Cloudhead CEO Talks Funding VR’s Next Big Games

Denny Unger, CEO of Pistol Whip developer Cloudhead Games, touched on the difficulties of funding large-scale VR games in a recent series of tweets.

On Monday Unger, who helped found Cloudhead nearly a decade ago, noted that he’d seen a lot of people asking where the next ‘big’ VR game was. More specifically, people have been asking where is the next Half-Life: Alyx-caliber game.

“It’s important to recognize that many studios like ours have “those games” sitting in limbo,” he wrote. “BIG ideas require BIG budgets & we’re maxing out what works to financially power up BIG ideas later.”

By “what works”, Unger is almost certainly referring to the success of Pistol Whip, Cloudhead’s third main VR game that launched in late 2019. The game’s one of a number of titles that’s performed well on the Oculus Quest platform among other headsets and is still supported with new DLC and updates to this day – we just showcased the new Style System at the Upload VR Showcase last week.

“Cloudhead Games is 29 people at industry standard rates (and growing), the bulk of those are producing Pistol Whip content, which some might consider a “small game” comparatively, Unger continued. “Now think about something like Alyx and the people power/budget required there.”

Last year, a member of Cloudhead wrote on Reddit that the studio would love to return to its original VR series, The Gallery, but it would need the market to be bigger before it could really justify the third entry.

Bigger game publishers, meanwhile, remain reluctant to fund large-scale VR titles while the install base remains comparatively small to traditional consoles. That’s why Facebook is making deals directly with companies like Ubisoft to get new versions of Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell into VR, rather than Ubisoft funding these titles on its own steam.

There are larger titles on the way to look forward to, though. Stress Level Zero’s next game is likely to be revealed this summer and may fit the tone Unger is touching upon after the success of Boneworks. Capcom is developing a VR port of Resident Evil 4 for Oculus Quest 2, too, and we’re yet to see what Sony is lining up for its next VR headset for the PS5.

What do you hope to see out of VR’s next big game? Let us know in the comments below!

5 Awesome VR Games To Play In Preparation For Half-Life: Alyx

Even if you take its fancy headsets out of the equation, Valve’s impact on VR can already be felt throughout the industry and you’ll be able to see the influence of the existing VR market on Valve themselves when Half-Life: Alyx drops next year.

Traces of Valve’s design philosophies can be found in a bunch of VR games. But there’s a handful of studios that have gone a step further. It might be that they’ve collaborated with Valve to put fun Easter eggs into their game, or contributed some important feature, the traces of which you can see in Alyx. In some cases, some of these developers even spent time working at Valve either on the games listed or some of the studio’s own projects. So as much as we’re highlighting the games here, also take note of the developers.

So these aren’t necessarily the absolute all-time greatest VR games. Don’t get me wrong; in most cases, they’re very good. But they’re also closely aligned with the thinking that makes Valve who it is today. If you need some VR games to play before Half-Life: Alyx, these are the ones you should look for.


Hot Dogs, Horseshoes And Hand Grenades – Rust

Hot Dogs, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades currently offers enough guns to arm most of the world’s countries to the teeth. Rust’s ever-evolving sandbox includes some of the most attentive weapon handling you’ll find in VR. You can see much of that attention to detail paid forward in the Alyx trailer when reloading guns.

Not to mention that the game has its own love letter to Valve in Meat Fortress 2, which brings a parody of the classic multiplayer shooter into VR.


Boneworks – Stress Level Zero

If Half-Life: Alyx weren’t right around the corner I’d say it was fairly safe to call Boneworks the most anticipated VR game on the horizon right now. Why? Because, well, it looks quite a bit like Half-Life. Leaping enemy crabs, strange scientific test facilities, so-far silent protagonists and, oh yeah, a crowbar or two? Boneworks wears its inspirations on its sleeves.

Perhaps most importantly, though, Boneworks is a big proponent of Valves’ Index controllers. The studio is also promising to push physics-driven gameplay, which you could argue could be traced back to Half-Life 2, forwards. Every weapon is handled like a real-world object, you need to haul yourself up over ledges and you can create makeshift paths or weapons using basically anything you find. We can’t wait to dive deeper into Boneworks later this month.


