When Seeking Dawn debuted at Unity’s Vision Summit in 2017, UploadVR called it “a hugely ambitious VR shooter.” Today, we’re excited to share that this visually stunning game combining survival, combat, and crafting in a hostile alien environment is now available on Rift.
Seeking Dawn’s PC release is cross-platform across Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality, so you can enjoy co-op campaigns with a wide range of VR gamers—or you can play through 10+ hours of survival adventure solo.
What was the initial inspiration behind Seeking Dawn? How has the title changed over time?
Freeman Fan: Most VR games are simple experiences based on simple gameplay mechanics. While we certainly enjoy those games, we also long for the full-length, full-feature gaming experiences found in console games like Borderlands and Horizon Zero Dawn. We set out to build a game in VR that’s as beefy in game content and features as some of our favorite console titles, and we hoped to create a title that a hardcore gaming audience would find highly enjoyable.
We had to cut down on features during the course of development because the original game design was way too ambitious. We had to remove an MMO component and a PVP feature, but we were able to develop most of the features we wanted to have in the game.
The original design was more focused on survival mechanics, but as development progressed, we opted for a more combat-focused direction. We feel that meshes better with the sci-fi setting of the game.
What motivated you to build a survival game in VR? What drove your decision to incorporate crafting elements?
FF: We focused and listed several key points on what VR headsets could offer players. Among them there were immersion and oppressing sensations. That’s why we went for a beautiful realistic survival shooter, and crafting mechanics were added to make exploration a more important part of the gameplay. When everything was put together into a complete prototype, we knew that, even if it was going to be a huge challenge, it was the way to go.
What can you tell us about the game’s full campaign?
FF: The campaign was designed to capture the best of an exciting FPS experience, then plunging that into a unique, otherworldly setting that hadn’t been done before. With regards to the backstory, it was decided early on that the game would take place in the Alpha Centauri system, involving a civil war between two human factions. However, we realized two things: We wanted to distance ourselves from more typical military shooters, and we wanted to take advantage of VR, which meant immersing players in environments that they would never be able to experience anywhere else. To this end, we constructed the alien world of Seeking Dawn, which is where the player’s mission takes place.
The protagonist is James Weston, whose goal throughout the game is simply to uncover the fate of an allied team that went missing several weeks prior. Standing in his way are the hostile indigenous creatures referred to as “Ferals,” as well as the forces of the enemy human faction, the ACC. The campaign leads the player through a series of clues that reveal the reason the others arrived in the first place—and culminates in a boss battle in order to leave the planet.
The entire campaign supports multiplayer co-op for up to four players.
How did you navigate the challenges of delivering a robust narrative campaign in addition to deep gameplay and replayability?
FF: Having to balance a lot of different goals was pretty tricky. On one hand, we wanted to give VR players a more freeform experience instead of the linear affairs or on-rail shooters they might be used to. This meant designing around a format where players are free to go where they please, revisiting old areas without the immediate urgency of only and always moving forwards. At the same time, we also wanted to provide them with concrete mission objectives, to make sure they had a sense of purpose. Jumping into a science fiction setting, we did our best to keep things plausible, fleshing out the background with optional intel that people interested in lore could take their time reading, but which could be skipped over by players who wanted to get into the action right away.
What’s next for you? Any exciting projects in the works?
FF: We actually have some really great projects in the works that range across all types of gaming genres. We’re so excited to be able to reveal what’s behind the curtains once we’re done riding the Seeking Dawn hype train!
We want to take this moment to truly thank all of our passionate community members, media partners, influencers, and advisors. Their ongoing feedback and undying support played a big role in shaping up the lore and gameplay mechanics of Seeking Dawn. We can’t wait to see what everyone thinks about the mysteries that lurk inside the alien wilderness—and the surprises we have in store in the near future!
Thanks for giving us the low-down, Freeman. We can’t wait to hear what the Rift community has to say.
Put your survival skills to the test and explore a breathtaking alien world in Seeking Dawn today!
— The Oculus Team