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Phaser Lock Interactive has created a real-time strategy combat game dubbed Final Assault for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. It stands out from other VR RTS games because it skips the boring stuff like building a base.
I played the game at an Oculus event. It’s coming out in late 2018 on the Oculus Rift and Touch, and it will also debut on the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Phase Lock is showing the game off this week at the Oculus Connect 5 event in San Jose, California.
The game is a sequel of sorts to Final Approach, which came out on the HTC Vive in 2016 in the early days of the new VR headsets. That game put you in the middle of a virtual reality landscape, as if you were standing in a table with miniature toys. You could reach into the air, grab a plane, and set it on a path for landing at an airstrip. It felt like you were really inside the VR space.
“We loved Final Approach, and we wanted to bring a combat aspect to that kind of gameplay,” said Phaser Lock Interactive creative director Todd Bailey in an interview with GamesBeat.
This time, you are standing in the middle of a World War II tabletop battlefield and command an assault on an enemy position. You can use your finger to touch objects on a menu, unleashing new infantry, vehicle, or air forces on the enemy.
The game is a very simple real-time strategy game, as the team realized that doing a complex game would be too difficult to pull off in VR.
“Because you don’t have a keyboard, it’s hard to do things like setting up groups,” Bailey said. “We pushed to a more action-oriented style, which is one of the reasons why we moved away from base-building and toward more strategic combat.”
You don’t build a base or spawn your infantry. The infantry are generated automatically at a prebuilt camp, and they walk down different paths, almost as if they were minions in a League of Legends game. They’re cannon fodder, and will engage anyone in their way.
You come in as the commander, calling in vehicles such as mobile artillery, tanks, anti-aircraft, or aircraft. The German commander gets a dive bomber, while the American gets a fighter to strafe the ground or fight other planes.
Once you set them loose on a battlefield, they will find a road and go down that path. But you can point at a vehicle and redirect it on another path or have it attack a specific unit. You can generate new vehicles to deploy so long as you have the resource points to do so.
“In Final Approach you could kind of stand in one place to play it,” Bailey said. “The level was built around you. These levels, we want you to move from one side of the map to the other. We definitely give you the ability to hide units behind things on the ground. You can set up ambushes and things like that.”
Bailey said the WWII setting helps because players know what to do with tanks, jeeps, and airplanes.