On day one of E3 I sat down with developer nDreams to learn about and experience their upcoming virtual reality game The Assembly. Described as an adventure style game set in virtual reality, The Assembly has players experience the story from the duo perspectives of a scientist named Cal Pearson and psychologist named Madeleine Stone. The game's setting takes place in an underground bunker in the Nevada desert that happens to be run by the mysterious Assembly organization.
The first level begins with the character of Madeleine strapped into a restraint that functions as a great introduction to virtual reality because of its on-rails gameplay focus. In following levels players are given freedom to move about the underground facility and interact with various objects to complete environmental and contextual puzzles.
One of the particular puzzles included in the hands-on demo focused on a test for players to solve the murder of a mannequin among a table of others after the lights had gone out for a brief second. Upon examining the blades in the back of the mannequin, the player has to utilize objects and clues about the environment to solve who the killer is and his or her motives.
The overall themes in the game revolve around figuring out just what the mysterious Assembly is up to in their underground bunker and solving the mysteries behind their various tests. The virtual reality element perfectly fits the game's premise as The Assembly truly looks and feels like the next generation of adventure games. The ability to simply walk around in an environment and use your head's movement to examine clues is something that non-virtual reality games haven't been able to accomplish.
As the developers described the game, the phrase emotional engagement often came up as with virtual reality you truly feel as if you've become a character in the game world. The simple act of looking down at your character's feet instantly transports you to a time and place in a completely different world. The act of walking up close to a mannequin and than learning your head forward to examine its facial details is simply amazing with the virtual reality element.
I was able to demo the game with a final retail version of the Oculus Rift, which is just one of the platforms the game will launch on as the developers also plan a release for the HTC Vive and Sony's Project Morpheus. The Assembly is planned to be a launch title for all three of those platforms once they announce their launch dates.