How would I describe the new VR game titled Gunheart? If it were a movie, it would be Starship Troopers with friends.
Gunheart is all about killing alien bugs, and lots of them in as many ways as possible. I had a chance to try Gunheart at E3 2017 in Los Angeles in the HTC Vive conference room. However, unlike most of the VR titles I try, this one I was able to play with my fellow writer Michelle Figueras and with two of the game's developers remotely. Even further from the VR norm, Michelle and I were playing on the HTC Vive and one of the developers on an Oculus Rift. Yes, folks, Gunheart has multiplayer in the same room, via the internet and cross-device support!
We started out with both of us in the same room, each of us wearing an HTC Vive running on two lighthouse devices. Once we joined the Gunheart multiplayer reception area, we were welcomed by two of the developers of the game. Once in the reception area, where you can see your teammates and wander around and chat with each other. The devs covered the basics of bug combat and our weapons which consisted of a crossbow device that allowed us to steer the weapon directly to the target. My favorite was when you place both of the controllers together, and it turns into a machine gun and strikes a similarity to the BFG gun from Doom.
Movement is via a teleportation system which allowed me to quickly move from cover to cover and jump to high vantage points to deliver death to the bugs from above. All in all the movement system worked well, and it was quick to move from place to place. The teleportation movement has become second nature now. I no longer crave for traditional movement in rapid shooters like this.
"I could hear Michelle screaming over the headset"
During the intense bug combat, I could hear Michelle screaming over the headset and the developers providing us guidance. Likewise, I could talk with them. The social aspect of playing Gunheart made this way more fun than any other VR title I have tried. If you play this online with your VR buddies, then you are in for some fun VR bug bashing. Online with other players? Well, this is going to depend on your luck. Hopefully, the developers will create a nice "friends" system and a way to kick off the offensive players.
Gunheart is developed by new VR startup, Drifter Entertainment. The founders of Drifter Entertainment include Ray Davis, Kenneth Scott, and Brian Murphy.
Ray has served as chief technology officer at Microsoft on the HoloLens project, and lead programmer on Gears of War and Gears of War 2.
Kenneth worked on titles such as Quake 3, Doom 3, Rage, and Halo. Ray worked on Xbox One, Microsoft HoloLens, and the Xbox Kinect.
Gunheart will be available in late summer 2017 on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive from Steam and the usual sources.