Robo Recall: Set to Release This Year, But is Discontent Brewing?

Robo Recall, the much anticipated full title sequel to the Bullet Train Demo, was revealed last year. A lot of hype started to brew around the upcoming title, due in part, to the developers behind the game, Epic Games. Another element that helped people jump on the hype train was the fact that the Bullet Train demo was so good and we definitely wanted more.

Robo Recall botsSome of the bots you will be up against in Robo Recall.

More on Robo Recall

If you haven’t heard of Robo Recall yet, then here’s the down-low: This is the sequel to the Bullet Train demo Epic Games used to showcase their new Unreal Engine 4 capabilities in conjunction with Oculus. People loved the demo so much that they decided to turn it into a fully-fledged game. Epic Games received funding from Oculus to develop the game because it’s budget would never have been able to be funded through sales alone. It also meant that the game is free and an exclusive Oculus Home title. Which sparked a lot of debate.

Robo Recall Announce Trailer

The Story: The robots that were made to help humanity are now rising up and you have to help stop them. Tech Repairman turned Recaller, you now have to use any means at your disposal to destroy the evil bots. Armed with a vast arsenal of weapons, including your fists, you head to the streets to take up arms against the uprising.

The game has some wacky elements, like ongoing commentary from the robots themselves and an arcade-style approach to design.

New Developments

There’s still no set release date yet and everyone’s hoping for a January release. Although, we’ve seen games get postponed before. So honestly, as long as they stick to the 1Q of 2017 launch as planned, I’m happy.

Robo RecallYour cute cat videos have corrupted me.
Some new updates have been released, however, in the form of videos explaining the arcade-style of the game as well as the narrative and backstory. Apparently, the robots started to go bad because they watched too many cat videos on Youtube and became corrupted. So they started to rebel against society. The developers certainly haven’t added any deep-seated meaning behind their creation. Nor is it intended to be a statement on the future of robotics or humanity. “We’re not taking ourselves too seriously,” said Lead Designer on the project, Nick Donaldson.

There’s also an AI in Robo Recall, called Dolores, who functions as the AI for Roboready, has a very GLaDOS-like feel to her, and functions as your guide through the game. Roboready is the company you work for in the game. But as a Recaller you’re constantly reminded by Dolores of the dangers of your profession, because instead of a normal name, you’re called Number 34. And she doesn’t hesitate to remind you how about how replaceable you are.

The Public Debate About Robo Recall

There’s been a lot of debate going on about the decision to make Robo Recall an Oculus Home exclusive. Some people are negative about it – especially Vive players, who feel excluded. Some are asking if the game will work with the Revive hack and some others are asking why Oculus doesn’t simply let Vive players make use of the Oculus Store.

But this issue has been a well documented to and fro between the two companies. Apparently, Oculus is more than willing to add support for headsets like the Vive. But HTC, on the other hand, isn’t willing to go the direct route and rather want them to add SteamVR support to their drivers and support Vive indirectly through that route. Oculus, however, does not want to go about the situation in such a roundabout way. There’s a lot of speculation as to why HTC wants it to be done that way. Some say that HTC may be unwilling to give them low-level technical information on their headset, while others counter that it may be HTC’s connection to Valve that’s the hindrance, due to some terms in their contract. Either way, neither Oculus nor HTC seems to be commenting publicly on the matter.

Tim Sweeney Talks Oculus

Recently, though, in an interview with Glixel, Tim Sweeney spoke about his feelings on the matter. Among other things, he spoke at length about his views on open software and said that companies shouldn’t have a monopoly on content. “If the platform maker wants to provide their own store, they can do that. They can curate it, censor it all they want. But it cannot be the only store. That is not an acceptable outcome in a democracy,” Sweeney said.

When asked about Oculus following this same type of model he said that he does think it’s the wrong model to use. He continued by saying that, “When you install the Oculus drivers, by default you can only use the Oculus store. You have to rummage through the menu and turn that off if you want to run Steam. Which everybody does; It’s just alienating and sends the wrong message to developers.” But Sweeney doesn’t seem to be holding any grudges.

Instead, he said that Oculus has an awesome store and that he simply wants to see it survive, which he doesn’t foresee happening if it doesn’t start including support for other PC headsets. “Ultimately, the open platforms will win. They’re going to have a much better selection of software. HTC Vive is a completely open platform. And other headsets are coming that will be completely open,” he said. According to Tim Sweeney, HTC outsold Oculus 2-1 last year, worldwide. And he doesn’t see that changing anytime soon. No official, comparable sales figures for 2016 have been released yet, however.

Tim brings up a lot of touchy points. And this isn’t the first time he’s talked about the subject either. He’s been quite outspoken about Microsoft’s Universal Windows Program. What I’m wondering is how does the rest of the development community feel about it? Is discontent brewing over the fact that exclusivity is limiting their content and possibly diminishing sales?



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