Windows Mixed Reality Goes to Pre-PAX West 2017

By Rebecca Smith, 2 months ago
Before the start of PAX West every year, Microsoft's custom is to hold an event where they open the doors to players willing to try out a number of ID@Xbox titles. The Pre-PAX ID@Xbox Open House event was open to anyone for free and this year saw a couple of thousand people turn up to try these upcoming games. This was also the first time that the gaming public got to try out Microsoft's upcoming Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

The Mixed Reality headsets incorporate built-in sensors that track the player's position without the need for any external sensors, making them ideal for plug in and play moments. There will be a variety of headsets and motion controllers available from companies such as HP, Lenovo, Dell, ASUS and Acer. Headsets alone will start at US$299 and bundles of headsets and controllers will start as low as US$399. October 17th is the magic date — the headsets will become available on the same day as the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update arrives.

  • Acer will offer their Windows Mixed Reality Headset with motion controllers. When the headset is paired with the controllers you can take advantage of the full position and rotational tracking in the headset to easily create content or play games.
  • ASUS’ Windows Mixed Reality headset will be available in Spring of 2018 and will offer a unique design with a pattern of hundreds of 3D polygons and glossy tone-on-tone effect.
  • The Dell Visor features high resolution 1440 x 1440 LCD panels for a sharp and smooth 360° panoramic experience for an “as-if-you-are-there” view. It’s thoughtfully engineered for comfort and convenience with well-cushioned head and face padding that allow for comfortable wear, even for users who wear glasses.
  • The HP Windows Mixed Reality Headset will also be bundled with motion controllers to provide great Mixed Reality experiences.
  • The Lenovo Explorer headset is ergonomically designed and optimized for comfort so you can immerse yourself in mixed reality experiences for long periods.
WMR Headsets

Two types of PC will be compatible with the headsets:

  • Windows Mixed Reality PCs: will consist of desktops and laptops with integrated graphics. When plugged into these devices, our immersive headsets will run at 60 frames per second.
  • Windows Mixed Reality Ultra PCs: will consist of desktops and laptops with discrete graphics. When plugged into these devices, our immersive headsets will run at 90 frames per second.
WMR Games

As well as providing compatibility with Steam content, Microsoft is currently working with a wide range of developers and publishers to bring games to Windows Mixed Reality. This includes 343 Industries, who will be bringing "future Halo experiences" to the devices. A lot of these partners were revealed in the image above, but you can also see footage from some of the titles in the trailer below.


Seven of these games were at the Pre-PAX ID@Xbox Open House; here is the lowdown on those titles.

Arizona Sunshine

Vertigo Games has joined forces with Jaywalkers Interactive to create a title that tasks players with surviving a zombie apocalypse. In this post-apocalyptic southwestern America, you'll go on a journey in search of other humans in the campaign mode after hearing a voice on a radio. Alternatively, there's co-op multiplayer for two players or a Horde mode that supports up to four players. Players will explore the world through a choice of teleportation or locomotion movement. Weapons, gear and consumables will be handled by real life movements too. Manage your ammo and aim down the sights of your gun to make your point known in as emphatic a way as possible. The title will launch with Windows Mixed Reality on October 17th.


Fantastic Contraption

Radial Games' and Northway Games' upcoming title is part puzzle, part builder. Players are taken to a floating island in the sky. Animals lounge around on the moon. Singing whales float around in the sky. It's not a conventional world. Your task is to get a nameless and squishy pink blob to his goal through 50 levels, be it to cross a gap, get underneath the floor, manouevre around the corner or other seemingly menial tasks. To do this, though, you need to construct something, anything, that can get him there, because this blob is unable to move under his own steam. You'll construct these contraptions using the items in your toolbox, or rather the items that are carried by Neko, a "green cat that is powered by rainbow farts". He seems to have wheels, rods and other useful items stored in his back and he doesn't seem to care if you remove them. Good job, really. The title will be appearing this holiday season.


FORM

Charm Games' adventure confines players within the human mind. Players assume the role of Dr. Devin Eli, a gifted physicist who works at the global technology mega-conglomerate Mindful Laboratories. He works in solitude at a research facility in Alaska and he's searching for the meaning behind a mysterious signal that's coming from The Obelisk, a secret artifact of unknown origin. Thanks to childhood trauma, Dr. Eli has the power of geometric visualization, which he uses to follow the signal through the artifact and explore dream-like memories within his own mind. Will you find a new existence or will you become trapped in your past?


Luna

Funomena's upcoming title puts players in a seemingly peaceful forest. One summer evening, the peace is disturbed by a mysterious, haunting song. An Owl convinces a young Bird to swallow the last piece of the waning Moon, as you do, but an unexpected storm then blows the Bird far from his nest. The only way that he'll find his way home is to reunite the fragments of the Moon (by eating them?), re-awaken the dark forest and find its hidden creatures. Players will do this by solving puzzles and creating "miniature musical worlds". You'll get to try out the title this fall.


Skyworld

Vertigo Games' second WMR title sees them team up with Wolfdog Interactive to create a classic strategy game. Players will rule over animated fantasy worlds that will come to life around them. All of the Skyworlds must be reunited and you'll do this by managing your economy, building and leading royal armies and defeating the forces of evil. The gaming sessions and controls have been optimised for VR, as well as providing feedback to the player. Accompanying the campaign will be an online multiplayer mode — while this is cross-platform on Steam, it's unknown whether it will be cross-platform on WMR.


Space Pirate Trainer

I-Illusions' first person shooter puts players in the middle of the classic experience that they used to have at the arcades during the summer. Armed with "all the weapons and gadgets you would ever need as a Space Pirate", players must defeat waves of droids while dodging their incoming lasers. Your shields won't save you if you want to top those leaderboards. You'll be able to try it for yourself at the end of this year.


Superhot VR

Released 18 months ago on Xbox One, SUPERHOT Team's first person shooter has been experienced by over 7,500 TA members. Now the VR version, remade from the ground up to account for the technology's capabilities, is coming to WMR in the future. Part shooter and part puzzle game, time only moves when the player does. If you find yourself overwhelmed by enemies, you can stop, consider your next moves and try to predict those of your enemy before it's too late. Will you defeat the enemies that are coming from all sides or will you fall victim to a bullet that you never even saw?


Will you be trying out Windows Mixed Reality or will you be sticking to the traditional gaming experience?
Rebecca Smith
Written by Rebecca Smith
Rebecca is the Newshound Manager at TrueGaming Network. She has been contributing articles since 2010, especially those that involve intimidatingly long lists. When not writing news, she works in an independent game shop so that she can spend all day talking about games too. She'll occasionally go outside.