Budget Cuts – Neat Corp (Read Our Review)

Valve is supporting smooth locomotion in Half-Life: Alyx, but the studio believes in comfort first. The trouble is that many players find the teleport-based alternative to be distracting an not immersive. Neat Corp’s Budget Cuts is one of the few VR games to successfully address both of those troubles. It’s a stealth game in which you fire a teleporter gun, look at where you’ll jump to by poking your head through the destination orb and then head through the portal should you so choose.

Not to mention that the game is otherwise chock-full of Aperture-level humor. The only trouble is that Budget Cuts’ tricky AI can really harm the experience. We’ve got our fingers crossed that this won’t be the base by the time the sequel rolls around on December 12.


The Gallery – Cloudhead Games (Read Our Review)

The Gallery developer Cloudhead’s most obvious link to Valve is Aperture Hand Lab, the Portal-based demo it released alongside the Index controllers. But it’s the team’s initial insistence on exploring direct, fully native VR storytelling that seems like it would have the most impact on Alyx.

Plus The Gallery was the first VR game to pioneer a lot of ideas, like an inventory system doubling up as a backpack you stored over your shoulder. Lots of the series’ DNA can be found in subsequent releases, and it looks like Alyx is no exception.


Vertigo 2 – Zulubo Productions (Read Our Preview)

We called the original Vertigo a decent stab at an indie Half-Life game. Based on the demo published earlier this year, though, Vertigo 2 is going to be a step up from that. This promises not just to echo Valve’s series but also parody it in often hilarious ways too. The demo alone contains more than a few tributes to Valve games.

More importantly, though, Vertigo 2 could be a genuinely fleshed out VR shooter, with a full campaign and weapons designed with the platform in mind. We don’t know when the full thing is releasing, but you should definitely check the demo out ahead of Alyx’s release. Plus developer Zach Tsiakalis-Brown spent time working with Valve on the Moondust demo and The Lab’s Hands-On update.

What other VR games should people play before Half-Life: Alyx? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

The post 5 Awesome VR Games To Play In Preparation For Half-Life: Alyx appeared first on UploadVR.

7 Unannounced PSVR Ports We’re Still Waiting On In 2019

7 Unannounced PSVR Ports We’re Still Waiting On In 2019

With over three million headsets sold, Sony’s PSVR is thought to be the most successful major VR headset on the market today. Despite this, many developers prefer to bring their VR games to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive first. It’s easy to see why; Rift and Vive’s more advanced tracking and the processing power of a PC allow them to develop for the top and then scale down.

But the urgency to get games onto PSVR is increasing. Over the past few years we’ve seen ports of PC VR staples like Arizona Sunshine, Beat Saber, Superhot VR and more. Despite this, there are a few key PC VR games we’re still hoping will come to PSVR. Here’s six unannounced PSVR ports we’re still waiting on in 2019.

Gorn (Read Our Impressions)

This is probably the most glaring entry on the list. Gorn may still be in Early Access on PC but the game is such a hit that we’re surprised it’s not come to PSVR yet. It’s an over-the-top gladiator battler with insane levels of violence. You can tears heads off, slice off arms or crush skulls with a wide variety of weapons. It’s ridiculously good fun and could fill a bloody hole in PSVR’s content library.

Onward (Read Our Impressions)

Another incredibly popular PC VR game that should have been on PSVR by now. Onward offers military simulation-level VR shooting with friends. Again, it’s been in Early Access for years, but consistent updates have made it one of the most robust and playable games in VR. Developer Downpour Interactive is a small studio and we don’t doubt it’s got its hands full with new updates. But the team should seriously consider getting one of VR’s most popular shooters onto one of VR’s most popular platforms.

