Crytek’s VR Walking Simulator – Robinson: The Journey

While we here at Rock, Paper, Shotgun have been ardent admirers of walking simulators for years, the mainstream video games industry is only now starting to cotton on to their wonders – and I suspect that’s mostly because expensive cybergoggles somehow make it ‘cooler’. While video games are still searching for our Citizen Kane (searching so desperately! crying ourselves to sleep over this hackneyed metaphor!), we might have found our Avatar.

Crysis folks Crytek today announced Robinson: The Journey [official site], a virtual reality game about exploring a lush alien planet and discovering its odd wildlife. It sounds like a walking simulator to me. I wonder if their recent Dinosaur Island VR demo is related.

I don’t know whether their vagueness is intentional or they’re holding back for a big reveal at a press conference this week (for goodness’ sake, please don’t mess me around any more than E3 week already does), but all Crytek have to show is two similar pieces of artwork and all they really have to say is:

“Harnessing the power of Crytek’s CryEngine, Robinson: The Journey will offer players an unparalleled sense of presence in a game world as they assume the role of a young boy who has crash-landed on a mysterious planet. With freedom to explore their surroundings in 360 degrees of detail, players will become pioneers by interacting with the rich ecosystem around them and unearthing incredible secrets at every turn.”

Aye, that sounds like a walking simulator to me.

Avatar was the first 3D movie I saw, which was also when I discovered my eyes apparently don’t work right with modern fake 3D trickery, seeing everything blurry. Imagine sitting through Avatar – all three hours of Avatar – with only its writing and acting to enjoy. Just imagine! Every Oculus Rift I’ve tried has been similarly wonky, so I’m awfully sceptical of this supposed VR revolution (not to mention the cost). How long did the 3D movie fad last?

No word yet on when Crytek will release Robinson.

28 Comments

  1. aircool says:

    What exactly is a walking simulator because it’s sounds quite boring?

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      You know those bits in Fallout or Far Cry games where you just think “whats over there” and enjoy exploring, but then get pissed off because you are forced to gun down an angry badger or accept a quest to find someone’s fertility moccasins and just wish all that stuff would piss off because the world is so beautiful and unlike any you’ve seen? Its like getting that wish. If you need to shoot things, collect things, solve things, level things up or bolt things onto other things in your first person view-based computer generated experiences (notice I didn’t say ‘game’), then walking simulators will bore your tits off. If you just want to go and explore that cliff and tell the fertility moccasin quest badger to fuck off, walking simulators, especially in VR, might just scratch an itch you didn’t realise you had.

      • Synesthesia says:

        I like this guy.

      • Ross Angus says:

        Amen. See also quiet time.

      • aircool says:

        I always go exploring in MMO’s (I enjoyed the formation Squirrels in Rift), but I played Proteus for about two hours before deciding it was utter shite.

        Would I like a walking simulator do you think?

        • aircool says:

          Oh… I do like exploring in Minecraft though, looking for cool looking areas to build a treehouse or something.

          • P.Funk says:

            I actually fail to play Minecraft regularly specifically because of this fixation. I cannot bring myself to start a proper base without first finding the ideal spot. Often this means dying and dying and dying and eventually I say fuck it.

            Mostly I think its kind of an ongoing issue of closure I haven’t made with this batch of truly spectacular Minecraft worlds I lost in an update that were my Atlantis, my Babylon. They were my most developed and my most cherished abodes. I still remember my little mountain home, tucked into the side of a peak about halfway up by the sea side. It was so perfect because there was this small clearing on the side with trees and grass and a perfect facade to carve my home into. I put up a path with rows of Birch trees on either side with food growing at the base and a babbling brook beside it. Inside I had a piston elevator that would bring me back up from the mines and an underground passage that lead to my nearby mob farm gravity machine as well as the dock to my boats I’d go explore in. It was my Bag End, truly no better a place to return to when finishing an adventure, no nicer spot to wake up when you die in a pit full of monsters.

            Now, take that image, stuff it in your brain everytime you go to start a new Minecraft world and see how hard it is to find a new starting place. I think I’m permanently fucked.

      • Psychomorph says:

        *claps hands*

  2. jarowdowsky says:

    Hmm, wouldn’t gaming’s Citizen Kane be something along the lines of Super Meatboy? Or maybe Super Mario Galaxy?

