After recently bringing their deep space VR title Detached to Playstation VR, Anshar Studios is already gearing up towards their next project, Telefrag VR. Still early in its development, we got to sample the game during Gamescom where we met with Anshar.
What we know
Designed as a “1 vs. 1” multiplayer shooter, Telefrag VR is a gravity-defying first person shooter in VR where you take out your opponent by either shooting him or teleporting into him – also known as ‘telefragging’. Rounds are fast and frantic, which is a break from the norm in VR and provides challenges for those not entirely comfortable with VR – as Detached also did.
Telefrag, at least in our demo, also demonstrated the ability to walk on walls and curved surfaces – so you might see your opponent walking on the ceiling as he is looking for you. Looking in all directions, and the disorientation that comes with that in VR, is definitely part of Telefrag.
What we saw
During Gamescom, we met with Anshar Studios in the business-only area of the show, where they briefly talked about the game before launching into a hands on demo of the game – where I played against one of Anshar’s developers while another talked me through the game’s mechanics.
What we thought
Telefrag’s movement scheme took a bit of getting used to, but I quickly adapted. It doesn’t have smooth locomotion at this point, instead relying on a ‘step’ mechanic where you move forward in small increments at a time (while rotating with a thumbstick at the same time). According to Anshar, the lack of smooth locomotion was a decision for comfort reasons, so who knows if it will appear as an (optional) control method in later builds.
Though disorienting at first, Telefrag multidirectional arenas made for a fun shooting experience and plenty of opportunities to “hide” in places where the other player isn’t looking (like on the ceiling directly above him). If you remain unseen, you’ll have the ability to Telefrag into him right away, but things get a lot more frantic when you spot each other at the same time. Hit the other player enough, and you’ll find him dazed – opening up another opportunity to instantly take him out with a Telefrag. Rounds are fun, and typically over quickly, which made this a great “jump right in” kind of experience even though we have to see how Anshar ties that into different game modes (like tournaments) later on.
One concern is Telefrag’s reliance on a vibrant online community to make sure you quickly get into matches and duke it out. With its format of short rounds, no one wants to wait 10 minutes for a game to start. We’ve seen other multiplayer-oriented games fail because of this, so hopefully Telefrag will either explode in the online community or add meaningful single player/challenge modes to make sure things are interesting when other players aren’t available. I suppose we’ll learn more as development goes on.