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35 VR Games We Can't Wait To Play in 2016

35 VR Games We Can't Wait To Play in 2016

As the three major headsets prepare for consumer release in 2016, the phrase ‘content is king’ is fresh in our minds. 2015 brought us a number of great demos and some fantastic Gear VR titles like DRIFTOrion TrailGunjack, and Smash Hit. However, as we head into the “Year of VR” the games and experiences are only going to be elevated with titles with long development cycles and big budgets enter into the fray.

The release of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR, will bring with them hundreds of new and exciting experiences, but there are a few that we are extra excited to play in the next year. Games that will take us on amazing journeys to space, into our dreams, fantasy lands, wild versions of the future, and much more. After this year, gaming will never be the same – and these 35 titles are going to help shape that future.

Without further adieu, these are the 35 games (that we know of) we are most excited to play in 2016, presented in alphabetical order:

Adr1ft 

505 Games & ThreeOneZero

AD1FT is a first-person astronaut survival experience coming to each of the major headsets in 2016. As the lone survivor of an accident at the space station you’re tasked with finding the cause of the accident, all the while battling time as your suit leaks oxygen out into the void.

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

Allison Road

Lilith Ltd.

A first person horror experience, Allison Road may be among the scariest titles on this list – and also among the prettiest. The developers have yet to completely confirm which platforms the game will support but according to the website the game will have “native VR support” though they have only tested it on the Oculus Rift DK2 (as far as has been confirmed). The title will be headed to the PlayStation 4, so it seems likely that it may support PSVR as well. In VR, there’s no playing the game with the lights on.

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (expected), PlayStation VR (rumored)

The Assembly

nDreams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5643BmYx4U

The Assembly is an adventure game set in a secret science lab where all sorts of morally questionable work is being done by scientists looking to make “progress for the sake of progress.” The game puts you in the shoes of two different characters, a lead female character by the name of Madaline who is being brought into the mysterious facility against her will, and a scientist named Cal who is already working at the facility but “is not quite comfortable with what is happening.” Designed by nDreams for VR “from day one” we walked away from our first play test at E3 impressed and eager for more.

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

Arizona Sunshine

Vertigo Games & Jaywalkers Interactive

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEnUIGiPeOU

Arizona Sunshine is a room-scale zombie survival shooter coming to the HTC Vive next year. In the game you are tasked with one simple thing – survive. The game was developed with one simple goal in mind: “to make you feel like a badass.” And based on our first impressions, it seems like it is doing that quite nicely.

Expected Release: April, 2016

Supported Headsets: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift (Touch support confrimed)

Bebylon Battle Royale

Kite & Lightning 

bebylon-battle-royale-baby-vr-kite-and-lightning-battle-cars

“Imagine battle mode of Mario Kart, except instead of Mario it’s babies duking it out in a Mad Max style arena,” the game’s developer told me in an interview earlier this yearBebylon Battle Royale is the first game coming from Kite & Lightning, a decorated VR studio, and it is far from what anyone expected. Relying heavily on the comedy, we fully expect to be offended by this title in the best possibly ways.

Expected Release: “May or June” of 2016 (Read: Likely E3)

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

The Climb

Crytek

No, this is not a gamified version of the popular Miley Cyrus songThe Climb takes you on a journey to the coastal mountains of South Asia for a climbing excursion unlike any other. We recently went hands-on with it and walked away really impressed by the stunning visuals provided by CryEngine. The gameplay may be somewhat limited, but this is going to be a fun one – especially with Oculus Touch.

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift Exclusive (Oculus Touch support confirmed)

Dreams

Media Molecule

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1c4hczrXxE

Dreams blurs the line between experience and game. In it you have the ability to create – well, just about anything you can Dream up. With stunning visuals and social experience sharing, Dreams may be a title that is remembered long after its release. Right now, VR support has only been hinted at (and ‘confirmed’ by one of the developers) but the company has yet to officially announce it. That said it seems like an obvious candidate for VR.

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: PlayStation VR (all but officially confirmed)

The Earthlight Project

Opaque Media Group

Created in collaboration with actual astronauts, The Earthlight Project allows players to experience the “journey of becoming an astronaut as well as the wonders and perils of space exploration.”

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (Touch support confirmed), HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

Edge of Nowhere

Insomniac

What happens when you combine an arctic exhibition gone awry with a creepy Chtulu-like monster? We aren’t sure yet but we are eager to find out! A third person adventure game with a mysterious story, it remains to be seen just how much this title takes advantage of the unique properties of VR, but Insomniac has a fantastic history of making great games.

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift Exclusive

EVE: Valkyrie

CCP Games

Up to this point, EVE: Valkyrie is the most complete game we have tried in VR. A multiplayer space dogfighter with a layered and complex classes, it is surely going to be one of the most iconic early VR titles – especially because it will come exclusively bundled with every Oculus Rift pre-order.