    Something that took the first generations twitch gaming lost in the move to 3D and rediscovered the possibilities of that older gaming language?

    Tongue in cheek slightly but worth bearing in mind the similarities between the challenges of introducing giant sound cameras on film and clunky polygons to gaming…

  3. ocelotwildly says:

    I take it from the screenshots that this isn’t a VR follow up to Patrick Keiller’s contemplative tour of London ‘Robinson In Space’ link to youtube.com. More’s the pity.

  4. xcession says:

    So “No Man’s Sky”, limited to one planet but in uber quality?

  5. Clavus says:

    Oh man, this is exactly what I wanted. Being stranded on a dinosaur planet with a focus on exploration. And in VR.

  6. Cleave says:

    How has the 3D film “fad” ended? I know 3D TV uptake hasn’t been high in America (but more so in Blighty I believe) but all the blockbuster films are still being released in 3D and people are still going to see them as far as I can tell.

    • gunny1993 says:

      Yeah but all the tech creators (Samsung, Sony, Panasonic etc) have pretty much given up on it, as far as I’m aware no one is working on anything to do with 3D, it’s all OLED and curved screens now (I mean, that technically doesn’t mean much on its own, behind closed door and all, but still).

      Filmakers make 3D because its not too much more work for extra profits (In the U.K a 3D ticket is like 40% extra). People still go to see it because people like to be blinded by flashy shite, just in case they actually notice some terrible acting or something.

      • Vandelay says:

        I’m not even sure if it is down to audiences liking flashy visuals. I recently noticed that evening showings of films is normally the 3D version (weirdly, this often seems to be true with animated films, like Pixar, where there is a crossover between a young audience and adults.) IMax showings are also the 3D version.

        3D is definitely dead for films. The number of films that are filmed in 3D has virtually disappeared (was Gravity the last?) with everything else being retro fitted. It is now nothing more than cinema chains and studios wanting an excuse to charge extra for the ticket. They will keep cheaply sticking 3D on films until the next thing comes along for them to charge for (it should be IMax, which does add to some films, but that probably isn’t practical for most cinemas.)

    • commentingaccount says:

      Not sure where Alice lives… Maybe 3D as a put butts in the theater seats thing is dead in her country?

      Anyhow, does this game support not playing in VR? Because it looks nice, and 3D gives me a headache on anything other than my 3DS.

  7. Monggerel says:

    quick gotta think of something clever about walking simulators

    I WALK! I SMOKE! I WALK AGAIN!

    see wasn’t so difficult
    *swallows burning cigarette

  8. LexW1 says:

    It’s pretty dead in the UK. Films usually have the option, simply to charge drastically more to people who want to wear painful glasses and get a usually-crappy/fake 3D effect (with rare exceptions like Avatar – even stuff like Avengers 2 has shitty 3D), but it’s a far cry from the “OMG 3D” deal of, say 2011 or 2012. Even the cinemas are slowly backing off it (IMAX remains solid though).

  9. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    So this is a modern high-end remake of Robinson’s Requiem, right?

    • CutieKnucklePie says:

      That was exactly my first thought! It’s an alien planet exploration game with “Robinson” in the title.. Robinson’s Requiem?

  10. jankal says:

    Are we dealing with “missing sight in one eye” or “one eye is much more dominant” stereo blindness? If it is the later people have actually started using the rift as a therapy tool for correcting the issue. So there is some bright side to the whole push for 3d/VR.

  11. SuicideKing says:

    I can see the 3D in movies, and even Nvidia’s 3D Vision, however I fail the 3D Vision test, which is weird.

  12. manny says:

    More accurate to say these are pure exploring games, seeing as ‘walking simulator’ sounds retarded. (and also the game doesn’t actually simulate walking which is actually quite complex)

  13. welverin says:

    “Imagine sitting through Avatar – all three hours of Avatar – with only its writing and acting to enjoy. Just imagine!”

    Oh, god! What did you do to deserve being tortured so?

  14. Axess Denyd says:

    I’m backward I guess. I don’t have any stereoscopic depth perception in most circumstances, but certain 3D movies (only the ones at Universal theme parks for some reason, not Disney) I see in 3D, and I see 3D in the Gear VR. I am so looking forward to when Diplopia is available on a platform that I own (I backed it the first day, but have yet to obtain a Rift).