It’s a superb factor that HBO by no means shipped a digital actuality expertise it created a number of years in the past as an early try to take its Westworld present into VR. Within the meantime, VR has matured, and now Westworld Awakening is now prepared for prime time.
Westworld Awakening, accessible at the moment for $30, is a extra bold sport than its earlier effort. I performed a few half-hour of the sport, beginning with the start and transferring on to a later scene within the sport.
“I feel you possibly can take a look at the primary one as virtually a proof of idea. With the best way that Westworld, the world and the story, has been evolving — there plenty of methods you may take into consideration telling an attention-grabbing and thrilling story there,” mentioned Adam Foshko, the director of story and narrative at HBO, in an interview with GamesBeat. “It could lean towards introspection, as a result of there are lots of themes that run by Westworld, like reminiscence. How actual is your reminiscence of the previous? There’s the reclamation of energy. All of it leads again to a format that’s intimate. … Our method to it has developed and matured.”
Picture Credit score: HBO
To make this VR model of Westworld, HBO turned to Survios, one of many few firms that has been profitable at making VR leisure for customers. Survios has created hit VR video games like Uncooked Information, Dash Vector, and different experiences that immerse gamers in VR. Survios additionally teamed up with TV manufacturing firm Kilter Movies to make the sport. A full group of writers obtained collectively to verify this expertise had a superb story.
“This can be a full-length expertise. This isn’t a style. This can be a full product that you just’re going to take pleasure in,” Survios producer Michael Patrick Clark mentioned in an interview.
Westworld Awakening is ready throughout the second season of the tv present, which depicts the morality issues that develop in creating human-like robots with synthetic intelligence. The present places these robots in an amusement park, the place actual people can kill them for sport. By the second season, the robots are in a full-scale revolt towards Delos, the tourism firm that created Westworld.
Half one on the mansion
Picture Credit score: HBO
You begin out within the sport as Kate. You arrive at an deserted mansion set within the park’s Wild West theme. At first, you need to meet somebody who doesn’t present up.
Kate is somebody we hear solely in voice, as she thinks out loud. As you progress round as Kate, you may see her arms. However nothing else. You might be there since you’ve acquired a message that you just’ve inherited one thing. Presumably it’s the huge two-story home.
You discover photographs of individuals in your loved ones, with writing on the photographs that tells you the date of their deaths. Apparently, the legal professionals had a hell of a time discovering a residing relative for the inheritance. You need to choose issues up along with your Vive controllers. It’s not simple to do. I’d choose up footage and drop them on the ground. That half was a little bit of a trouble.
There aren’t any rewards for efficiently navigating the home. A serial killer named Hank — anyone who seems to be very anachronistic in comparison with the Westworld theme — pops out of a door and stabs you. You then fall lifeless.
Westworld gone unsuitable
After all, robots in Westworld don’t keep lifeless. You get up as a sentient AI. However Kate is as befuddled as ever. You might be within the Delos Mesa lab, the place the place the keepers usually rebuild the AI folks killed by the actual ones within the amusement park.
Nevertheless it’s in a state of chaos. Reside electrical wires cling from the ceiling and you’ve got keep away from them or get shocked. Inexperienced handles on doorways imply you may open them. You might be free to maneuver round, however you are feeling like you have to escape, as if you’re hunted.
Picture Credit score: HBO
I moved from room to room, choosing up clues that may inform Kate that she’s going to awaken and break the chains of her keepers. Every little thing seems to be meticulously crafted. Kate has to undergo some type of self-discovery. She begins speaking with one other human survivor in Mesa, and their purpose turns into to remain alive in a really harmful setting.
Kate beneficial properties some company throughout this scene, fixing issues for herself. Clark mentioned, “That’s one of many issues — on condition that it’s a narrative about storytelling, you may lay down — the connection between Kate the sufferer and Hank the killer is a really simple trope. We’ve seen that numerous instances. However then we’re ready to make use of that as a launching level. Fairly than telling that story, that’s taken as a given, after which we will inform a way more elaborate story about that relationship and that goal and why they’re.”
Westworld Awakening will debut in additional than 400 VR arcades, and it will likely be accessible to obtain on Steam. It launches at the moment on Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive for $30. It’s a single-player expertise with round 4 to 6 hours of play.