Veteran VR game studio Stress Level Zero has been very generous with previews for its upcoming game; Boneworks has made its rounds on various YouTube channels affiliated with studio co-founder Brandon Laatsch over the past year. And, well, the team has certainly piqued our curiosity. Today, a new trailer surfaced offering a December 10 release date. Boneworks will arrive on Steam and is confirmed to work with the Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and the Windows Mixed Reality line. There’s still no word on a launch price.
The game is being heralded as the first “real” VR game by those who have followed its development. But what has interested parties so invested? Boneworks succinctly describes itself as an “experimental physics VR adventure” on its Steam page. This tagline could not be more appropriate, alluding to the game’s hyper-realistic, physics-based object interactions. Virtual reality as a whole has yet to deliver on the promise of in-depth interactions. Why have such cutting-edge controls when players can do less than they could with a controller? Stress Level Zero plans to rectify that fault and others with Boneworks.
Every object and obstacle in the game world can be acted upon in ways players expect of their real-world counterparts. One preview has the player dual-wielding crowbars, using them as hooks to aid in climbing. Another spotlights the myriad ways in which players can toss around and damage enemies. In the game’s latest trailer, viewers can check out how these advanced physics and interactions open up new doors for players.
The future is now
The video is less of a trailer and more of a condensed walkthrough, ending with the release date. The six minutes of footage spotlight the high degree of agency being afforded by the game and its usage of VR. There are hints of a storyline as the player traverses the environment, pushing open doors and climbing obstacles. The interactions get more and more complex as the player starts picking up tools to dispatch foes and solve puzzles. It’s a dazzling snapshot of what the future could hold for VR.
Boneworks also places heavy emphasis on combat — ranged, melee, environmental hazards, and more. Stress Level Zero is no stranger to VR gun combat, as evidenced by one of its first endeavors, Hover Junkers. But while it looks like players will get plenty of firearms to toy around with, manipulating everyday objects is the ticket to a better time.
Each room is a personal playground; players have the freedom to experiment and be creative. If all goes well, Boneworks will set the bar for the games that follow. Stress Level Zero has also revealed plans for a Boneworks-related project coming to Oculus Quest next year.