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E3 2015: Five VR games to watch

June 19, 2015, 5:00 PM UTC
Courtesy of Rebellion

With HTC Vive launching later this year and Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus debuting in the first half of 2016, E3 2015 was all about virtual reality games.

Mobile companies also showcased portable headsets like the Samsung Gear VR, Google Cardboard, and MergeVR. And startups like Vuzix, Fove, and StarVR had new VR headsets playable at the show. The VR industry is expected to sell 13 million headsets in 2016, according to Piper Jaffray, and generate $30 billion by 2020, according to Digi-Capital.

With so much virtual reality to choose from, we highlight five VR games to watch in the coming years.

Developer: 505 Games and Three One Zero
Platform: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Sony Morpheus
Release date: 2016

Although the storyline and experience are completely different, ADR1FT has been compared to the Oscar-winning 3D movie, Gravity. While the game features a female protagonist who’s trapped in space and surrounded by debris, the similarities end there.

The sense of being alone in space and floating in zero gravity is truly scary and immersive in VR. The game’s story unfolds through flashbacks, where now-deceased members of the space station are introduced. And there’s no shooting or enemies to be found, just life-or-death situations like running out of oxygen or floating away from the damaged space station into space. Like Gravity, the endgame is to find a way home.

Developer: Rebellion
Platform: Sony Morpheus
Release date: 2016

One of the first-ever VR games was Atari’s Battlezone back in 1985, which featured an arcade cabinet that replicated a tank complete with a periscope viewfinder to see into the 3D world. Now that franchise has been given a complete upgrade for Sony Morpheus in VR. Rebellion has ditched the black and green vector visuals in favor of vibrant futuristic worlds with cel-shaded tanks.

This game stands out from the crowded VR gaming field because it’s easy to jump into and addictive to play—just like the original—only much improved. The Cobra tank is easy to steer and this game works great with the DualShock controller. The VR feels natural and adds to the immersion into this game world, where tanks battle to the death.


Edge of Nowhere
Developer: Insomniac Games
Platform: Oculus Rift
Release date: 2016

Edge of Nowhere is a third-person action adventure game set in the snowy arctic that sends you in search of a lost arctic expedition. The third-person perspective game features scary dark creatures that climb up from dark caves and giant flying monsters. The experience features several vertigo-inducing sequences and the pacing keeps you on the edge of your seat. This is one of the independent games funded by Oculus VR’s $10 million fun to encourage more experimentation in virtual reality.

Developer: Honor Code
Platform: Oculus Rift
Release date: 2016

Narcosis challenges the player, as an undersea miner cut off from any support, to find a way to the surface. The setting is horrifying, alone on a flooded base with only a handful of flares and a weak flashlight to use to see and a low oxygen tank. Adding to the first-person experience is a bulky metal suit with a tiny portal to look through, which limits both movement and view as you explore both inside and outside the huge mining complex.

The claustrophobic game also adds a variety of sea creatures to the mix, including face-huggers that will burrow through your mask and giant leviathans that can swallow you whole. It’s a new take on horror, and one that completely immerses you in an experience that was designed to make the most of early VR technology.

Trackmania Turbo
Developer: Ubisoft
Platform: Sony Morpheus
Release date: 2016

Trackmania Turbo is the closest thing to being on a rollercoaster, except you control the pace. In fact, you’re racing against other vehicles on courses that defy gravity and feature loop de loops and amazing twists and turns through giant courses. Ubisoft is bringing its PC game franchise to consoles for the first time, but a separate team is developing this VR version for Morpheus.

One of the few racing games for VR, this game showcases the potential when speed and wacky tracks are combined. The VR delivers a sense of theme park thrills without even leaving your chair. This game also features a passenger version where someone else does the driving so you can take in the beautiful scenery from every angle.