Would you rather fill the virtual shoes of an AI helping an astronaut investigate some spooky space stuff or play ultimate Frisbee in zero gravity? Ready At Dawn Studios doesn’t want to make you choose, which is why the company made Lone Echo and Echo Arena for the Oculus Rift. Today at E3, the company announced that both games will debut on July 20, with Echo Arena specifically being available for the low price of “free.”
Lone Echo is a single-player experience designed around the Oculus Touch controllers. Ready At Dawn Studios said today at E3 that it started with the idea of having you explore something with your hands and then built the rest of the game from there. The idea is to immerse you in the worldas much as possible by having you pull yourself around, repair equipment, and otherwise interact with the station with your own two hands.
That sort of interactive experience is well suited to VR. Traditional games face a lot of obstacles when it comes to immersion, whether it’s the input device you’re using or the potential that you’re playing on a poorly calibrated TV with a sub-par sound system. VR can put everything right in front of your eyes and ears and (mostly) respond to your movements instead of having to abstract everything through button-centric inputs.
Echo Arena is supposed to offer an entirely different experience. In it, two teams of five players attempt to score on each others’ goals with a single disc, all while zipping around in zero gravity and trying to block the opposing team. It’s being offered separately from Lone Echo, and Intel announced today that it’s sponsoring the Echo Arena launch to make the game free to all Oculus Rift owners for the first three months.
That’s not all Intel’s doing. The company also partnered up with Oculus on the VR Challenger League, which will task people from around the world with competing in Echo Arena and another game, The Unspoken, for a shot at a $200,000 grand prize. This is all part of Intel’s effort to use VR and esports (and their intersection) to convince people to buy its new X-series CPUs. But it’s also a huge show of support for Echo Arena.
Lone Echo will cost $40 when it debuts, but you can pre-order it now for $35. Ready At Dawn hasn’t said how much Echo Arena will cost when the Intel sponsorship ends, and Oculus has the game listed as “coming soon,” which means you can’t pre-order it to make sure you get it while it’s free.
|Name||Lone Echo||Echo Arena|
|Type||VR, Adventure||VR, Sports|
|Developer||Ready At Dawn Studios||Ready At Dawn Studios|
|Publisher||Oculus Studios||Oculus Studios|
|Platform||Oculus Rift||Oculus Rift|
|Where To Buy||Oculus Store||Oculus Store|
|Release Date||July 20||July 20|