Onward 1.8 Update Brings Turbine Map, Two New Weapons, Performance Improvements

A new update for Onward is available now, bringing new content and performance improvements that should noticeably improve the player’s experience when loading and in-game.

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First and foremost, there’s two weapons — the MCX Virtus (pictured above) and the AK104 (pictured below). The former is for the specialist class (Marsoc) and takes a new ammunition type, .300 BLK rounds, which are being added to the game alongside the gun. The latter is also for the specialist class (Volk) and has a unique rail system on the top and front side. You can read more specifics about the weapons here.

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The update also features the return of the Turbine map, which was featured in 1.7 of the PC VR version of the game. The map has now been redesigned for cross-platform play, pictured below, featuring 4 levels, multiple rooms and a work elevator to help you get across levels of the map. However you’ll want to be careful — you’re a potential sitting duck if the elevator doors open to opponents waiting for you on the other side.

turbine map onward

In terms of the performance improvements, here’s what the developers had to say:

We wanted to make sure to take some quality time to address the issues with the rising performance reports we were receiving. We felt it was important to get the game back to a better feeling state during gameplay. You will feel the improvements when loading into the game and while playing.

The developers also took time to review the game’s environments, including areas that had been reported by the community.

The 1.8 update is available now for Onward on PC VR and Oculus Quest — you can read full patch notes for the update here.

Star Wars: Battlefront II Writer Working On ‘Unannounced Project’ At Onward Dev

Onward developer Downpour Interactive, recently acquired by Facebook, has hired one of the writers behind Star Wars: Battlefront II’s single-player campaign to work on an “unannounced project”.

Mitch Dyer, who worked alongside Walt Williams on Battlefront II’s campaign, now lists “Writer @ Downpour Interactive” in his Twitter profile. On his personal website, Dyer also confirms he’s “currently working on an unannounced project at Downpour Interactive.” The writer’s credits also include work on a CG short film for Star Wars: Squadrons and undisclosed work on the upcoming DC game, Gotham Knights.

Though Downpour’s next project hasn’t been officially revealed, it’s largely assumed to be a sequel to Onward. Last month Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that he was “pretty excited for Onward 2”, which quite literally gave the game away.

Of course, the first Onward is a multiplayer-only title and, while this type of game definitely still requires some input on the writing front, it’s often more for routine things like small dialogue clips and for UI etc. Dyer’s involvement in the next project suggests that it could have more of a narrative focus, perhaps like how some multiplayer games offer evolving stories and simulated campaigns.

Or, if we were to speculate, perhaps we could expect a story-driven campaign from Onward 2 if it is indeed a real thing? Facebook’s acquisition of Downpour is still fresh and the developer remains focused on the original Onward, so we’re not likely to hear about what’s next for a while yet.

What do you think Downpour could be working on? Let us know in the comments below!

Onward Hugely Improves Audio Quality In New Update

Onward’s latest big update is here, and it includes huge updates to the game’s audio quality.

Update 1.8.8 includes two major additions. The first is overhauled audio – developer Downpour Interactive has gone back to rebalance volumes and make sound from a distance more authentic. More importantly, though, it’s added a wide range of more convincing sound effects for things like explosions, gunfire and even footsteps. Have a listen over on the game’s official blog.

Not every effect sounds radically different, but each has at least a little more punch to it to make it more convincing.

Elsewhere 1.8.8 also introduces a new nighttime version of the game’s shooting range you can play either by yourself or with friends. This makes a lot of sense given that many of Onward’s normal multiplayer maps have nighttime variants that force you to play in a different way. With this update, you can now train for those maps properly.

Also interesting to note in the known issues section of the changelog is that Downpour has “temporarily removed support for bHaptics vests for Oculus Quest and Quest 2 users”. It didn’t offer any explanation for why the support had been removed, nor when it might be added back in.

Update 1.8.9 is also due to arrive “in the coming weeks”, but no word on exactly with it will bring at this point in time. In other Onward news, Mark Zuckerberg seemed to accidentally reveal the existence of Onward 2 in a message last month after Facebook acquired Downpour itself.

Mark Zuckerberg Seemingly Confirms Onward 2

It looks like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have accidentally confirmed Onward 2 is coming.

Responding to a question about which VR games he’s most looking forward to on a recent Facebook post, Zuckerberg said he was “pretty excited for Onward 2.” Here’s a screencap we took of the answer though, at the time of writing, it’s still there in the replies.

Onward 2 Confirmed?

Onward 2 Comment

This response might have gone unnoticed had Zuckerberg not been replying to Gene Park, a games reporter for the Washington Post. An official sequel to Downpour Interactive’s online shooter hasn’t yet been announced. That said Facebook announced it was acquiring the studio in late April and made mention of “future projects”. It makes sense that one of those would be a sequel to the incredibly popular VR multiplayer shooter. We’ve asked Facebook for comment.

Onward itself remains in Early Access on both PC and Oculus Quest, with plenty of updates planned for the future. If Onward 2 is coming, we still wouldn’t expect to see it for some time. Downpour and Facebook have both confirmed support will continue for the game across both platforms, though it remains to be seen if any future titles will also come to PC or be exclusive to the Quest platform.

