Insomniac Games, known for its Ratchet & Clank series as well as the more recent Sunset Overdrive, now has three VR games in development for the Oculus Rift — including one for the Oculus Touch motion controllers coming out this year. Today, Insomniac revealed a launch date for its horror exploration game Edge of Nowhere, which we now know will be released for the Rift on June 6th. Later this year, we'll get two new projects: a third-person brawler called Feral Rites, and a motion-controlled urban fantasy dueling game called The Unspoken.
As much as we've enjoyed Edge of Nowhere in demos, The Unspoken is by far the most interesting part of this lineup. It's one of the first games — especially by an existing major developer — announced for Oculus Touch, the motion controllers that will give the Rift similar capabilities to Valve and HTC's Vive headset. It's also one of the first major efforts at a VR fighting game; while you can play against a computer, it's designed for one-on-one matches. The twist is that instead of boxers or weapons experts, players will all be wizards in what Insomniac refers to as an "urban magic fight club," set in "pocket dimension arenas" in a fantasy-tinged Chicago.
Oculus Touch will let players throw fireballs, draw glyphs, or assemble magical items
And like real wizards (or at least, like wizards in books and movies), players will be physically using their hands to cast spells. These range from the extremely simple, like throwing fireballs, to the complex, like assembling a small effigy to conjure a trash golem. Some will require drawing glyphs in the air with your controllers, a mechanic that's being used in other spell-casting games like Runes: The Forgotten Path. Players can also teleport around the arena to find cover and resources, while anticipating their opponents' moves. The pace is supposed to be "fast but not twitchy," with roughly 25 spells allowing for a variety of play styles.
The Unspoken is listed as coming out this holiday season, at the very end of the window where Oculus is supposed to be releasing its Touch controllers. A few months earlier, in the fall, Insomniac also has the somewhat more traditional Feral Rites. Feral Rites is a third-person game played with a controller, a bit like Edge of Nowhere or Chronos. While we don't know how long it is, it'll be "one of the longer titles on the Oculus platform" — which suggests somewhere at or above Chronos' 12 to 14-hour playtime.
'Zelda' crossed with 'God of War,' apparently
According to Insomniac, Feral Rites is a cross between "Zelda-style exploration and puzzles" and a "savage brawler like God of War." That means (theoretically) that you'll be exploring a jungle island to collect items and solve puzzles, then fighting enemies with long strings of ridiculously over-the-top attacks — including the option to turn into a "beast" with special abilities. The premise sits a little uncomfortably close to some archaic stereotypes of "savage" jungle societies, but we won't see how this plays out in the actual game until this fall.
Insomniac certainly hasn't left the world of flatscreen games. It just released a rebooted version of its classic Ratchet & Clank, and its new game Song of the Deep — a 2D side-scrolling adventure set under the sea — is coming out on July 12th. But it's clearly putting a lot of effort into the new medium of virtual reality. With that comes some uncertainty. We don't know how much The Unspoken, Feral Rites, or even Edge of Nowhere will cost, and many people who ordered a Rift (including some very early preorders) probably won't have it by Edge of Nowhere's launch date. The Touch controllers are an even bigger question mark, since there's no price or launch date yet. Even knowing all this, though, we're willing to put a lot of faith in a concept like "wizard fight club."