Serious Sam VR/The Talos Principle VR (Read Our Review)

We’ll cheat a little here. Croteam remains one of VR’s most committed developers thanks to the expertly-crafted ports of its most beloved games. With the entire Serious Sam series now available to play in VR and all of The Talos Principle supporting headsets, it’s way past time we got these games on PSVR. All of them offer full games worth of content that we’d gladly lose hours in all over again. The team’s busy with Serious Sam 4, but we’ve got our fingers crossed they’re also porting these on the side.

The Gallery (Read Our Review)

Cloudhead Games’ remarkable adventure series has been PC-exclusive for far too long. This is one of VR’s most fantastical experiences, full of wonder that PSVR players are being deprived off right now. The pacing and mechanics are well within the headset’s reach, though we suspect Cloudhead is more concerned with getting its third episode finished at this point. With luck, we’ll see a full PSVR port of the first three installments once the third episode is out. Who knows when that will arrive, though.

L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files (Read Our Review)

Rockstar Games did an amazing job of porting one of its most divisive games to VR in 2017. L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files was an expertly curated snapshot of the wider game in VR. Not only did it capture the spirit of the game’s detective work in immersive ways but the realistic facial scans applied to NPCs took on a whole new life in VR.

Fallout 4 VR (Read Our Review)

Let’s end with a bit of false hope, shall we? If Fallout 4 VR was ever going to come to PSVR, it probably would have happened by now. But the truth of it is Bethesda’s massive open world is probably just too much to squeeze onto Sony’s headset without some drastic changes. Still, we’ll keep dreaming, even if no one else will.

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‘The Gallery: Heart of the Emberstone’ Wins VR Awards’ 2018 Game of the Year

The VR Awards’ second annual award show was held last night, and the winners are in. Taking the award for VR Game of the Year was Cloudhead’s room-scale adventure The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone (2017).

As the sequel to The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed (2016), episode two picks up where we left off last; you’ve received a magical Gauntlet that gives you a mysterious new power. You travel to Ember, a desiccated and long-forgotten world, where you search for your sister Elsie, uncover the history of Ember, and reveal the true intentions of the dark figure seed in Starseed.

We gave Heart of the Emberstone a very solid [9/10] rating in our spoiler-free review. You can check out it out here.

Although the game was launched in October 2017, the VR Awards’ cutoff date for consideration was in August, with the event taking place on October 9th of last year— leaving it in the running for this year’s VR Awards. Last year’s GOTY was awarded to Raw Data (2017) by Survios, which was still in Steam Early Access at the time of award consideration.

The VR Awards is a London-based ceremony and dinner that saw some 300 delegates attend last year from industry players such as Google, Epic Games, Oculus, HTC, AMD, Universal and Framestore.

Competition to take the show’s GOTY wasn’t light this year either, as the shortlist included games such as Beat Saber, Lone Echo, and both Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR.

VR Awards GOTY 2018 Nominees

  • Bethesda Softworks – Fallout 4 VR
  • Bethesda Softworks – The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
  • Beat Games – Beat Saber
  • Survios Inc. – Sprint Vector
  • Ready At Dawn – Lone Echo / Echo Arena
  • Hidden Path Entertainment – Brass Tactics
  • Vertical Robot – Red Matter
  • VRWERX – Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul
  • ARVORE Immersive Experiences – Pixel Ripped 1989
  • inXile Entertainment – The Mage’s Tale
  • Cloudhead Games Ltd. – The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone
  • Electric Hat Games – TO THE TOP
  • nDreams – Shooty Fruity

Other award winners included HTC Vive Pro for Best VR Headset, Ultrahaptics for Most Innovative VR Company, Manifest 99 for Best VR Experience, Carne Y Arena for Best VR Film, Coco VR for Best VR Marketing, and Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire for Best Out-of-Home Experience.

Check out the full list on the VR Awards website.

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‘Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum’ Demo Offers a Free Taste of the Game’s Telekinetic Powers

Cloudhead Games, the studio known for pioneering several locomotion schemes during the creation of their well-received VR adventure series The Gallery, have just released a fresh demo for their latest game, The Gallery: Heart of the Emberstone (2017). The demo is a sandbox version of the Coliseum level that lets you get your hands on the game’s unique telekinetic powers before committing to the full game.