What would you want to see in Onward 2? Let us know in the comments below!

Onward PC Development Will Continue Post-Facebook Acquisition, Downpour Says

The PC VR version of Onward will continue to be developed on both the Oculus Store and SteamVR, developer Downpour Interactive says.

Last week’s news that Facebook was acquiring the studio brought with it some concerns from the game’s community. Many were worried that, given Facebook’s focus on the Oculus Quest and Onward’s success on that platform, the PC VR version of the game may start to get left behind. But, in a blog post covering the news, Downpour assured that PC development would continue.

“Onward has roots in the PC community and we remain committed to developing for PCVR / SteamVR,” the post reads. “That includes previously discussed features such as improved lighting and graphics, new game modes and many other features we aren’t quite ready to reveal yet. The PCVR / SteamVR version of Onward will always be in line with all other platforms while we work to fully leverage the raw compute power that PCVR / SteamVR offers.”

Over in the game’s Discord, meanwhile, the developer confirmed that you won’t suddenly need a Facebook account to play Onward on SteamVR. Cross-play support will also continue. As for other possible future developments, the studio insisted that it remains independent and will have control over decisions – a fact that was very important to it.

Downpour is the fourth VR developer Facebook has acquired now, the others being Beat Games, Ready at Dawn and Sanzaru Games. For now, however, the team is keeping Onward as its priority, and there’s little mention of potential future projects aside from a short tease in last week’s news.

Onward Developer Downpour Interactive Acquired by Facebook

Onward - Oculus Quest

It’s quite commonplace for companies like Microsoft and Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) to acquire smaller studios that’ve got popular IPs and teams to support them. Over the last 18 months, Facebook has been doing the same in the virtual reality (VR) space, the latest being Downpour Interactive, the indie team behind popular military shooter Onward.

Onward

Facebook’s Mike Verdu, VP of VR/AR Content made the announcement this weekend, explaining: “Downpour Interactive leads the VR industry as a best-in-class example of a developer working in tandem with its loyal community to create the best possible social and gaming experience.”

“We’ve seen great success with Onward on the Oculus platform for several years—first on Rift and more recently on Quest. Becoming part of the Oculus Studios family will give Downpour Interactive the opportunity to cultivate both the Onward community with the full support of Oculus Studios resources, and, in the future, pursue other projects,” he continued.

Onward originally arrived on Steam Early Access back in 2016, a multiplayer-only shooter with realistic weapon handling and physics. Downpour Interactive then managed to port Onward onto Oculus Quest last year, greatly expanding the user base whilst offering solo, coop, and 5v5 competitive gameplay modes across a variety of maps.

Onward - Oculus Quest

“With us joining Oculus Studios at Facebook, we can now realize Onward’s full vision with tremendous support and resources. This means a better game for all our players on all platforms,” said Downpour Interactive’s Founder and CEO Dante Buckley in a separate blog post. “There are no changes in hierarchy or in vision, everyone at Downpour is still working hard to deliver you the best game possible. Thank you all for your continued support, and stay tuned for future updates and content.”

Terms of the deal weren’t revealed but both announcements did note Facebook’s acquisition wouldn’t affect non-Oculus versions of the videogame, all supported platforms would be maintained. Of course, that’s not to say future projects by Downpour Interactive won’t be exclusive to the Oculus platform. Downpour Interactive now joins Beat Games (Beat Saber), Sanzaru Games (Asgard’s Wrath), and Ready at Dawn (Lone Echo) under the Facebook umbrella. For continued updates on Onward, keep reading VRFocus.

Facebook Acquires ‘Onward’ Developer Downpour Interactive in Fourth VR Studio Acquisition

Facebook today announced its fourth VR studio acquisition. This time it’s Downpour Interactive, the studio behind the popular VR shooter Onward which has been continuously developed since its Early Access launch on PC back in 2016. More recently the game launched on Oculus Quest where it has become one of the headset’s most popular titles.

Facebook announced the acquisition today on the Oculus blog, saying that it is “eager to support Dante [CEO] and Downpour Interactive in growing Onward as one of the foremost multiplayer VR games […].” The company also promises that “Onward will continue to be supported on all its current platforms,” including Steam.

The company says that the entire Downpour Interactive team will join Facebook “in some capacity,” and that the team has “exciting plans for future Onward updates and future projects.”

Downpour Interactive had been working with Coatsink as a publisher, though it isn’t clear if the company was involved in the deal; the terms of the acquisition were not announced.

Downpour Interactive CEO Dante Buckley shared a message about the acquisition on the official Onward website:

Today is a very exciting day for Onward and the Downpour team, we are joining Oculus Studios at Facebook! I remember when I wrote the first line of code for Onward and walked around “Cargo,” one of the first maps in game. Putting on a VR headset and building this dream game was a magical experience every day. From those early days to now, Onward and Downpour have grown and made huge strides in the VR industry. I can’t thank my team enough for their hard work and dedication, as well our passionate and dedicated player community.

With us joining Oculus Studios at Facebook, we can now realize Onward’s full vision with tremendous support and resources. This means a better game for all our players on all platforms. There are no changes in hierarchy or in vision, everyone at Downpour is still working hard to deliver you the best game possible. Thank you all for your continued support, and stay tuned for future updates and content.

