If you are among those who really love zombie games and first-person shooters, I'm sure you'll be excited to hear about PlaySide VR's upcoming VR title, ZR: Zombie Riot.
Zombie Riot is a fast-paced first-person zombie survival game, developed from the ground up for virtual reality and takes full use of Oculus Touch controllers. The game is being developed by some Electronic Arts veterans who formed a new company called PlaySide VR (December 2011). The developers have experience in creating horror games as they were a part of EA's Dead Space game development.
This is not just a conventional zombie-themed first-person shooter. PlaySide has developed this game with some really cool features. One of these features is a really unique crafting system, which allows players to craft new weapons by combining numerous household objects which are scattered across the map. For example, players will be able to attach a knife to a rifle to make it even more deadly in close range or transform a teddy bear toy into an explosive and deadly firebomb. You can grab items like a Tennis racket or a pan and use them as CQB weapons. The maps are populated with a large variation of objects, which almost all can be used either for crafting or as weapons. If the objects can fit in your hand, it can be used as a weapon (at least that what the Devs say in the press release). Of course, you can also find many common FPS weapons that you are already familiar with from other games, including assault rifles, pistols, dual pistols, sniper rifles, shotguns, etc.
This mechanics is very different than other crafting systems we've seen in FPS game, where you needed to use some type of crafting instrument, and it was usually available between levels, not during the match. In ZR: Zombie Riot the crafting happens in real-time during the match, and players are actually encouraged to try to combine objects and see what works best for them during the match.
In the game, you fight against and survive a wave of zombies. There are many other zombie shooters out there, some of the most mentionable ones are Arizona Sunshine, Brookhaven Experiment, Dying Light, Call of Duty: Black Ops III (the Zombie mode), DayZ, Left 4 Dead 2, Dead Rising 3, and others. Although ZR: Zombie Riot looks quite similar to other zombie FPS titles, it is formulated with new ingredients, like making it playable in VR with full motion-controller support, a new crafting system, high interactivity with almost any object in the environment and a beautiful cartoon-style visuals.
Speaking of which, ZR: Zombie Riot doesn't feature realistic graphics, but rather very vivid cartoon-ish visuals somewhat similar to Team Fortress 2 and The Respawnables. The graphics look really polished and smooth. The objects in the maps and the weapons have a more rounded design. I also really liked the proper use of lighting to produce a dramatic and horrific atmosphere, which is a perfect fit for a zombie apocalypse game. The maps that we've seen in the trailer is taken place at nighttime, but this allows the developer to use some very vivid glowing effects, as well as use volumetric lighting and some other visually impressive lighting effects. Judging by the trailer and the available in-game screenshots, it seems that it's easy to detect zombies due to their glowing yellowish eyes, and when you hit a zombie, you can see a glowing yellowish splash of blood coming out of their body - looks pretty awesome!
As I mentioned earlier, the game was developed from the ground up for room-scale virtual reality. Being able to use motion controllers makes all the difference in the world when playing a first-person shooter. Reloading, aiming, shooting and interacting with objects in the scene - all is much more intuitive, immersive and above all, more fun to do in VR.
ZR: Zombie Riot was developed using Unity game engine. In their official website, PlaySide VR mentioned Oculus Rift controllers, but it isn't mentioned whether this game will be compatible with other headsets and motion controllers. I'll update this page when more information is available.
I am very impressed by what I've seen so far. I like Zombie Riot gameplay mechanics, the fact that it was designed as a VR game from the get go, the innovative real-time crafting system, the environment interactivity, the fast-paced action gameplay and the gorgeous visuals. Looking forward playing this game!
image credit: PlaySide VR