Beat Saber is Guitar Hero for wannabe Jedi

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“May the Force rise to meet you” as the priests and altar boys of the Star Wars universe say. In Beat Saber, a VR rhythm game described by its creators as “a mashup of Guitar Hero and Fruit Ninja”, this is exactly what happens. The Force, manifesting here as coloured panels with glowing arrows painting on them, fly toward you in time to a healthy beat. You’ve got to hit them with your laser sword (VR wand things) to keep on bumpin’. It looks neat, and much better demonstrated in the following video.

Obviously, it will not look half as graceful when you’re playing it. It’ll be out on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and the music will be composed by the developers, at least at first. Here’s what Jan Ilavsky, one of the studio heads at Hyperbolic Magnetism, had to say when we asked where the music will come from.

“We will release it on early access with our own music first. In next updates the editor will be released and probably some integration with streaming services like Audioshield has. There won’t be any procedural levels, everything will be created by hand by us or by the community, because we think this really feels very different.”

Audioshield was the VR follow-up to Audiosurf. It was made by a different developer, Dylan Fitterer, but has a similar idea. It tasks you with blocking incoming notes with an energy shield rather than slicing them with a bright stick (it was also one of our 23 best VR games on PC, says Alec). It allowed you to play songs streaming from YouTube but lacked Spotify integration when Alec last played.

As for Beat Saber, it looks fun but it has large spaceboots to fill if it wants to dance off against the original Star Wars rhythm game. It’s due for release on early access in “early 2018”.

14 Comments

  1. Idodo says:

    This looks really cool and not fun at all.

  2. Phantom_Renegade says:

    Doesn’t EA have the sole license for videogame stuff? Seeing how incredibly awful this looks, this might be the first time I’m grateful for copyright lawyers.

    • JoeD2nd says:

      If you don’t own a VR rig it is not surprising you would say that. I remember the first time I saw Space Pirate Trainer and thought, “this looks boring.” It’s a very different experience when you’re in VR. Audioshield I thought the same thing. Again, wrong.

      And there is no copyright on laser swords.

  3. BigglesB says:

    This looks really cool and not fun at all.

    Doesn’t EA have the sole license for videogame stuff? Seeing how incredibly awful this looks, this might be the first time I’m grateful for copyright lawyers.

    Harsh comments, I reckon this looks like a load of fun. While the Star Wars influence is clear, it’s not claiming to be in any way attached to the IP other than using similar looking laser swords. Doubt copyright lawyers will get involved at all, nor should they.

  4. davebo says:

    Seems like a lot to take in for a first video preview. Is this maybe on a higher difficulty level? I want to like it, but since you’re just slashing sabers around it lacks that Rock Band feel of pretending to actually play music, but also that DDR feel of dancing to the music. Just a lot of wagging your hands around. Also since it’s a VR game I assume you can’t invite friends to your house, drink some beers and play together like Rock Band.

    • Moraven says:

      Between games like Audio Surf, Guitaroo Man, Persona Dancing All Night, Elite Beat Agents etc, these games do well to make you feel like you are playing the music, be it a controller, keyboard or stylus.

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    Drib says:

    Interesting concept I suppose, but the lack of procedurally generated levels based on your own music is a bit of a weird choice.

    Still though, good luck to the devs.

    • Luringen says:

      I have never played a rhythm game with procedural level generation that generated good tracks. Some have been decent, none of them good.

  6. Luringen says:

    Here’s a slower track from the same YT channel: link to youtube.com

  7. geldonyetich says:

    for wannabe Jedi

    You underestimate the power of VR.

    That said, games like this are good exercise. I hear BoxVR is good along those lines too. I wonder which would be better for getting a workout?

  8. PancakeWizard says:

    I would’ve cited Thumper rather than Guitar Hero, but hey-ho.

  9. f0rmality says:

    Just wanna point out that the article is currently incorrect. Dylan Fitterer is the sole creator of both Audiosurf and Audioshield. They were not made by different developers, they were both made by him alone.

  10. Syrion says:

    Wow, well, that escalated quickly. I think that looks incredibly fun.

    Here’s another live video: link to youtube.com Doesn’t even look terrible playing it.