VR is still in an interesting state. While everyone understands it to be a perfect venue for the solitary atmospheric experience (or at least so say the Resident Evil 7 VR players), it seems like it hasn’t quite got its claws into the multiplayer venue. This is especially tricky as VR specifications makes local multiplayer with multiple VR devices very difficult if not impossible, putting aside the hurdles needed to overcome for online VR multiplayer to function (player base being a primary one).
Naturally, this has gotten people experimenting with asymmetrical multiplayer. A popular one I recall playing was the co-op game Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. It was always going to be interesting how this would be ventured into by those looking to go competitive. Those wanting to face off the single bourgeoisie rich enough to afford VR and the 2+ proletariat seeking to overthrow the VR class to install a symmetrical multiplayer experience. So I managed to catch up with Martin Ashford, Creative Director for Popup Asylum (sorry for the in video mistake) who are working on the asymmetrical multiplayer VR title BeeBeeQ, which you can watch below.
BeeBeeQ is an asymmetrical VR game where bee and chef must battle it out. The VR-wielding individual is the chef who may be tasked to a level-specific objective. However, getting in the way are the bees controlled by up to 4 players, ready to sting your eyes shut or to cause you to drop whatever is in your clumsy hands. Although alternatively you can gun for a team deathmatch, as each sting gives a bee a point and every swat nets the chef a point.
So the camera guy (also known as one of my bosses) Chris Newton tried the hand-flailing VR while I decided to take out my sleep-deprived frustrations as a bee stinging him in what was a deathmatch. Perhaps oddly apt for my strange off-beat historical comparison, the VR-vs-controller sides were enjoyable to different levels. Newton gave his VR end a solid thumbs up, calling it daft fun trying to thwack bees in a style onlookers would call “channeling the spirit of Ian Curtis via dance.”
The controller side, well, I couldn’t really get into it. It might be because in a convention setting you can’t fully utilize tactics with your team quietly enough that the VR user, even with headphones, wouldn’t just hear your shouting (due to the venue sound levels). It could be because I’m not too sure what tactics could be had in a deathmatch besides “sting baldy,” which ended up leaving second one the same as second sixty. There is even the possibility it was due to a control scheme I had a bad time with (even though the developers said those with time have gotten used to them).
I felt less like I was playing for my own amusement, and more to add to the amusement for whatever individual had the goggles strapped around their head for the round. I was the AI for the mooks the player would have to knock about in an action-RPG tutorial, rather than the underdog as a hive-David takes down an overweight sweating Goliath thrashing like Neil Peart. However there is the possibility this is lessened in the non-deathmatch modes with more specific objectives to go for than pestering.
BeeBeeQ is going to sail across the sky or slump in the bushes based on two details: The first is that it is VR only (needing the VR wagglesticks as well) and that it is local multiplayer. VR multiplayer titles seems a little light, and BeeBeeQ is not a bad title, so based on that alone it may be worth flinging a couple of quid for a party distraction. It seems a title to show people “LOOK AT VR!” that allows onlookers to play alongside. Something that while isn’t a bad thing, will likely leave the bee players hungry for something more meaty.
BeeBeeQ will be getting an August 2017 release onto HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. If in the meanwhile you want to dig deeper into BeeBeeQ, you can check out their website here.