The latest Ubisoft VR offering, Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR, is set to be released in three weeks. In the meantime, we’ve received new details about the game’s gameplay mechanics.
This is not the first time Ubisoft has entered the VR space, but it is certainly the first time the company has done it with such a big and recognizable IP as Assassin’s Creed. The game was officially announced on Meta Gaming Showcase in June, generating a mix of excitement and skepticism not only within the VR community but also across the entire gaming industry.
Many outside the VR bubble recall VR games as tech demos, and there was a concern that Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR might follow suit, fading into obscurity as a short and unpolished demo experience. However, the developers, who appear genuinely proud of their work, describe the game as the full proper Assassin’s Creed game. It’s not a short VR experience that lasts just a few hours.
This is not just a VR Tech Demo
Several key gameplay mechanics are integral to any Assassin’s Creed game, and the VR version sticks to this tradition. Parkour is, of course, one of these fundamental mechanics, and in Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR, the developers have dedicated considerable effort to its implementation. “Running across the rooftops in large, open urban areas is something that really is so fundamental to the brand, that I didn’t feel like we could compromise on it.” – Says David Votypka, the Creative Director of Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR in Ubisoft’s newest video.
“From Venice to Greece, to Boston, and even new areas like Newport for Connor, they’re all what we call open map environments.“, Votypka continues. “The player can traverse on the ground, scale the walls, climb the rooftops…” While the game appears to offer an open-world experience, as described in Henry Stockdale’s hands-on experience, “You can’t explore the entirety of Venice in a single mission, certain areas are restricted but there’s still considerable freedom.“, this might suggest that the entire map won’t be fully open to players, but it could be due to the specific mission chosen for Henry’s demo.
Votypka discussed various VR parkour techniques present in the game, including basic actions like pulling yourself up while climbing or jumping, as well as the more iconic Assassin’s Creed moves such as flinging, which enables you to propel yourself in different directions, including upward, sideways, or even backward. There’s also the ability to swing from bars to reach the opposite side of a rooftop.
Stealth is another key gameplay element of Assassin’s Creed that the VR version couldn’t overlook. “It is a stealth-first game.” Says Votypka, “We’ve even built in things like cracks and holes in the walls, where you can kind of peek through.” Additionally, players will have the ability to interact with objects in the environment, such as picking up a vase and using it to distract enemies.
What about Combat?
Votypka regards the hidden blade as the “most important feature in the game.” He goes on to say, “Everybody who tried it… It was always their favorite thing in the game.” This sentiment is echoed by early reviewers, including the previously mentioned Henry, who noted that “nothing beats stealth assassinations with the hidden blade.”
Players will also have access to various weapons, including swords, tomahawks, throwing knives, bows, and one-handed crossbows, depending on the character they choose to play. The game offers three different characters, each with their unique story, set in different cities and time periods.
In their hands-on review of Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR, IGN described the combat as the game’s weakest aspect, yet one that still functions effectively. The review noted, “That’s due to the fact that enemies take turns attacking you one at a time, slowly swinging their weapons in the same easily-blocked patterns, before getting tired and opening themselves up to a right shaking.”
Comfort Issues seem solved!
As you may know, many people suffer from Motion Sickness in VR games, which appears mostly when the user is moving in the game and staying still in real life, making the brain confused about what is happening. In Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR where players, apart from just moving, need to do advanced parkour movements, solving comfort issues is essential.
Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR appears to effectively address these issues. Olivier Palmieri, the Associate Game Director, mentioned that mitigating motion sickness was a “priority from the start“, and developers have made significant progress on making several comfort options for users. These include features such as a vignette during movement, a teleportation locomotion system, and notably, an automatic parkour system that enables players to perform parkour by simply looking at their desired destination without the need for button presses.
The iconic Assassin’s Creed feature, the Leap of Faith, is also included in Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR. However, jumping from great heights into a pile of hay could not be comfortable for some players, to put it mildly. To address this, the developers introduced a “fear of heights” feature. This feature activates a grid, displaying your real-world surroundings and the ground beneath you, helping to relieve the sensation of nausea.
Release Date of Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR
Assassin’s Creed Nexus VR is scheduled for release on November 16, exclusively on Meta Quest platforms, priced at $39.99. The game will be available on Meta Quest 2, Pro, and Quest 3 headsets.