While dedicated game demos used to be the best way to find out if you wanted to take the full-priced plunge, in this late age of digital content distribution it seems not all developers commit to creating demos for their games, instead making users rely on refunds to get a taste of whatever it is they cooked up.

Cloudhead’s Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum is now live on Steam for free, making for an easy way to dive head-first into the game’s magical powers, and step inside some of the game’s imposing architecture while you experience a no-spoilers slice of the story.

The studio says the demo was a way to “break up the monotony of the usual arcade fare in VR with a taste of a bigger adventure.”

Heart of the Emberstone is the second episode in the series after Call of the Starseed (2016). As a successor to one of the first room-scale games in existence, the second episode takes you deeper into the ’80s fiction-inspired universe and flushes out what proves to be a story as rich as the cinematic direction teased in the first. Far from being a one hit wonder, the second episode improves on the experience of the first in almost every way.

Find out why we rated Heart of the Emberstone a solid [9/10] in our review.

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Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum – Kostenloser Spin-off erschienen

The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone erfreut sich wie schon der Vorgänger großer Beliebtheit und ist Mitte Oktober für die HTC Vive und Oculus Rift erschienen. Auf die von den Entwicklern angekündigte Umsetzung für die PSVR warten wir noch. Nun hat das Studio Cloudhead Games einen Level aus dem VR-Adventure ausgekoppelt und stellt Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum kostenlos zur Verfügung.

Kostenloser Level Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum erhältlich

Die Levelauskoppelung Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum steht kostenlos auf Steam und im Oculus Store zur Verfügung und verführt VR-Spieler in die Welt der The-Gallery-Reihe. Dort muss man in einer offen angelegten Spielewelt mit Hilfe telekinetische Fähigkeiten allerlei Rätsel lösen. Coliseum dient dabei als Demo für das ganze Abenteuer und Spieler können sich so mit diversen Bewegungsoptionen vertraut machen sowie in Ruhe die telekinetischen Fähigkeiten ausprobieren.

Wer nach Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum Lust auf das ganze Spiel bekommen hat, kann dann bei Steam oder im Oculus Store zuschlagen: Die erste Episode The Gallery: Call of the Starseed kostet knapp 20 Euro, die zweite Episode The Gallery: Heart of the Emberstone knapp 28 Euro. Im Bundle auf Steam kann man 10 Prozent sparen und zahlt für beide Titel rund 43 Euro. Mit vier bis sechs Stunden fällt der zweite Teil länger aus als der erste: Wir haben immerhin über zwei Stunden im Herzen von Emberstone verbracht und das grafisch schön gestaltete Adventure im Gameplay-Video vorgestellt.

Der Beitrag Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum – Kostenloser Spin-off erschienen zuerst gesehen auf VR∙Nerds. VR·Nerds am Werk!

Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum Is A Free Spin-Off Of The Gallery Ep. 2

Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum Is A Free Spin-Off Of The Gallery Ep. 2

The Gallery: Episode 2 – Heart of the Emberstone is a great game. So great, in fact, we’ve got it nominated several times in our Best of 2017 nominee list and really look forward to seeing where that series goes next with Episode 3. In the meantime, we can sink our teeth into this expanded, standalone release featuring Episode 2’s addictive Coliseum.

In the core game the Coliseum was a bit of a one-off piece of content but now the team at Cloudhead have cut out that section of the experience and released it as its very own free VR game for people to try. Think of it as like a polished, post-launch demo in a way. In fact, Episode 2 is directly linked and advertised on Coliseum’s page right under the free download button on Steam.

“Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum is set to break the monotony of the usual arcade fare in VR with a taste of a bigger adventure. Coliseum offers a telekinetic playground where you can wield the Gauntlet, a mystical power from the planet of Ember, to build, create, and destroy with the palm of your hand…This sandbox version is a small slice from the full Heart of the Emberstone experience, allowing players to peek into the dark past of Ember and the story it holds. Coliseum was built to showcase uniquely VR-tailored gameplay to enthusiasts, with puzzles and interactions that play to the powers and strengths of VR. Coliseum also offers a jumping point for new players to experiment with various locomotion options, and to get a grand sense of scale and beauty in a risk-free environment.”

