The debate between whether it's better to climb by simply pushing forward, Assassin's Creed-style, or through deliberate action, Mirror's Edge-style, misses the point that climbing is always cool. A tech demo by UpRoom Games reminded me just how cool climbing is today. It's a greybox playground for you to climb around with a procedural animation system that shifts your weight and positions your hands and feet. Watch a video of it below.
I recently watched Mission Impossible 2, an awful movie where the only redeemable part is the climbing in the first two minutes. I also watched Free Solo, a terrifying documentary about a man who hates the ground and endeavours to get as far away from it as possible using only his fingertips.
Both movies left me with an appetite for more climbing in games. Not climbing as sightseeing, or VR climbing where I need to wave my arms around in the air like actually I do care, but climbing as a terrifying risk. This tech demo is not that, but it's very impressive.
There are various different kinds of things to climb in its world, including a cliff face with moving handholds, a pile of physics boxes, and a spinning windmill. In each instance, the animation system makes your movement across this artificial landscape wholly believable. It's particularly impressive any time you leap from grip to grip.
From this, it's impossible to say anything concrete about what game UpRoom Games might make, if any, but it's an impressive toy to play around with already. You can download it from Itch. And if you're interested in how it works, its limitations, and the numerous attempts it took to create, the developer has a great post about it.