Insomniac reveals Stormland, a VR game unlike anything we’ve seen before
After teasing it all week, Insomniac has finally revealed a new VR project titled Stormland with a robo-centric trailer that shows off a unique VR experience for the Oculus Rift that’s unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Based on the trailer above, Stormland looks like it combines an intriguing narrative with some of the best and brightest VR concepts of this generation to give players more freedom of movement and control of their VR experience than ever before.
Reportedly, the robot we see in the video above is an android gardener tasked with caring for the alien planet and the diverse flora we see in the video. The enemies androids are a group called The Tempest, and our local robotic gardener will use a diverse set of makeshift weapons and armor to explore an open world and fight back against The Tempest and a number of other challenging guardians across the planet either on your own or with a friend.
Something Old, Something New, Something Better
Beyond the story, Stormland seems to combine multiple successful VR game mechanics to make a more complete gameplay experience than many of the titles we’ve seen in the last several years. The trailer shows off high speed gliding, adaptive climbing, VR shooting mechanics, and several other mechanics that were previously home run swings for games like Crytek’s The Climb, Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight, and the massive number of VR shooters we’ve seen pop up over the last several years.
There’s no doubt that a number of the big games we’ve see in the VR industry come off as veritable VR tech demos that focus on a single core mechanic like time manipulation, shooting, boxing or some other concept that wouldn’t be possible on any other platform. Unspoken, Insomniac’s previous title was particularly focused on motion-based spellcasting but didn’t offer much aside from its core PvP-spellcasting experience. Unspoken was fun, it was interesting, and it was arguably one of the best games on the Rift period, but it still only looked at a narrow band of possibilities due to the limited knowledge of what was possible on the platform.
Games like Stormland and Defector, a VR spy game we recently previewed are examples of what appears to be a second generation of VR game design that focuses on cherry picking the best features from the previous generation of titles to best fit the narrative and gameplay the developers want to create.
For an open world game like Stormland, the ability to glide and scale mountains is a fantastic design choice for traversing a large, diverse world where players will need to cover a lot of ground and seamlessly transition between action and platforming. It’s also a natural fit for a developer like Insomniac that has a long history of taking advantage of both in games like Spyro and Ratchet and Clank.
There’s no doubt that Stormland looks like it has a lot of potential, and if it’s another example of a trend of game design evolution in the VR industry it’s an exciting time to be a VR fan. The idea of more VR games taking the initiative to build full length experiences by pulling from a toolbelt of mechanics that work well on the platform is tantalizing to say the least. Particularly because it means that VR could finally be out of the realm of basic concept design and taking flight as a platform that can produce innovative, quality titles that weave a tapestry from multiple game mechanics rather than relying on a single core idea to move a game forward.
That aside, at this point there’s no word on when we’ll get our hands on Stormland to see just how well it pulls off blurring the lines between VR genres, but we’re sure to learn more in the coming months, and there’s no doubt that Insomniac and Oculus have our attention.