4A Games, the developers known for the Metro series of post-apocalyptic shooters, brought their latest project to this year’s Game Developers Conference. Called Arktika.1, it’s an exclusive for the Oculus Touch. Polygon had a chance to try it out.
Arktika.1 is another kind of post-apocalyptic game, something that executive producer John Block is calling it a “silent apocalypse.” Just 80 years into the future, global warming causes the entire planet to freeze over. Huge migrations take place and nations collapse.
“The only really comfortably habitable region of the planet is wrapped around the equator,” Block told Polygon. “So, this game takes place in one of the colonies that was built on the remains of a city that was in what now is Russian territory. But in the future, there are no countries anymore. There’s just colonies and cities that have formed out of the rubble that used to be society. You play as a mercenary that’s sent in to protect a facility at this colony that provides the resources for the cities in the equatorial region.”
Instead of the grimy, ramshackle world of Metro, Arktika.1 is far more futuristic. Players wield laser weapons and teleport from place to place around the map. Instead of a traditional user interface, information like health and available ammunition will be projected from the player’s wrist from inside the game world.
“From the beginning, we wanted to make something that was AAA in scope,” said Block, “It is going to be a significant sized game, probably one of the larger, if not the largest right now, as far as scope of content.”
Polygon had a chance to play about a third of a single level of the game. It took place in a travel hub, and featured indoor and outdoor environments. The player runs through a training simulation, then uses a variety of weapons to take down both enemy soldiers and drones in the field, all while teleporting between different pieces of cover. Block said that the game would have twelve environments in total.
“We’ve spent a lot of time trying to make sure that we’re utilizing the full potential of the Touch controllers and hand presence and interacting with the world. Even when you start in the vehicle, there’s toys and the standard stuff to play with and pick up. But in the levels there’s a lot of interactivity. There’s cover points that you can interact with to slide or swing panels open or closed in order to provide yourself with more cover at a point, or less cover at a point. You’ll be able to interact with the environment in puzzles. Some areas you’ll have to try to figure out how to turn on power again or reroute server connections, things like that, in order to accomplish your missions.”
There’s also a lot of interactivity with the guns themselves. Each one handles differently. A futuristic revolver, for instance, had a charge shot that was achieved by pulling back on the hammer, represented by the Touch controller’s thumbstick. To reload, you had to flip the controller to one side, dropping the chamber and quickly refilling it before snapping it back into place. Other weapons were reloaded on your hip or over your shoulder, mimicking the placement of holsters on the avatar’s body.
All of the weapons in the game feature attachments and modifications, like optics, scopes and silencers. Players will be able to customize their equipment, even applying colors and skins with a virtual can of spray paint, before they begin a mission. Block said the game would even include one completely modular weapon platform, allowing players to mix and match magazines, emitters and barrels to create truly custom-made firearms.
Arktika.1 is expected to launch exclusively on the Oculus store sometime in the third quarter of 2017. Pricing has not yet been released.