Facebook Is Being Dishonest About These Unfinished VR Games
This is a heads up to anyone looking at the two biggest VR games of the holiday season: neither of them is finished, and it definitely looks like you’re going to have to buy the end of the game later on.
Jurassic World Aftermath and Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge are the major holiday releases for the Oculus Quest. Galaxy’s Edge is a follow up to ILMxLAB’s Vader Immortal Trilogy, while Jurassic World Aftermath was developed by Onward studio Coatsink. Both games are published by Oculus Studios, but that isn’t the only thing they have in common.
I played Jurassic World Aftermath for review this weekend, and while I enjoyed the art style and gameplay quite a bit, I was absolutely blindsided by its abrupt ending and a promise of more to come in 2021. I’m no stranger to episodic games and I certainly don’t think there’s anything deceptive about them, but with Jurassic World Aftermath, it’s a completely different story.
Jurassic World Aftermath is most easily described as Alien: Isolation VR with dinosaurs. The game begins with a crash landing on Isla Nublar, two years after the events of Jurassic World. You start the game in a round atrium with five exits and a row of switches that unlock each path. The structure of the game is plainly laid out right from the beginning: unlock a zone, complete an objective there, return to the atrium, unlock the next zone, and repeat until you’ve worked your way through all five zones.
For the first three zones, the game plays out exactly as you’d expect. You make your way through each department, dodging and running from raptors as you go, until you complete an objective and return to the atrium. After completing the third zone and returning to the atrium, the game ends. After the credits roll, you’re given the message “The story continues in 2021,” before being kicked back to the main menu where you’ll find a “Buy DLC” button. There is no price listed for the DLC yet.
This way of breaking up the game into multiple releases is obviously problematic. Nowhere does it say “Part 1” or indicate in any way that Aftermath is episodic, nor is the game listed as an early access title. Reexamining the store pages, it does say “The story continues in 2021” after the description. But without any other context or explanation, I don’t think it’s reasonable for anyone to assume that this means the game abruptly ends in the middle of the story.
Confused by the ending and feeling like I’d been misled, I reached out to a friend to let them know that Aftermath is incomplete. “Funny you should say that,” they said, “Tales From The Galaxy’s Edge does the same thing.”
After Playing Galaxy’s Edge this weekend, it doesn’t end as abruptly mid-story as Aftermath does, but it’s also painfully obvious that this is only part of the game. The store page for Galaxy’s Edge doesn’t mention DLC, but this blog post on the Oculus website reveals that Part 2 is coming in 2021.
I don’t think it’s out of line to expect episodic games to be labeled as such. It’s not a matter of price or some kind of time vs. dollars spent evaluation, I simply just want to know if the game I’m playing is the entire game or just part one. I wouldn’t have played Jurassic World Aftermath this weekend if I’d known it was unfinished, I would have waited until I could play the whole thing. Both of these games should be called “Part 1,” or otherwise clearly indicate that they’re unfinished.
I’m not certain if either of these games will be charging extra for Part 2. That would be its own separate issue if that’s the case. For now, I think it’s important for people to understand that they’re buying an unfinished game, and I think Facebook is deliberately hiding that fact on the Oculus store.
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Eric Switzer is the Livestream News Editor for TheGamer as well as the lead for VR and Tech. He has written about comics and film for Bloody Disgusting and VFXwire. He is a graduate of University of Missouri – Columbia and Vancouver Film School. Eric loves board games, fan conventions, new technology, and his sweet sweet kitties Bruce and Babs. Favorite games include Destiny 2, Kingdom Hearts, Super Metroid, and Prey…but mostly Prey. His favorite Pokémon is Umbreon.
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