Robo Recall was easily one of the most exciting games we got our hands on at Oculus Connect 3 earlier this month. Epic Games turned their popular Bullet Train tech demo into a full game that’s not only coming to Oculus Rift with Touch next year after the controllers release this December, but it will also be available for free when it arrives.
In Robo Recall, you’ll spend your time unloading bullets into hundreds of robots as they descend upon you from all angles. Using the Touch controllers, you can spin around and blast them away, teleport around the environment for movement, and even reach out and rip them into dozens of pieces with your bare hands. It’s a bit of a power fantasy, with a dash of humor, and the visceral gameplay does a great job of keeping your mind focused on your virtual surroundings.
“When making Robo Recall, we started with the base of Bullet Train as it stood,” said Nick Whiting, Technical Director at Epic Games during a phone interview. “There was a lot in there that people liked, such as the action, the feel, the not too serious tone, it was very over-the-top like a comic book movie. We wanted to incorporate grabbing and punching, but we just didn’t have time to do that before.”
The team at Epic locked onto that mechanic as a big part of Robo Recall and for good reason. It’s super satisfying to watch the sparks fly and metal peel off when I rip an arm or leg away from a robotic torso. It makes me feel like a hero from one of The Terminator films.
“Bullet Train was made on a short timeframe with a small group,” said Whiting. “In fact, focused work was only around 6 weeks long and about 10 weeks overall total. We learned a lot about pushing the rendering technology with it, but because of the constraints there was just a lot that we wanted to get done that we couldn’t get done. We asked what we could do if we cranked everything up to 11, and that’s sort of how we got Robo Recall. We wanted to make the ultimate tech demo.”
Based on what we’ve seen, they’ve more than succeeded. There’s still no word on exactly when the game releases or how long it will be, but you can’t argue with free. Visually, it’s a treat, and has enough action to keep you busy. Replaying levels to get higher scores and challenging friends will be a go-to option at future gatherings and demo environments.
However, you probably shouldn’t expect official support for Robo Recall to come to other VR platforms, like the HTC Vive or PlayStation VR — at least not any time soon.
“After Bullet Train, Oculus basically asked us if we wanted to turn that into a full game. So, right now it’s an Oculus exclusive piece of content because they funded it,” explained Whiting. “But even though Oculus funded the title, they gave us a lot of freedom. That’s what enables us to to give it away for free and grow the VR market.”
You can read more about Robo Recall in our full hands-on and expect to play the game when it arrives on Oculus Rift with Touch in early 2017.