Heart of the Emberstone: Coliseum is out now with official support for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift for free. You can find it on Steam or on Oculus Home. Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

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‘The Gallery – Ep. 2 : Heart of the Emberstone’ Review – Longer, Stronger and Well Worth the Wait

The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone (2017) comes a year and a half after Call of the Starseed (2016), episode one in the narrative-based adventure puzzle game seriesAs a successor to one of the first room-scale games in existence, the second episode takes you deeper into the ’80s fiction-inspired universe and flushes out what proves to be a story as rich as the cinematic direction teased in the first. Far from being a one hit wonder, the second episode improves on the experience of the first in almost every way.

The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone Details:

Official Site

Developer: Cloudhead Games
Available On: Oculus, Steam, Viveport
Reviewed On: Oculus Rift
Release Date: October 18, 2017


Leaving off from the end of Call of the Starseed, you find yourself on the other side of the universe, searching for your adventuresome sister Elsie as you follow her footsteps onto a strange alien world. At the behest of a hunchbacked overlord, you’re told you must “fetch your grasp,” a powerful addition to your telekenetically-powered gauntlet in order to see your sister again. With the ability to move heavy objects imbibed with a magical power ore, you journey ever further into the deserted world as you become both actor and observer of a story long passed.

image courtesy Cloudhead Games

Without saying too much about the story itself, much of the action takes place in the form of holographic memories projected in front of you, and through found tapes and diary entries. The world you’ve landed on is essentially dead, except for weird little weevil-things that seem to thrive on the sandy planet. Just how it got that way is something for you to find out yourself. I will say though that the story offers salient commentary on the opposing forces of nature and man, and leaves a lot to digest as you delve deeper into the crazy power differential that results from a monarchy that’s both in charge of an entire world’s resources and is ultimately gifted with superhuman powers to maintain that order.

image courtesy Cloudhead Games

Spanning across three main areas, you’ll do some back-and-forth to get missing parts, so while the world itself isn’t giant, it also means there isn’t any wasted space. At first I wished there was more latitude for open exploration, but what I was left with was a situation where a new puzzle and a fresh storyline breadcrumb always in reach to kept me interested. This also kept it from feeling too linear, departing from what I like to call ‘IKEA adventures’.

Review: 'The Gallery: Call of the Starseed'

Besides a single puzzle that’s basically a more complicated version of Simon (repeat a sequence of color-coded tones), the puzzles in Heart of the Emberstone left me feeling like I’d never experienced something similar.

Most doors and certain quest items are accessed by guiding your gauntlet’s stone through a translucent tube with moving barriers, that when you fail to guide it correctly and touch the barrier or edges of the tube, it resets everything. These range from extremely simple—a straight tube with no barriers for commonly-accessed spaces like elevators—to increasingly difficult puzzles as you move along.

You also have your gauntlet, a more powerful ‘grasp’, and an energy slingshot that helps you shoot down room-unlocking ore boxes. These boxes can be slotted into place and used as movable parts in larger room-sized puzzles.

One of my favorites was the gear puzzles, where you have to slot in the right gears within a certain amount of time in order to use a door-opening lever. The little gears have differently-shaped axle inserts, so you have to plan ahead so you can get them all in correctly before the timer runs out, or you have to start over again.

image courtesy Cloudhead Games

While neither of these puzzle types are particularly difficult, the feeling you get when you solve them is synergistic. The developers could have easily made you press a simple button to open a door, or scattered keys throughout the level and make you go on an endless hunt, but the door puzzles not only leave you feeling like you’ve accomplished something, but you’ve done it with style.

