In what to me seems to be a new way of approaching Early Access games, independent virtual reality development studio Xreal Games made an official announcement today that their first VR FPS game, A-Tech Cybernetic, is now available on Steam as an Early Access title. Although the game has been out as an Early Access title since March, the developers decided to silently gather feedback from a dedicated early adopter fanbase before presenting their game to the worldwide gaming community. Good thing they did, as that is how a game that originally started out as a VR wave shooter also got a separate story mode this fall. I have long viewed the Early Access model to be a boon to small, independent developers and studios who may have difficulty in finding enough beta testers to really find everything that needs to be found. The "silent" early access used by Xreal is a clever way of not finding out too much too soon.
The game is built exclusively for VR as a first-person sci-fi shooter where you freely explore a futuristic company complex while fighting off a mutant invasion, handle weapons with real-life movements, and use superhuman powers to survive. The game quite uniquely features both a Story Mode and a Swarm Mode for players to dive into. Personally, I'm not keen on swarms in room scale VR where they can get behind you - that really adds to the stress levels!
Dániel Harsányi, CEO at Xreal Games, confirmed my intuitions: “We wanted to see first if we were indeed on the right track with our game. As the VR gaming scene is quite new, there are no working patterns that has [sic] stood the test of time and it is also changing rapidly: just a year ago exploring a highly detailed, interactive environment was basically enough for many players as VR was still a new thing. Today it’s different, VR is getting closer to the classic PC games market considering players’ demands. That is why we wanted to explore their needs and find out what they expect from a good VR game. That’s how our story mode got into the game."
We will be taking a look at this once a preview version becomes available, but the news for a non-Swarm guy is a tad disheartening: Currently there are four Swarm maps and one Story Chapter available in the Early Access version, with Chapter 2 expected to be released very soon.
Ugh. Swarms. I don't even like the sound of the word.