Battlezone's free Gold Edition update makes VR headsets optional
The gilded age of tank shooters
Those without fancy VR future-goggles can now enjoy the neon tank-wars of Rebellion's Battlezone. While I'd assumed that the Gold Edition update for the game would be a separate release or some manner of paid upgrade, I'm happy to be wrong here. Today, the Gold Edition rolled out as a free update to all existing players, opening the door to a whole new set of players.
This particular iteration of Battlezone (not to be confused with the recent Battlezone: Combat Commander) is a multiplatform, VR-centric tank shooter with a pointedly old-school vibe and a dash of roguelike randomness in its procedurally generation levels and missions. Formerly exclusive for the fancy headgear club, the Gold Edition update allows anyone with a monitor, a gamepad or mouse and keyboard to join in.
The (entirely cosmetic) DLC has been made free as of this update, letting you paint your tank in a range of even more lurid colours and decorate the cockpit with 2000AD-themed bobbleheads. They've also made cross-interface multiplayer possible, and it should be interesting to see which control method - if any - has the advantage now.
While they were monkeying around with the engine, Rebellion took the opportunity to tune up the game a bit in general. Environments over the course of a campaign should now be more varied, AI should now be less likely to get lost while navigating, the radar should be easier to read and a few balance tweaks have been made to weapons and end-of-level rewards.
To help make sure that players can communicate, they've also added text chat via keyboard, which should help smooth over any gaps left in multiplayer, assuming the text is chunky enough to read in VR. They've also cleaned up a few long-standing bugs, which you can see in the full patch notes here.
Battlezone: Gold Edition is available now via Steam for £30/35€/$35.