Epic Games is announcing a zany robot-shooting game called Robo Recall as a free exclusive game for the Oculus Touch controllers and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
Raleigh, N.C.-based Epic Games made the announcement on stage during the Oculus Connect keynote speech in San Jose, Calif. The title is meant to stoke the market for VR games, which are expected to see good growth in the coming years. Market researcher Juniper Research estimates that VR hardware will grow to $50 billion by 2021.
I saw a demo yesterday on the Oculus Rift with the new Oculus Touch Controllers. The game has a realistically rendered office, built with the visual power in Unreal Engine 4. In the office, you quickly learn how to move around. As with the Bullet Train demo from Epic last year, you don’t move around using analog sticks because of the risk of getting motion sickness. Instead, you teleport from spot to spot. The game is clearly a showpiece that illustrates the power of the 3D graphics produced with UE4.
Once you have the hang of movement, you can then move into the street and learn how to shoot or grab robots and tear their limbs off. Then you have to go about shooting rogue robots that have to be recalled. A funny computerized narrator — akin to GLaDOS in Valve’s Portal games — adds some levity to the heavy-duty combat. The quality of the VR experience is one of the best I’ve seen.
When I was out on a mission to hunt down robots, I ran into spider-like robots first. I shot them and then put my guns down at my side to reload. I had to do this quite frequently as the robots came at me from all directions. Then some humanoid robots joined the fray and I had to teleport around to avoid getting caught. I had to constantly reload my guns, and sometimes I raised my hands only to find that I had dropped the guns on the ground. At one point, a big mech came after me and I had to hop on top and take it over. Then I could really spray the destruction around with the mech’s laser.
The experience is fast, as the game runs at 90 frames per second, as required for VR. The pace is fast, and I was all sweaty after I finished playing.
You’ll be able to customize and unlock weapons. You get more points and rise in the leaderboard rankings if you use creative combat tactics to mow down the robots. The action goes into slow motion when the robots shoot at you. If you’re quick enough, you can grab the bullets and send them back at the robot that fired them.
Epic said it will make the game available for free on the Rift/Touch in early 2017.