OFF THE WALL
The world’s first virtual reality rock climbing video game.
A MONUMENTAL SHIFT is coming to the video game world this year with the arrival of long-awaited virtual reality headsets. Crytek, a major video game studio known for state-of-the-art technology, will be launching The Climb, a game that emulates real rock climbing. We spoke to executive producer Elijah Freeman about the experience of virtual climbing. We wanted to create a special experience, designed specifically for this new virtual reality (VR) hardware. We took some of our best prototyping designers and thought, “Hey, what could we design that would make sense in VR?” Climbing wasn’t our focus, but we have rock climbers on the team. They began experimenting with the verticality and built a [very basic] prototype. The sense of scale you got from climbing up and seeing the environment was amazingly fun, and we knew we had something special. Then the other climbers in the studio got really excited and started gravitating toward it. The game started taking shape, and there was no other option than to move forward. I wouldn’t call it a simulator, but it is certainly a climbing adventure that you can have from your living room. a more natural position. You’re climbing for fun, but you’re looking for speed and accuracy. As you move up into the more difficult routes, we introduce different hand grips. There’s a crumbling hand grip, for example. That one gives you a couple seconds on before it falls away. There’s a chalking mechanism also. If you chalk up, your stamina drains slower. All these things combined make really interesting routes and gameplay. The headset is tracked, so wherever you look, that’s where your hand lands. You’re also holding controllers. Pull the trigger and you’ll grab the handhold. That’s how it works with the basic game controller, but eventually, we’ll be using the Touch controllers [a more advanced controller]. Then you’ll raise your hand up and pull the trigger to grab something. nature. We also have a German/Austrian Alps location, and the rest we’ll be announcing at launch. They go on field trips to the gym on a regular basis, at least to investigate certain kinds of handholds and things that will be evident when you play the game. Our intention wasn’t to go out and build a rock climbing game. We built it from the ground up as a fun mechanic for VR. It just lent itself to rock climbing. While we didn’t intend to make it a simulator, the guys that climb on a regular basis say it feels really accurate to the sensation of climbing, at least as close as you can get in a game. The climbers on our team added a lot of little nuances that make it all the more enticing for rock climbers.
VIRTUAL ROCK CLIMBING IN VIRTUAL HA LONG BAY, VIETNAM.