Today’s acquisition marks the fourth VR studio that Facebook has bought, seemingly in an effort to have greater control over the destiny of killer VR apps and the talent behind them. Facebook has also acquired Beat Games (Beat Saber), Sanzaru Games (Asgard’s Wrath and others), Ready at Dawn (Lone Echo and others), and now Downpour Interactive, all within the last year and a half.

While Facebook and Downpour Interactive have promised to continue to support Onward on Oculus and non-Oculus platforms alike, it seems likely that future titles from the studio will be exclusive to Oculus.

The post Facebook Acquires ‘Onward’ Developer Downpour Interactive in Fourth VR Studio Acquisition appeared first on Road to VR.

Facebook Acquires Onward Developer Downpour, Working On ‘Future Projects’

Downpour Interactive, the maker of multiplayer VR first-person shooter (FPS), Onward, is the latest developer to be acquired by Facebook.

The news was announced today on the Oculus Blog, which states that Facebook will “support Dante [Buckley, Downpour CEO] and Downpour Interactive in growing Onward as one of the foremost multiplayer VR games”. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, though Downpour did confirm that the entire team is joining Facebook.

Onward will continue to be supported on Steam, Facebook says, where it’s available in Early Access, following the acquisition. The blog post also confirms that Downpour has plans for “future projects” and that it hopes to release them to “as many people as possible”.

Since release on Steam in 2016 Onward has proved to be one of VR’s most popular multiplayer shooters. Its focus on military realism gave a lot of VR fans exactly what they were looking for in the early days of consumer VR and Downpour has offered consistent support for the game since, adding new maps, modes and fixes.

Onward came to Oculus Quest in 2020 with support from Coatsink. The standalone version of the game features full cross-play support with the PC VR versions, a fact that actually saw a drop in visual fidelity on PC at release. Downpour has slowly but surely continued to rebuild the PC version from a visual perspective, though.

There are plenty more plans for Onward, too. Anti-cheat measures were introduced into the game this week, and new maps are planned for future updates too.

Downpours joins Beat Games, Ready at Dawn and Sanzaru Games as Facebook-owned Oculus Studios developers.

Onward Is Adding Anti-Cheat Measures Next Week

Onward’s next patch will introduce anti-cheat measures to the game.

The patch, due to release next week, will precede the arrival of the long-awaited 1.8.8 update. In developer Downpour’s most recent blog update, the studio reasoned that ” recent events forced us to focus our efforts on an anti-cheat system we have been working on over the past couple of months, and we are planning to release patch 1.8.7.3 for Onward that will bring this brand-new system next week.”

So if you’ve been struggling with those sorts of issues in the game of late, hopefully next week’s patch brings some fixes for you. Season 11 of the VRML Onward league officially started this week, making these measures all the more vital.

No date yet on update 1.8.8, though, which is due to overhaul game logic and improve player lobbies and game modes. It will also introduce a nighttime version of the shooting range.

Looking past 1.8.8, Downpour plans to add the Abandoned map with both day and night variants in 1.8.9 and the Turbine map in 1.8.10 with the team also looks to finally implement a party system and ranking and progression too. Plenty more to look forward to for one of VR’s most popular multiplayer shooters, then.

We reviewed the Quest version of Onward when it launched last year. “Gun handling feels great, tracking seems solid, and there’s a wide assortment of maps and several game modes to pick from,” we said, giving the game 4/5. “No matter how you look at it this is still an immensely entertaining, challenging, and downright exciting VR shooter packed with content and is easily my new favorite multiplayer VR game for Quest.”

New Pavlov Shack Gameplay Shows Quest 2 Improved Graphics

Pavlov developer davevillz posted on Twitter a quick clip of some new Pavlov gameplay running on an Oculus Quest 2, which will feature “improved graphics” once it comes to Oculus App Lab.

Here’s the footage, sorry for the weird spacing, it’s an issue with the Streamable embed:

The clip is very brief, but it does give you a good look at just how crisp and detailed the game looks on a Quest 2. For the most part the original Oculus Quest and Quest 2 feature all of the same games and experiences, but in some cases developers may choose to tap into the extra power under the hood of Facebook’s latest headset. Back when the Quest 2 first released, the best example of that was The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners.

Now in the footage above, you can see how smooth and crisp the textures look and how fluid all of the gameplay seems. Obviously things may look a bit different in the headset, but typically things look better once you’re in VR so it likely works in Pavlov’s favor here.

While the entirety of Pavlov isn’t available on Quest, you can play the game right now in the form of Pavlov: Shack over on SideQuest. You’ll need to sideload it still right now, but that process is very simple if you follow our sideloading on Quest guide.

Or, you could just wait. Pavlov is coming to Oculus App Lab which is an alternative distribution method for Quest developers to bypass the need for sideloading while still not being listed on the main official store. Pavlov developer davevillz confirmed the game has been submitted for approval to App Lab, so hopefully it’s just a matter of days.

Let us know what you think of Pavlov running on Quest 2 in the comments down below!