Read More: Hands On With EVE: Valkyrie, Virtual Reality’s First True AAA Title

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (Pre-Order Bundle Exclusive), PlayStation VR

Continue: More VR Games We Love For 2016

Fated

Firma Studios

Set in the age of the Vikings, Fated is a first-person narrative driven action-adventure game with characters who come to life. The game, which will be released episodically, aims to focus on “emotion rather than gameplay.” I had a chance to go hands-on earlier this year with the game’s demo and was impressed by the quality of the character interaction and how quickly I was able to “connect” with my daughter in the game – who reacts as you pay attention to her in a way that is uniquely possible with VR. The demo suggested a fairly layered and epic plot and I cannot wait to see how the story unfolds.

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

The Gallery: Call of the Starseed 

Cloudhead Games

One of the oldest “made for VR” games out there, Cloudhead’s The Gallery is a story that will be told in an episodic fashion starting with The Gallery: Call of the Starseed. The game will tell a narrative through discovery, with a heavy emphasis on the ability to interact with your environment. Making use of hand tracked controllers, nearly every object in the game can be picked up, examined, and played with – oftentimes with fun results (for example, if you hold a seashell to your ear in the game, you can ‘hear the ocean’ in that ear). The game also utilizes a movement system, called ‘Blink,’ that is specifically tailored to an exploratory VR experience. The Gallery is unquestionably one of the most exciting VR titles that will come out next year.

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (Oculus Touch support confirmed), HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

Get Even

The Farm 51 & Bandai

Get Even is a title that blurs the line between reality and virtual reality in more ways than one. Using “large-scale, real-world scanning”  combined with “advanced lighting effects” the game creates an environment so realistic that it appears to be nearly indistinguishable from reality. Beyond an innovative approach to the game’s aesthetic, Get Even also approaches the First Person Shooter genre with an innovative twist intertwining the single and multiplayer experiences into a single cohesive narrative that the developers say “has a deeply emotional dimension,” that relates to real life fears and situations.

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR

Hover Junkers

Stress Level Zero

Hover Junkers is an online multiplayer first-person shooter fought from the decks of hovering piles of junk (which you can customize to your liking). The game takes advantage of the ‘limitations’ of room scale by having all the action take place on your own hover boat. You are able to crouch behind cover and aim just like you would in real life. Stress Level Zero has been teasing us for months with an innovative wide open development strategy (they live stream their development sessions on Twitch) and soon we will finally get a chance to play ourselves. We can’t wait.

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: HTC Vive

The Hum: Abductions

Totwise Interactive 

The Hum: Abductions is the first in what Totwise is promising a long serious of titles in “The Hum” universe. In this first title you assume the role of Holly Sanders, a mother and wife, who is living hard days since her husband’s mysterious vanishing, months ago. Throughout the game, you will uncover the events that took place and the terrifying revelation that lies at the end. Combining fantastic graphics and a deep story with literal novels worth of lore, The Hum is a title we cannot wait to explore.

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

I Expect You to Die

Schell Games

A clever parody on spy films like James Bond, I Expect You To Die is an award winning demo from Schell Games that is currently being turned into a full game. The first level involves the escape from a gas-filled airplane cargo hold in a very Bond-like car full of money and gizmos – and a bomb. The final release will come with “at least four new levels” and “also: awesomeness” according to the developer, Jesse Schell. He continued to say that if there is interest, “we’ll surely do more.” A combination of cleverness and comedy, I Expect it to be epic.

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (Oculus Touch support confirmed)

iOMoon

Headtrip Games

The product of a former Rockstar art director who worked on games like Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto and the music composer for the Bioshock series, iOMoon is a space exploration game built for VR. In it, you play the role of a disembodied scientist who has crash landed on Jupiter’s moon IO. You are tasked with exploring the world and looking for new forms of life while trying to reach your rendezvous team. The game’s incredible visuals are matched with a pacing that is perfect for VR and a soundtrack that is shaping up to be among the best of the early group of titles (Gary Schyman is a genius).

Read More: Join the search for extraterrestrial life with iOMoon

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

Job Simulator

Owlchemy Labs

One of my personal favorites, Job Simulator puts you in the shoes of – human – in a future where most jobs have been taken over by computers. In an effort to keep man from getting too lazy everyone is forced to attend simulations of regular jobs that used to be done by human counterparts. That may sound boring at first but it is far from it. Job Simulator is far and away one of the funniest games coming to VR. The real fun comes from deviating from the jobs you are assigned to and simply goofing off in the world – just like real life.

