves VR performance significantly.
The update is free and will happen automatically for current Windlands owners. All in all, these changes seem to address most of the complaints consumers have had with Windlands and will hopefully pave the way for both new customers and jilted veterans to give it another shot.