‘Asgard’s Wrath 2’ is Meta’s most ambitious VR game to date

One of the biggest announcements at today’s Meta Quest Gaming Showcase was wrath of asgard 2, a sequel to the well-regarded 2019 original due for release this winter. It’s shaping up to be Meta’s most ambitious game to date – it’s an action RPG that the company believes can be up there with the genre’s heaviest hitters on consoles and PC. To deliver on that promise, developer Sanzaru Games may have to push a VR headset that uses mobile technology to the limit starting in 2020.

In an overview video for the game, Sanzaru studio creative director Mat Kraemer said that wrath of asgard 2 it features “massive worlds beyond the reach of any other game on the Meta Quest platform.” Much of the action will take place in Ancient Egypt rather than the Norse setting of the first game, though you’ll still be visiting Muspelheim (a location God of War fans will be familiar with).

As wrath of asgard, the sequel features animals that you can turn into companions to help you with puzzles and combat. For the first time in the series, you can also use the animals as mounts to help you traverse the larger landscapes. Elsewhere, there’s a more aggressive approach to combat this time around, compared to the defense-based system of the original game. Previously, players had to parry and block before getting a chance to remove enemy shields. In wrath of asgard 2, they can use quick attacks to undermine shields or use skillful parries for more powerful attacks. With a fancy twist, enemies will be able to catch thrown weapons and throw them at you.

Many of the elements you’d expect from a modern action RPG are present here, from crafting, mini-games (including fishing and a slingshot shooting gallery), and extensive exploration to gear and weapon upgrades and enemies that get stronger as you do so. Both you and your animal friends have skill trees to level up. As in the first game, you will be able to manipulate the world with cosmic powers. Elemental weaponry should provide more variety and customization for the enemy, while you can possess mortals to use their skills and abilities to help them fulfill their destinies.

That’s a lot for any game, let alone one running on a similar chipset to the Samsung Galaxy S20 series. Sanzaru, who created the original game for the Oculus Rift, is developing wrath of asgard 2 for Meta Quest 2. The headset uses Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2, which is derived from Snapdragon 865.

A screenshot of Asgard's Wrath 2 from a first-person perspective.  The player character is shown holding a shield in one hand and lashing a whip with the other.  In front of the player is a large crab-like monster.  To the left is a pillar with art depicting a figure from ancient Egypt.

Sanzaru Games/Oculus Studios

While many players will be diving into the game in Quest 2, Meta Quest 3, which was revealed today, will be available at that time. wrath of asgard 2 comes out. “Meta Quest 3’s advanced processor and higher resolution will provide a better appearance within wrath of asgard 2while gamers will have more comfortable use throughout the game’s 60+ hours of play,” a Meta spokesperson told Engadget.

In any case, it seems that Sanzaru is squeezing everything he can out of the current headphones, which gave the studio more work than the Rift.

“The biggest and best thing is that we’re now working with devices that are completely wireless, untethered, pretty much the way this game should be played, because it’s very combat-focused,” said Sanzaru’s creative director, Grace Lingad. Participate. “We really focused on visceral, gesture-based, physics-based combat. Being free of sensors and external tracking cables and all that, the Quest platform has really been a game changer for the franchise.”

As for how the game might run on Quest Pro, Lingad (who spoke to Engadget before Quest 3 was announced) said Sanzaru’s focus was on Quest 2 due to that headset having a large install base. “We really want to make sure that as many people as possible can enjoy this game,” he said.

In recent weeks, critics have criticized other major action RPGs, namely red drop and Diablo IV, about the state of their open worlds outside of the main quests. Striking the right balance between having a lot to do in wrath of asgard 2 and giving players open areas to traverse on their mounts while dealing with the limitations of Quest 2’s hardware was something Sanzaru had to keep in mind.

“That’s one of the big design challenges the team had to deal with, because there are ways we can build the levels to feel like they’re sprawling, but of course we have to consider the limitations of the hardware. Lingard said. . “There’s a certain amount of negative space, which is good for the eyes, to rest the mind.

“We try to accommodate small side areas, but they are tucked away and tucked away,” he added. “It’s really for gamers, the ones who really like to explore all of that, ‘hey, there’s this little area, if I can crawl through there…’ and then you emerge into this secret monster lair and we hide some really challenging stuff in there. , very nice rewards there so that way we keep the density high but it’s not like everyone bam, bam, bam, in your face, which I think is a smart move by our team.”

A screenshot of Asgard's Wrath 2 from a first-person perspective.  One of the player character's hands is holding a leash for a panther, which they are riding on.  The other had a sword pointing towards an ancient Egyptian temple.

Sanzaru Games/Oculus Studios

Sanzaru, which Meta bought in 2020, estimates wrath of asgard 2The campaign will take more than 60 hours to beat. That’s around double the length of the original game. On top of that, there is an endless mode called Uncharted Rifts that has randomly generated dungeons. Players can dive into that mode at almost any time to loot some high-tier loot to get back into the campaign, but Uncharted Rifts could keep fans passionate well after they’ve finished the story.

Add it all up, and that’s a long time to play a game in a VR headset, particularly one with fast-paced combat. Motion sickness has been a longstanding concern for VR users. Sanzaru has taken that into account while he built wrath of asgard 2The settings and accessibility features of the .

Lingard said it was important for the team to offer a number of settings that players “can use to tailor their experience to their comfort level.” Those refer to factors like motion sickness and combat difficulty. Accessibility options include movement settings such as fast turning and smooth turning with the controller, instead of having to turn your body. It’s particularly important that a VR game give players a wide range of options, Lingard says, because the experience is “so visceral and personal.”

Since everyone’s story with VR is different, “we really strive to have a lot of configurations available.” she said. “We really want to respect people’s time. For some people, this might be their first VR game. We hope our launch is amazing and people want to see it for themselves. We want to make sure the experience is as smooth as possible. accessible and easy to enter as possible”.

In that sense, Sanzaru wanted to make sure wrath of asgard 2 welcomes newcomers to VR and people who haven’t played the first game. You can choose to view a summary of the title above before you begin

We’ll have to wait several more months to find out if the Quest 2 and Quest 3 (which are said to offer twice the graphics performance of the current model) can really support Sanzaru’s ambitions. But if you’re a fan of the first game or looking for a prolonged, immersive VR experience, it may be worth adding wrath of asgard 2 to your wish list.

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