Read More: Job Simulator shows just how fun VR can be

Expected Release: April, 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (Oculus Touch support confirmed), HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

John Wick

Starbreeze, Lionsgate & WEVR

A first-person shooter based on the popular film series John Wick, this title is expected to impress. I had a chance to try the game’s demo/trailer which was created by WEVR earlier this year. The version I was shown did not include any gunplay but it is something that will be a part of the full release when it comes out. It is worth noting that Starbreeze, who are handling the full game’s development, has a pedigree for good FPSes with the Pay Day series.

Expected Release: Spring 2016

Supported Headsets: HTC Vive and “most VR headsets” (Likely Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR)

Lucky’s Tale

Playful Corp.

Lucky’s Tale is a platformer title that has been built specifically for VR from the get go. At first glance, a platformer in VR may seem like an odd fit, but Playful has done some absolutely masterful work with the game’s camera – giving the player presence in the scene. You play as the titular character Luckey across a number of lovingly designed colorful and fun levels. Everything from the menus to the game itself feels purposeful and built around the idea of maximizing the potential of VR in a classic genre. Lucky’s Tale should most definitely not be missed.

Read More: Lucky’s Tale is the Super Mario 64 of VR

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (Bundled free)

Minecraft

The immensely popular game is coming to VR after an initial dropout in development after Oculus was acquired by Facebook. According to Oculus the game will be ported to both the Oculus Rift as well as the Gear VR – which seems like an impossible feat, until you realize that John Carmack has made it his pet project.

Expected Release: Sometime in 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, Gear VR

Continue: More VR Games We Love For 2016

Narcosis

Honor Code

Narcosis is a psychological survival horror game that takes place at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. You are stranded there after an accident and have few tools to aid you in survival. You will have to fend off sea creatures, but most of all your own mind as it begins to betray you in the depths. Unlike many horror games, Narcosis doesn’t rely on jump scares to drive the horror – rather, it uses atmosphere to create a tense and foreboding feeling for the player.

Expected Release: March 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive

Pollen

Mindfield Games

In virtual reality, interactivity is incredibly important, and that is one of the things that makes Pollen such an interesting title. The team at Mindfield has worked tirelessly to make just about every single object in the game interactive. See a basketball in the corner? Toss it in the hoop across the room. See a can on the ground? You can pick it up and examine it. See the cupboard over there? Well, you get the idea. Pollen’s plot revolves around a mysterious entity that has left your base on Jupiter’s moon Titan empty of life except, for whatever reason, your own. You are tasked with exploring your surroundings and piecing together the mystery as it is laid out in front of you. Pollen is representative of a genre being given a new life in VR, and is a world we cannot way to explore further.

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (Oculus Touch support confirmed), HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

Project Cars 2

Slightly Mad Studios & Bandai

Picture

Project Cars debuted just this year with a lot of fanfare, and for good reason. The game was developed by a number of veterans from some of the best driving games in the world, and has graphics that simply blow the rest out of the water. Seriously, just look. When it released the game had Oculus support but it wasn’t quite optimal. Project Cars 2 may be looking to change that as the company has hinted at greater emphasis on virtual reality. Combined with a decent wheel and pedal controller, you are instantly transported into a world that you may find is difficult to discern from the real one. Racing games are a natural fit for VR, and this title is among the best coming from the genre.

Expected Release: Late 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

Rez Infinite

Q-Entertainment & SEGA

When I took off the headset after my first playthrough of Rez Infinite at the PlayStation Experience earlier this year the guy demoing it to me told me “you did really well,” and my honest response back was “I did?”

Truth be told I am not sure what the hell I did or experienced in Rez Infinite but I know one thing, I couldn’t stop thinking about it afterward. It seriously was like ingesting a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, complete with the slice of lemon and brick. I wasn’t sure what was up or down but I knew I was having a good time. By far the trippiest title on this list, Rez is definitely one to try.

Expected Release: “Sometime next year”

Supported Headsets: PlayStation VR

Rigs: Mechanized Combat League

Guerrilla Games Cambridge 

PlayStation has been pushing RIGs fairly hard as a potential e-Sport title since it was launched, which is interesting because it may not be the most accessibly comfortable game on the list. Despite that, those with strong constitutions will find a game that is both fast-paced and fun, with an interesting take on the FPS competitive multiplayer genre. In it you pick from three separate classes, and pit your team against the other in a game that mixes sport and shooting in a fantastic cocktail. The goal is to shoot enough enemies that your character gets ‘charged,’ at which point you race for the goal hoop at the center of the map to score points for your team. It is a ton of fun, if you can stomach it.

Read More: RIGs the “competitive VR FPS” will test your skills… and potentially your stomach

Expected Release: Q2 2016

Supported Headsets: PlayStation VR

Robinson: The Journey

Crytek

Beginning its life as a series of tech demosRobinson: The Journey is shaping up to be one of the most gorgeous titles in VR. While there is not a ton that is known right now about the plot or characters other than “players will become pioneers by interacting with the rich ecosystem around them and unearthing incredible secrets at every turn.” All we know is there are dinosaurs and a Wheatly clone, and that is more than enough to get us super excited.

