Ever since its debut, VR has managed to stick around and continuously improve both its own hardware and the world of video games. Beat Saber used to be the pinnacle of what the medium could do, until Half-Life: Alyx came along and blew away all the competition. Action-adventure experiences and modern iterations of the point-and-click genre like the upcoming Peaky Blinders: The King’s Ransom show VR is in a place where decent games can be made comfortably, and I’m sure Horizon: Call Of The Mountain will set another benchmark just like Alyx did. But I don’t want a decent game or an impressive technical feat. I want to be blown away. I want to throw up from motion sickness because I refuse to take my headset off. I want smashed TVs like we’re back in the Wii era, just figuring out motion controls for the first time. I want Bulletstorm VR.
Gears of War: Judgment and Outriders developer People Can Fly recently revealed it was working on a number of projects, including a VR game based on the company’s existing IP. For those of you who don’t remember the 2011 hit Bulletstorm, it was developed by PCF and Fortnite creator Epic Games. It’s got all the gritty military dude-on-dude action of Gears, but with goofy, satirical wit and utterly outrageous USP: a kill-scoring system based on the energy band, a wrist-mounted whip that can throw enemies around like ragdolls. Guns and lightsabers are cool and all, but this is what VR was made for.
It’s a rare piece of technology even in the game’s world, forbidden because of the way it communicates with the human mind. So what better game for VR than one that centers around a piece of illegal sci-fi that could possibly melt your brain? Bulletstorm VR wouldn’t be a detective drama with any action or a cool walking simulator like Horizon. It could be a balls-to-the-wall AR action game where you throw the bad guys around the living room, plug them into the TV to electrocute them, or throw them into the washing machine to spin them to death.
In Bulletstorm, you gained more points by killing enemies in unique ways. Sure, you can just blow their heads off with a machine gun, but it’s been done. Juggling them above you with an airsoft gun before hooking them into an explosive hot dog stand is fresh, new and innovative. It’s what really gets the players’ blood pumping.
By combining VR and AR, you can turn your house into a death trap. Bounces enemies into your oven or kicks them down the stairs. It would take some work, but being able to walk around a room and highlight the potential environmental hazards like sofa beds and knife racks would lead to an infinite number of levels. When you’re tired of boiling enemies in the shower or pushing them out of your bedroom window and hanging them with curtains, you can go to your friend’s house and have a whole new playground to explore.
We’ve had plenty of VR gimmick games, and we’re seeing more that use the medium to tell a real story, but none of it sounds half as exciting as twirling a guy around my room like a lasso and shuffling them past my ceiling fan . Bulletstorm VR can really lean into the high level of interactivity that makes VR so special, and would be able to turn our homes, usually an obstacle, into the very levels we want to wreak havoc in. Come on Epic, stop Fortnite- the collaborations for a little while and give us what we really need.
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