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After The Fall by Vertigo Games is Delayed Again

Easily one of our most anticipated VR releases of the year, After The Fall by Vertigo Games has been delayed. Again. Originally the title was to launch in the holiday season of 2020. However, it was pushed back into early to mid 2021. In March of this year, they announced it would be arriving on major VR platforms sometime this Summer, They also officially confirmed an Oculus Quest version. Development on the game has apparently hit another snag, and Vertigo is making the wise decision to hold off to make sure the project will be ready for prime-time.

While this certainly has to be disappointing news for VR fans everywhere, we all know the drill. You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Recovering from a bad launch is never easy. There's plenty of VR games that started off with a rocky debut, yet later improved by leaps and bounds, but by that time the VR community had mostly moved on. Vertigo Games cannot afford a scenario like this for such a prominent release in their portfolio. After The Fall could ultimately represent a turning point for the company. It could be a chance for Vertigo to firmly establish themselves as a heavy hitter in this nascent industry. One of the early leaders in the space. Or it could signify that Vertigo still has a long ways to go in their journey to greatness.

Remember, back in 2016, nobody really knew who Vertigo Games was. VR gamers had certainly seen the HTC Vive and Steam VR launch trailers that featured a few seconds of footage from a promising zombie game. The trailer used mixed-reality capture, to show just how intense the action might feel for the end user. It was called Arizona Sunshine, and it fully lived up to the name. Giving players a chance to participate in a zombie apocalypse that would feature bright, sunlit scenarios in addition to darker, spookier confines. The game launched in early December of 2016, and was easily one of the biggest titles to arrive for Virtual Reality in that crucial first year. In fact, if you asked many VR gamers what their VR game of the year was for 2016, they'd tell you Arizona Sunshine.

Since the December 2016 launch of Arizona Sunshine, it can be debated just how well Vertigo Games has performed in this space. They delivered a number of DLC add-ons for the game over the years. Dead Man DLC arrived in May of 2018 to mostly positive reviews. In late 2019, The Damned DLC received a somewhat mixed reception. Players began to openly wonder if the Arizona Sunshine formula was behind the times. The VR gaming industry had come a long way since 2016, but the gameplay featured in The Damned DLC seemed to harken back to an earlier era. When VR gaming was still trying to find it's footing. In Vertigo Games defense, we have to remember that the DLC needs to run on the backbone of the original game engine. Changing up the gameplay design and flow would be quite difficult and who's to say that some players would complain that they strayed too far?

Vertigo Games was also busy during these in-between years with handling publishing duties for a number of smaller developers. In late 2017, they combined with Wolfdog Interactive to deliver Skyworld. Real-Time Strategy games and virtual reality go together like peas and carrots and Skyworld is considered a real standout in this department. In early 2019, they combined with Innerspace VR, to deliver one of Virtual Reality's preeminent titles. A Fisherman's Tale. The game is a fan favorite in the VR community and has won numerous awards and achievements. More recently, they handled publishing duties for Traffic Jams in collaboration with Little Chicken Game Company.

In addition to branching out as a full-fledged publisher, Vertigo Games was also busy porting their first big VR hit to other platforms. Arizona Sunshine was brought over to PlayStation VR on July 4th 2017. Unfortunately, the title wasn't very well received on Sony's VR hardware. At least initially. All PlayStation VR games are required to work with a base-level PlayStation 4 console, which is significantly underpowered compared to PC gaming rigs. This makes porting a real challenge. The good news, is that Vertigo has continued to patch the PSVR release, improving it somewhat over the years. Then in late 2019, Vertigo Games delivered Arizona Sunshine to the Oculus Quest. This was an even more challenging scenario. The Oculus Quest is markedly less powerful than a PlayStation 4, so just imagine how much the game needed to be pared back. Luckily, Vertigo did pretty well with this port, all things considered. Of course, with the recent arrival of the Oculus Quest 2, Vertigo took advantage of the improvements to the Quest hardware to fine tune the Quest 2 version even further.

In fact, if we consider the importance of the Oculus Quest market in 2021 for developers and publishers, one can make a case that this most recent delay is probably related to Quest development. Oftentimes, the success of the Quest version will make or break a publishers bottom line. It's absolutely crucial that the Quest versions are "solid" if not spectacular. One might speculate that porting over After The Fall to the original Quest, is proving to be a bigger headache than first anticipated. Vertigo Games did mention in this most recent delay that the Quest versions could be delayed into early 2022.

Ultimately, the bottom line is that we need to respect this decision by Vertigo Games to delay their new flagship title. We're hungry to play the game, but we also know how incredibly important this launch will be for their future. We wish them all the best as they continue to polish the game up into a well oiled machine. We'll be certain to keep you posted on any new developments relating to it's impending arrival later this year.

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