Read More: Back to Dinosaur Island (Again) Hands-on with Crytek’s Gorgeous New Demo

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: PlayStation VR

Rock Band VR

Harmonix & Oculus Studios

Oculus teased the announcement of this game prior to the Game Awards, and when it dropped it initially left some people with mixed feelings. But now that the dust has settled I think we can all agree how awesome it might be to live out your rock god fantasies in VR.

Read More: Rock Band VR On Rift Will Let You Live Your Rock God Fantasies

Expected Release: Sometime in 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (Oculus Touch support confirmed – works with peripheral controller)

Star Citizen

Cloud Imperium Games

Star Citizen is the single biggest crowdfunding success of all time, having raised over $100 million on Kickstarter since it debuted in 2014. The game will look to create a game at multiple scales, with battles ranging from EVE: Online scale strategy, to fighter dogfighting, to landing on the various capital ships and planets and going full FPS. It is essentially three full space games wrapped into one beautiful package. It isn’t clear if VR support will come at launch but it is something the developers have promised.

Expected Release: TBA 2016 (Single Player likely to arrive in 2016, full title may be delayed to 2017)

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive

Surgeon Simulator ER

Bossa Studios

Who doesn’t like pounding the guts out of an alien with a pickaxe and hammer? The wildly popular Surgeon Simulator game from Bossa Studios is coming to VR in 2016 with a new version titled Surgeon Simulator: ER (Experience Reality). In it you will be able to do just about anything but perform an accurate surgery (ok – you can, but if you do you probably aren’t any fun at parties) smacking your patient in the face with his own hands, and using wild tools like a lightsaber laser to perform “surgery.” It’s mayhem fun at its best.

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

Technolust

Iris VR

Technolust is another Kickstarted success story. Set in a world reminiscent of cyberpunk sci-fi films like Blade Runner (of which it shares a very similar visual aesthetic) and RobocopTechnolust is a game driven by exploration – like a number of other titles on this list. You get to choose how you play the game. Want to just go hang out and play games in the arcade? You can. Or you can choose to  “join the resistance and help bring down the oppressive corporations.” The whole game is very purposefully freeform because it’s goal is to allow “the player to feel as if they are actually part of the game world.” When you toss in the gorgeously scanned and lifelike human avatars, it becomes a game that we can easily see ourselves getting lost in this year.

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter VR

For a brief, beautiful and in the end, nauseating, moment The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Redux came to VR – only to be promptly pulled a couple days later citing bugs and other issues. As we know, ports are not easy for VR but the developer has confirmed that there will be a VR version of the title released sometime in the future – either as a separate game or DLC.

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive

The VOID

The VOID

So adding the VOID is kind of cheating because it is not a game but rather an entire Virtual Entertainment Center, but it is nonetheless the single most immersive experience in VR today. The company is looking to open its pilot center late this year in Salt Lake City, Utah. The center will utilize The VOID’s own hardware setup – called Rapture – as well as 4D effects and redirected walking around a world perfectly mapped to the real one. The VOID is far more than just a flashy YouTube video – it is the absolute pinnacle of VR today.

Read More: Moments of True Presence: We Step Into The Void

Expected Release: Q3 2016

Supported Headsets: Rapture

VR Sports Challenge

Sanzaru & Oculus Studios

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcTYX7S5zsM

A collection of games based on the four major (American) sports, Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey VR Sports Challenge is a game that seems poised to be the ‘Wii Sports’ of VR – a high water mark indeed given that it is the second best-selling game of all time. It is highly unlikely that VR Sports Challenge will achieve those kind of crazy sales, given that VR likely won’t have the number to support 82 million copies at first – but it may be an important cog in VR reaching a broader audience. Time will tell, but in the meantime the football mode looks like a lot of fun.

Read More: Sanzaru’s ‘VR Sports Challenge’ could be the Wii Sports of VR

Expected Release: Q1 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift (Oculus Touch Support Confirmed)

World War Toons

Reload Studios

A lot of people ask what will the Call of Duty of VR be like. Well, a team of Call of Duty vets teamed up with a prolific Disney artist to find out. Designed for VR from minute one, World War Toons is an artful demonstration of fitting a square peg in a round hole. The gameplay and design are all specifically tailored to mitigate the problems caused by VR in the genre, and they do so in a way that adds to the game itself. We have watched World War Toons grow up from nearly the beginning and it has come a long way. With a Looney Toons sensibility and a no blood approach to World War Two combat, World War Toons is a FPS that is fun for all ages.

Read More: Hands on with Reload Studios’ new VR FPS, World War Toons

Expected Release: TBA 2016

Supported Headsets: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR

 

 

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