One of the biggest gaming Cinderella stories of the past year is the rise of battle royale games with the debut of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds back in March of last year. Rising from indie obscurity to total industry dominance, PUBG is now joined by Fortnite and other competitors all vying to dominate the space the game inaugurated in many ways. It is always hard to determine the staying power of many new game genres these days with the MOBA craze of a few years ago and the battle arena shooter fad not long after that but battle royale games have taken a particular hold in the popular zeitgeist it seems.
That makes it only appropriate that the format would make its way to virtual reality, one of gaming’s fastest growing (and most innovative) segments. Imagining what a battle royale game would be like in VR and how much it would try to emulate mainline experiences are questions best left up to dev teams but if Population: One has any say in the matter expect the VR future of battle royale to be somewhat similar to Fortnite with more of an edge. Population: One from Smashbox Arena Studios is still in early development but the trailer they showed off depicts a game that looks set to recreate the PUBG and Fortnite experience in VR.
The trailer shows of flying, climbing, shooting, and building but doesn’t really do it from a VR perspective. Of course the argument could be made that a first-person perspective is quite close enough for demonstration purposes but you can’t blame an eager audience for wanting to see more. The game will be available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Microsoft’s augmented reality experiences and should come with both multiplayer and single-player modes.
And that’s good news for people that don’t feel comfortable diving in head first into the deep end of battle royale gaming. In the single-player mode gamers will have the opportunity to compete against AI-controlled bots and can practice their movement in a 3D space. Not only will this give gamers a chance to acclimate themselves before going into the online arena but it also just provides an alternative method to play the game that some people might find more enjoyable.
After all, VR is still a new concept for many of us and who knows how fun it will be for someone completely unfamiliar with the format to start off with a competitive battle arena game. The best thing about all of this is that gamers who are eager to see what the game is going to be like can join in on a beta period for the game and help the devs perfect it now before it hits the streets. Though the company is mum on a specific release date many people are speculating that Population: One will come out sometime in 2019.
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- October 13, 2018