Rec Room confirms full-body avatars are in development, but they won’t replace the existing floating beans.
First released in 2016, the existing Rec Room avatars were created without functioning arms and legs. Adopting what the developers call “the best practices for VR while keeping them charming and approachable” while avoiding the uncanny valley effect, a recent blog post confirms they’ve now assembled a small team called the “Avatar Initiative” to develop full-body avatars. The studio claims this will “let us track movements better in VR” and make the game “more understandable” when shared with friends.
We love the resulting “floating bean” avatars, and know you love them too. But a lot has changed in Rec Room over the last six years. We’re now a bigger team, VR technology has gotten and continues to get better, and we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t with how you look and move in VR. Our “Wii Sports of VR” has evolved into a radically cross-platform, social UGC platform. It’s time to evolve how we can express ourselves in Rec Room. Thus the full-body avatar. The arms, legs, fingers, and feet of this new full-body option provide more opportunities for you to be who you want to be in Rec Room.
— Shawn Whiting (@ShawnRecRoom) January 25, 2023
Crucially, adopting the full-body avatar isn’t mandatory. “The option to choose the new avatar or remain a floating bean will be yours. We will work hard to not change the look of your avatar for you,” the team confirms. It also revealed that all existing items and outfits will be supported with full-body avatars. No release date was provided, and Rec Room states it wants to “share our progress as we build” so players can provide feedback.
Rec Room’s full body update follows similar steps being taken by Horizon Worlds. Announced during Meta’s annual Connect event last October, CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the social VR platform will receive third-person legs later this year, which was demoed using motion capture technology instead of live VR.
Rec Room is available now for free on PSVR, PC VR, and the Meta Quest and Pico platforms, though juniors remain banned from using it on Quest. Flatscreen editions are also available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, iOS and Android with cross-progression support.