I know you’re scanning for it, so here it is. Heart of the Emberstone took me 3.5 hours to complete. There, I even put it in bold. I achieved this playtime reading every book I found, every scrap of paper, and listened to every one of Elsie’s cassette tapes. While I’m not sure how the creators can claim as far as 6 hours of playtime, to its ultimate credit Episode 2 isn’t littered with useless collectibles that would otherwise pad out the game’s length. Most everything you find broadens the story’s lore, leaving you with multiple ways to understand what’s going on.

image courtesy Cloudhead Games

Frankly, after the end credits rolled, I was ready to play again. There’s so much to unpack in Heart of the Emberstone, so much more to absorb than a single pass would allow. Although I knew what was going on and never felt confused by the events that unfolded before me as an observer, I’d place the level of storytelling on the same rung as some of the top TV dramas like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones—the sort of shows you go back to rewatch even if you know what’s going to happen (albeit in a reduced form).

It’s pretty rare that excellent voice acting, competent art direction, and a fully-realized world with a truly interesting story come together at once, so excuse me if I let out a well-deserved “wow.”


Comparing the sequel to the first in the series, Heart of the Emberstone feels much more like a complete experience than its predecessor. You can probably chalk this up to the fact that it’s over three-times the length of the first episode, all with about the same density of puzzles and indispensable narrative elements.

Where Call of the Starseed seemed somewhat gimmicky at times and jabbed you in the face every so often with reminders that you were actually in a game and not in a real adventure, Heart of the Emberstone tosses you in a wholly new alien environment where expectations are less primed by real-world interactions, but where your actions have greater overall effect. Once you figure out how to use your gauntlet, puzzles and abilities are thrown on at formative intervals that never leave you scratching your head as what to do next. This doesn’t mean you’re led by the hand though, as the game only tells you how to do something once without nagging you to death with the usual (and frankly way overused) ‘helpful robot’ trope.

Bad storytelling is bad for immersion. Bad stories and crappy voice acting make you feel like you’re in a fake world with fake people, and this is why I tend to discuss it in both the gameplay and immersion sections of reviews. Besides being an obvious visual treat, the world feels alive even though it’s ostensibly dry as a dead dingo’s donger. Grounding you in the world further, the story shows an emotional range that doesn’t reek of the low-rent melodrama of more mediocre titles. Heart-wrenching scenes of betrayal punctuate the bubbly levity that Elsie always seems to bring to every situation.

image courtesy Cloudhead Games

There are of course moments when the devs give you a little ‘wink wink, nudge nudge’, as if to say “we’ve put this story element here conveniently to move things along, but we know you know that.” This is done maybe once or twice throughout the game though, and isn’t really a focal point.

Nuts and bolts-wise, object interaction is vastly improved, showing just how much Cloudhead has worked to create objects that give a solid haptic feedback and work equally well in both left and right hands. Picking up and reading the holographic logs scattered throughout the game was a much more plausible experience than the notepads or books in Starseed which only gave you a few ‘snap-to’ hand poses. Menus, maps, and logs take the place of your hand, leaving hand poses out of the equation entirely.

I found the hand models to be a bit of a minor visual blemish, which felt overly spindly. The position of the hands relative to the controller also felt a bit off, extending farther than my hands naturally would. Like its predecessor, hand models don’t make full use of Oculus Touch’s capacitive buttons, robbing you of some of the more true-to-life flexibility the particular controller can afford. This clearly isn’t an issue on Vive, which is why is only bears brief mention.

Loading screens are fairly quick and unobtrusive, but are numerous as you traverse back and forth on the world map—a clear, but decidedly unavoidable pain point.


There are a number of elements that made their way from Call of the Starseed to Heart of the Emberstone, including blink teleportation. One thing that’s changed however is the inclusion of smooth locomotion (put in bold for skimmers) that should have die-hard opponents of teleportation squealing with glee. This however doesn’t include smooth yaw stick turning, meaning you’ll have to weather the game with snap-turn only—aka ‘comfort mode’.

Smooth locomotion options also include controller-oriented stick-move, head-oriented stick move, strafing options and variable movement speeds. Since these are non-default options that must be toggled by the user, the stock blink teleportation makes for an exceedingly comfortable experience for anyone, from novice to expert VR user.

