Arktika.1 is easily my most anticipated Oculus Rift exclusive. In fact, if you look at our Top 20 Most Wanted Oculus Rift games ranking, you'll see that Arktika.1 is perched at the No.1 spot. No single game for the Rift is more anticipated. (Remember, Fallout 4 VR is technically a Vive game) I can't wait to get my hands on this graphical stunner. Luckily, my wait is much shorter than I would have imagined. Oculus today announced that Arktika.1 is currently scheduled for an October 10th arrival! Now, before we get too excited, the date isn't absolutely set in stone. The game is described as being "expected to be made available" on October 10th. VR games tend to come in real hot. We normally don't get release dates too far out in advance. We just have to hope the game stays on schedule. To think this incredibly interesting game is less than 30 days away, is tremendously exciting!
Remember, this game is coming to us courtesy of 4A Games. We're talking about the makers of the incredibly immersive Metro series. These guys have done a tremendous job of providing immersion and atmosphere on two dimensional screens, and now they have a 360 degree canvas to work with. I can only imagine how impressed I'll be, the first time I start looking around the breathtaking environments, noticing all the beautiful textures and details. I want to be totally immersed in fantastical worlds and situations, and I have a feeling that 4A games is going to deliver something very powerful.
Of course, there are plenty of pundits that will immediately write this game off, because of it's node-based locomotion system. I have to be completely honest, and admit that when I first heard about the "node" movement system, I was disappointed as well. One thing we need to remember however, is that many of these games began the meat of their development, in a completely different climate. In the early days, Oculus was mostly focused on front facing entertainment experiences, and roomscale was considered "experimental". Oculus has since softened that stance, and we are seeing more roomscale games coming to the platform all the time. In fact, a very popular Steam game called "GORN", pretty much demands roomscale to be enjoyable. If Oculus and 4A Games had a crystal ball, and could predict the future, then sure, they would have opted for a different locomotion method.
Another thing to consider, is the fact that Oculus probably wanted to have at least one individual game, that could show just what is possible when a high-end developer focuses on making a graphical Tour-De-Force, with this exciting new medium. A node-based movement system allows 4A Games to really craft the experience for maximum audio/visual impact. They know where the player will be located, and mostly where the player will be focusing their attention. Go anywhere, at any time games, don't enjoy this same luxury. Archangel from Skydance Interactive showed that an on-rails VR experience can allow a developer to really pour on the special effects and graphical touches. While not actually on-rails, a node-based system, could allow a savvy developer like 4A to really flex their creative muscles.
I'll tell you what. I'm still somewhat in shock that I'm going to be playing this banger in less than 30 days! The VR gaming industry may have gotten off to a relatively slow start, but it really seems like we're starting to turn a corner now. So many more consumers are starting to take notice, and seriously consider picking up a headset. The recent price drops, along with the upcoming arrival of the Windows Mixed-Reality headsets bodes well for the industry at large. Quality games like Arktika.1 certainly aren't hurting the cause. Obviously, we have to wait till we actually get our hands on the game before we know how good it ultimately is, but let's just say we're a bit on the hyped side for this one!