VR is in a weird place at the moment. Despite the pandemic forcing more people to turn to digital escapism than ever before, as Kevin Roose put in the New York Times – ‘it still seems far from mainstream technology.’ With publishers and developers trying to muscle into the space for over two decades, VR still doesn’t have a monster hit on the scale of a franchise like Call of Duty with which to stake its claim on mainstream recognisability. The closest it’s come so far is Beat Saber, a VR rhythm game that’s shifted 4 million copies since launch in 2018 developed by Czech studio Beat Games. Announced last week with the release of the teaser trailer embedded below, another Czech studio, Immersive Division, is taking a shot at stealing Beat Saber’s crown atop the VR charts with a shooter called BlockStar VR.
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Already christened by The Games Cabin as ‘Beat Saber with guns’, BlockStarVR drops players into a gameshow hosted on a space station orbiting Mars. The premise? You need to survive an onslaught of block based shooting galleries with a wide variety of weapons in order to survive the challenges and progress to the next stage of the competition. The prize? ‘one million transgalactic yen’ apparently. A place on top of the global leaderboards that Immersive Division have planned sounds much more interesting to us.
The shooting mechanics are, clearly, going to be make or break here and Immersive Division know it, promising a wide variety of weapons with a wide variety of applications. ‘Unlock a varied arsenal as you progress, from shotguns to beam guns, to shields and other more exotic weapons including laser, plasma and freezer weapons. But shoot too much and your guns may overheat, shoot too little and the cubes will get you! Choose your bonuses carefully as you progress – they’re game winners as well as life savers.’
The press release accompanying the trailer also spoke to replayability being something that the devs are focused on delivering. ‘Unlock various extra challenges as you progress that you can play separately from the main campaign. These unique single missions were designed to be played in a particular way with a particular set of weapons and bonuses.’ Given the extra price of entry for a VR headset on top of other hardware and its great to hear that Immersive Division are committed to doubling down and increasing the value proposition of BlockStarVR as a product.
With a Q2 launch planned and a teaser trailer out in the open its not unlikely that a gameplay trailer isn’t too far away. There isn’t much else to go on at the moment, but we can’t wait to see a player in action busting some blocks to see if BlockStarVR’s promising concept lives up to its execution.