Announcing ‘Asgard’s Wrath’, the Latest from Oculus Studios

Oculus Blog
Posted by Mike Doran, Oculus Studios Executive Producer
February 5, 2019

Hi there—I'm Mike Doran, an Executive Producer at Oculus Studios. Some of you may recognize my name from Discord or Reddit. Today, I can finally reveal our next Studios title: Asgard’s Wrath, from Sanzaru Games! Just show us the game already, you say? Ok, ok. Here’s a badass trailer:

In Asgard's Wrath, you’ll battle as a mortal and rise as a god in a Norse-inspired action adventure with a heavy helping of RPG elements. And it‘s coming to Rift in 2019.

Step Inside the Saga(s)
It's the twilight of the gods, with Asgard’s inhabitants consumed by bickering and selfish exploits. You, Fledgling God, are birthed in an explosion of light—a clash of primordial forces of nature. Your story begins in medias res with a dramatic, action-packed encounter with Loki. He takes great interest in your potential and offers to give you with befitting a true god. Before that can happen, Loki has several requests to test your worthiness. Each revolves around a standalone scenario, or Saga, wherein you must use your powers to help preordained Heroes of the Realms fulfill their destinies.

Sanzaru has been working on this title for years—it’s as much a passion project as it is a technical achievement for VR. With four movement-heavy VR titles under its belt, Sanzaru is leading the industry’s exploration of physicality and IK, translating full-body movement seamlessly into an immersive VR experience. I’ve had the honor of collaborating with them on Asgard’s Wrath through many different experiments and genre shifts that got us to what you see today, and that’s only a brief glimpse of what’s in store.

Mature Melee Mechanics
There’s a ton of stuff that we can’t wait to share with you. First up: combat. IMHO, Sanzaru has cracked the code on bringing visceral melee combat to VR. The fighting mechanics in Asgard’s Wrath anchor the title, require skill, and encourage physical movement. It’s visceral, satisfying, and just fun.

This is not just another physics simulator. There are some really cool physics sandbox melee projects in VR. We’re taking it a step further with Asgard’s Wrath, giving players a melee fighting system that leverages physics and is supported by game rules that demand—and reward—playing with skill. In this game, you can’t just swing wildly and be successful. That might work against some lesser enemies, but eventually you’re going to get your butt handed to you that way.

We’ve also incorporated some brutally satisfying dismemberment. One of my favorite things to do in-game is to use a shield to “catch” thrown enemy weapons like daggers, yank them out, and throw them right back. Another great moment is swinging your weapon to knock decapitated monster heads through the air. Physics, time dilation, dismemberment, ragdoll, and a ton of tuning and polish come together to complete the core foundation of our combat. Each of the mortal heroes has their own signature gear and unique gameplay mechanics. On top of that, we also have metagame loops that augment combat, such as crafting, disposable weapons, elemental traits, and other things yet to be revealed.

Shifting Scale
Player scale is a crucial component of the game, and you can get a brief glimpse of it in the trailer above. The ability to swap between human and god modes is a clever use of the sense of scale only possible in VR. It gives you a unique way to explore the world of Asgard's Wrath, which contains some of the most detailed environments of any VR game so far. You’ll need to swap between the god and mortal hero forms to solve puzzles and overcome challenges to advance through the world. Way back when we first started prototyping this game, the player was always at god-scale. Eventually, we added a mortal hero to mix things up and give the player something to protect and support. Sanzaru then had the breakthrough idea to let players swap back and forth between God and hero, which really opened up the game’s potential to become far more expansive than we had originally envisioned. Add in quests/sidequests/a bunch of other metagame loops, and the action adventure that you see today was finally realized.

Exploration Evolved
Throughout Asgard’s Wrath, you’ll be incentivized to return to previously explored areas as you unlock new abilities that open up more of the world—there’s plenty of stuff to do and see each time you visit an area, both as a god and a mortal hero. But you need more than your own skills to survive. Using your god form, you’ll capture and convert certain wildlife into animal warrior companions for your mortal hero. We show just a tease of how this works in the trailer, and I can’t wait to share more.

More to Come
Be sure to check out the March issue of Game Informer magazine (digital issue out now) for a deeper dive into their exclusive Asgard’s Wrath gameplay session and discussion with Sanzaru. We’re excited to get you hands-on with the game, starting at GDC this March. Stay tuned to our “Project Forge” Discord channel for updates and sneak peeks before then.

And I didn’t even get to talk about our asynchronous multiplayer feature yet. Next time...

See you in Wrath,

— Mike