In Japan, Bandai Namco has recently shared details about a virtual reality demo for the HTC Vive known as “Argyle Shift”. The demo will be a part of the company’s “Project I Can” campaign, which attempts to showcase virtual reality in new and interesting ways. Argyle Shift makes interesting use of virtual reality by combining the ideas of anime and mechas to put the player in the seat of a cockpit and the heat of the action. Think Knights of Sidonia but with you as the pilot.
Among the people who worked on the demo are Katsuhiro Harada, known for working on Tekken; Shinji Aramaki from Sola Digital Arts; and Takayuki Yanese, a great designer of mechas among other things. The demo utilizes the infamous Unreal Engine 4 to give you a neat perspective of being inside the robot, known as “Lucifer”, as you take it for a test run. If you’re scared of having to pilot the mecha all by yourself don’t worry, you’ll have a partner to help you on the way.
Meet Aine, your companion as you pilot Lucifer throughout the demo. While she may look human, she’s actually an intricate form of AI that will help you throughout your experience. What is interesting about Aine is that she can interpret and respond to the players inputs and actions and give help and responses when she sees fit. It’s really like having a copilot to brave the journey with you.
Many people have been debating whether or not virtual reality is the “next step” in gaming and if this is what we have to look forward to in the future. While I can’t say for sure what will come of virtual reality, this is definitely one of the coolest applications I’ve seen for it since its recent popularity. People will have a chance to try the demo on April 15th in Tokyo and give feedback based on their experience. More images from the demo can be seen below.