nDreams, the studio behind Shooty Fruity (2018) and The Assembly (2016), announced a curious new VR stealth adventure coming to Quest and Rift (S) that puts you smack dab in the middle of enemy territory on a military-grade kayak.
Called Phantom: Covert Ops, you’re tasked with stealthily paddling your kayak through a mercenary-infested wetland and prioritizing movement and action. With only one night to prevent a rogue militia from launching a global attack, you paddle your way through a flooded and abandoned Cold War naval facility with a variety of military weapons such as sniper rifles, pistols, and explosives.
Speaking in a Facebook blog post, Brundish explains a little behind the game’s locomotion scheme, something he says was difficult to get right.
We wanted to capture the feeling and expectation of real-life kayaking, but we also needed to make sure that anyone could pick up the game and immediately enjoy it, regardless of their real-life experience with boats. For a while, we thought that we might need two separate control schemes, one for novices and another for boating experts — but we kept persisting and iterating, and we finally arrived at a version that works great for everyone. It’s intuitive to pick up and play for first timers, but it also has depth and nuance that can be learned over time and mastered (or will come naturally to experts). It took us a long time to get there, but we’re really proud of the results.
Continuing, Brundish explains how the stealth mechanic is based on player movement and sound.
“You’ll often find yourself below a walkway with an enemy patrolling above you, and the only way to be sure of their location is to listen carefully to their footsteps creaking overhead,” he explains. “Of course, staying quiet isn’t the only way to get through an encounter — there are lots of options for distracting the guards, like shooting out light sources or engaging in combat.”
Brundish further reveals that every encounter in the game “has multiple solutions, something that comes down to gameplay options presented in the area, and alternate routes through the level.
“We’re designing the levels to give the player as many options as we can—not just to provide choice throughout the initial playthrough, but also to give players more things to try out and discover when they replay an area. We’re adding unlockable medals at the end of each level, which challenge the player to complete the mission in a certain way: no alarms raised, no kills, 100% accuracy, etc. Our hope is that players will keep coming back to experience the missions in new ways and discover everything that the environments have to offer,” Brundish says.
nDreams game director Lewis Brundish says in an Oculus blog post that Phantom: Covery Ops is being developed specifically for the Oculus Quest and Rift platforms. Oculus considers Phantom an ‘Oculus Studios title’, so it’s likely to remain a platform exclusive.
There’s no firm release date yet, although nDreams says it should be out sometime in 2019.
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