We first tried Vertigo Games' VR zombie shooter, Arizona Sunshine, at the Steam VR Developer Showcase in January. Since then, we’ve been anxiously waiting for the zombie apocalypse. (Editor's note: I'm firmly against any and all zombie apocalypses.) For most of the year, Vertigo Games remained silent about the development progress of Arizona Sunshine, but the company recently ramped up its efforts to spread the word about the upcoming VR zombie game.
Vertigo Games started sending regular newsletters to its mailing list over the summer, which include details about the game’s weapons, monsters, and environments. The developer regularly treats its fans to new screenshots and tidbits of information, but the developer upped the ante with its latest update. Arizona Sunshine is set to release before the end of the year (a closed beta is imminent), and Vertigo Games wants you to know exactly what you’ll be getting yourself into before you jump into the game. The company launched a new trailer for the game that highlights the horrors that await you, but it's not your typical game trailer.
Virtual reality is hard to convey to people who have never experienced a virtual world before, but even after you have tried VR, it’s often hard to understand what a VR game will be like from screenshots or a 2D video of the gameplay. Vertigo Games tried out a new concept for the Arizona Sunshine Apocalypse trailer that helps sell the experience. If you have a Rift or Vive HMD, you can experience the trailer in VR.
The Arizona Sunshine Apocalypse trailer is a trailer, not a demo. You don’t get to choose where you go and when, like in a real game, but the VR trailer does support positional tracking so that you can move around somewhat in the scene. The freedom of movement to lean in and see the details that you want to focus on sells the idea that you are there. You’re not watching this trailer through a window, you get to be up close and personal with the zombies infesting the Arizona desert.
Unlike practically every game or movie trailer you’ve ever seen, you have to install the Arizona Sunshine Apocalypse VR trailer. And it’s not a small download either. Vertigo Games released two versions, one for Rift and one for Vive. We didn’t try the Vive version, but the installer for the Rift version is 1.2GB, and the trailer needs 2.7GB to install. The “trailer” has more in common with Epic's Showdown than it does with a traditional game trailer. Perhaps Showdown inspired Vertigo Games to create the VR trailer.
As far as we know, the Arizona Sunshine Apocalypse VR trailer is a first of its kind (unless you count Showdown), but we hope it’s not the last. Mixed reality videos are a great way to show what VR experiences are like to the general public that doesn’t have access to VR hardware yet. But as convincing as mixed reality can be, it doesn’t hold a candle to the real thing. Trailers should be tailored to entice people to want to try VR. They also need to be tailored for people who already own and love VR. What better way to capture your audience, then, than through the medium you’re audience is using?
You’ll find the YouTube version of the Arizona Sunshine Apocalypse trailer below, but if you have a Rift of a Vive, you’ll want to install the VR trailer. You can find the Rift and Vive installation files on the Arizona Sunshine website.