GDC 2019: 'Space Junkies' Open Beta to Land on All Major VR Headsets Tomorrow with Cross-play

Ubisoft is getting ready to launch its next big foray into VR with the multiplayer shooter Space Junkies, which is set to launch on March 26th. But first, users on PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows VR will have a free crack at it leading up to launch.

The open beta is slated to start on March 21st and go through March 25th, offering what developers Ubisoft Montpellier say will be the same experience as the full game.

The full game is set to launch with four different PvP modes playable across six maps and a number of character classes and weapons.

Additionally, Ubisoft today revealed that all platforms will support cross-play, with Ubisoft’s UPlay essentially acting as a communal friend’s list, similar to the studio’s other multiplayer titles Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Werewolves Within, and Eagle Flight.

One of the big hurdles to overcome for any multiplayer VR game is undoubtedly driving continued user engagement post-launch. Ubisoft Montpellier’s Adrian Lacey told Road to VR that all supported platforms will be getting regular new content, including new modes, maps, weapons, and customization items—something Lacey maintains will continue well after launch.

We’ve had a pretty fair shake at Space Junkies over the past year or so; it’s proven to be a highly-polished and comfortable experience despite the game’s unique zero-G dimensionality and relatively high speeds.

At GDC this week we got another chance to go hands-on, this time getting a whack at the game’s PSVR version using the only supported input device, the DualShock 4 gamepad. It decidedly wasn’t as intuitive as the bonafide motion controllers on other platforms, as PSVR users are expected to shoot using the gamepad’s 6DOF. This, I was told, was to keep PSVR players competitive, as PS Move simply doesn’t fit the bill when it comes to the game’s fast-paced shooting and maneuvering due to the lack of thumb sticks.

Keeping gameplay fair across all supported platforms is also somewhat of a balancing act, Lacey told me. While gamepad shooting isn’t something I’d call particularly immersive, drilling other players with dual weapons seemed to be an easier experience, and reloading is a quicker action too—a single button press as opposed to physically flicking the gun with motion controls.

Whatever he case may be, the ‘try it before you buy it’ open beta is sure to be revealing to anyone who plans on jumping head first into what we called ‘VR’s spiritual successor to Unreal Tournament’.

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