One of the few misgivings I have with Heart of the Emberstone is the lack of seated option, which would be welcome when playing the game from start to finish.

We partnered with AVA Direct to create the Exemplar 2 Ultimate, our high-end VR hardware reference point against which we perform our tests and reviews. Exemplar 2 is designed to push virtual reality experiences above and beyond what’s possible with systems built to lesser recommended VR specifications.

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The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart Of The Emberstone Gets Official October Release Date

The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart Of The Emberstone Gets Official October Release Date

The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone from Cloudhead Games is officially releasing next month on October 18th, 2017, for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Back in June of this year the developers announced a September release window, but the game has been slightly delayed in order to insure the highest quality experience possible.

According to the developers:

“The game is effectively finished at this point, but as a small team we’ve decided to take the opportunity to put some extra love into Emberstone before launch. We’re running out of days in September, and while “Heart of the Octoberstone” doesn’t have quite as nice a ring to it, we feel it’s the right choice to make the best game for our fans…This was a hard decision to make, but we thank you as always, Reddit, for your support over these last few weeks and months especially. The adventure wouldn’t be possible without you.”

Just last week we got the chance to go hands-on with an updated build of the game and came away very impressed. Graphically it’s looking better than ever, the story promises more depth, the team is planning even more puzzles than before, and it’s reportedly twice as long as The Gallery – Episode 1: The Call of the Starseed, clocking in around 4-6 hours from early internal playtests.

The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone releases on October 18th, 2017 for Rift and Vive at a price point of $29.99. Owners of the first game will receive a “complete the bundle” discount and you’ll be able to purchase both games at launch together for a 10% bundle discount.

What do you think of this news? Will you be playing The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone? Let us know down in the comments below!

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Preview: The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone – The Story Continues

It feels like HTC Vive has been on the market far longer than 17 months, with some awesome virtual reality (VR) experiences having released in that time. Some of which were launch titles like Cloudhead Games’ The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed, a puzzle adventure which is still a worthwhile purchase even now. As the title suggests this is an episodic tale and fans have been eagerly awaiting the next instalment which is due this month, The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone.

Continuing the story, the second episode whisks you up into the stars as you search for your sister Elsie. In the preview build VRFocus played Cloudhead Games allowed access to two scenes which utilised the mysterious new Gauntlet you’re now in possession of, allowing the manipulation of energy to interact and move objects at distance.

The Gallery Heart of the Emberstone screenshot 1

These two areas gave just a glimpse at the massive videogame the studio has planned with crumbling buildings, towering monuments and ancient technology to see and use. Just like episode one, Cloudhead has created a gorgeous looking title that evokes the same grandeur as the story the studio plans on telling, offering a few tactile puzzles that give a brief taster of what to expect.

The first area offers a basic introduction to the Gauntlet, with floating platforms littered with obstacles that need to be moved in order to pass. As teleportation was the only movement system available – more will be on offer in the full release – there was no cheating by teleporting past the rubble, a quick flick of the wrist and each piece can be flung out of the way.

The main puzzles at this point consisted of moving a crystal located on the back of your hand through an ever more elaborate series of holographic tubes, with spinning and moving parts needing to be avoided to succeed. Simple in nature, they do test your ability to gauge depth and perspective as looking at them from one angle can hide the best course of action, and the whole process makes the mundane task opening of doors that bit more elaborate.

The Gallery Heart of the Emberstone screenshot 2

Aside from figuring out the puzzles there are lots of little additions for players to find that add and complete parts of the story. Elsie’s photo’s litter parts of the levels as holograms of her appear at certain points. And her audio tapes can be collected for further info.

Even in this short preview The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone feels like Cloudhead Games has really started to find its VR feet, offering an experience that the studio knows needs to be bigger and bolder than the last. 2016 had plenty of short titles that tested the waters of VR, however in 2017 those are being replaced by videogames that require plenty more attention and time from players. Simply making episode 2 continue the story with no advancements in gameplay wouldn’t be well received, thankfully this doesn’t seem to be the case and VRFocus is looking forward to see how the fully released The Gallery – Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone turns out.