For the second year in a row, Meta has blown our socks off with an epic series of Quest 2 announcements, making the Meta Games Showcase (formerly the Oculus Games Showcase) a destination event for VR fans. If you didn't have a chance to watch the event, we've collected the trailers and announcements below, along with more info from the developers that didn't make it into the official event.
To sum up the event in two words, we'd go with "sequels" and "finally." We saw long-anticipated sequels to several popular titles, the VR port to Among Us we've been waiting for, and the Mercenaries DLC for hit port Resident Evil 4 VR we wished had shipped with the main game. Meta is giving gamers more of their favorites, and we couldn't be happier.
Check out the biggest releases that Quest 2 owners have to look forward to this year — including Walking Dead: S&S 2, new Beat Saber DLC, an official NFL QB simulator, and even a new Ghostbusters co-op VR game!
The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners - Chapter 2: Retribution
Following up on the excellent survival horror game Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners, Retribution takes you back to New Orleans in a 15- to 20-hour campaign where you'll scavenge new weapons and tools while dealing with the deadly consequences of your actions in the last game. As the Tourist, you'll make decisions that shape the narrative and threats you'll face, from both zombie hordes and other survivors looking for revenge.
Skydance Interactive will bring Chapter 2: Retribution to the Quest, Quest 2, PC VR, with an estimated release date of "late 2022." That gives you plenty of time to dive into the first game, which we'd truly number among the best of the best Quest 2 games available. We can only hope the sequel lives up to the expectations!
NFL Pro Era
EA may have exclusivity on traditional consoles with Madden, but StatusPRO is bringing the first licensed NFL VR experience to the Quest 2 and Playstation VR in fall 2022, letting you step onto the field and live out your quarterback dream — if you have the skills for it.
Founded and run by former NFL athletes, StatusPRO promises NFL Pro Era will use "real-time NFL game data and StatusPRO's athlete-led technology" to create an authentic QB experience, which most likely means confronting realistic pass rushes and defensive formations while commanding your offense from the huddle. It will also recreate real QB moments like running through the tunnel or completing practice drills.
The pre-alpha gameplay lacks the graphical realism of Madden, but may feel more real as you stand on the field surrounded by players. We can only hope the game will support hand tracking, as that would enhance the realism.
Among Us VR and Schell Games partnership
If you need us to explain Among Us to you, you clearly slept through the last couple of years like Rip Van Winkle, and we envy you. Schell Games, the respected developer behind releases like I Expect You to Die 2 and Until You Fall, has ported the once-viral Innersloth party game of betrayal and deception to the Quest 2 and Rift S.
Life-size crewmates (and imposters) are both more adorable and more terrifying than ever. The trailer showed you can use your hands to gesticulate, wave, or point and accuse teammates as well as complete tasks. Imposters can physically hide in vents, lurking and waiting to strike. Accusal meetings take place in a physical space instead of a menu. And your map is a physical screen you pull up and look at.
All in all, it looks very immersive and charming; we just don't know yet what death animations will look like. We're very curious to see whether the game can recapture some of its popularity now that you'll deal with the terror of potential murderers lurking at full-size around you while you complete tasks. The game arrives this "Holiday 2022."
Schell Games and Meta also announced the developer will "bring three brand new titles to Meta Quest Platforms over the next two years." We don't know what those titles are, but it's similar to the Meta-Vertigo Games partnership for five upcoming games. Meta has done a good job of building good relationships with popular developers as of late, which is great news for Quest owners.
Red Matter 2
The first Red Matter was an excellent puzzle exploration game with fantastic visuals and a Cold-War-in-space allegory, and the sequel picks up where the first game left off. We won't spoil too much so you can buy and play the original before the sequel arrives in "summer 2022." But you're on a mission to "travel to the farthest reaches of the solar system" to rescue a friend and "unveil Volgravia's darkest secrets."
Developer Vertical Robot has added a jetpack and platforming sections to make the world more explorable than in the first game, along with a new hacking tool and projectile weapon that bring a new dimension to solving puzzles and interacting with the world.
While we wait for Splinter Cell VR to arrive, Espire 2 will sate our need for a stealth-based shooter. Step once again into the shoes of a super spy, the Primary Operator of Espire (POE), who remotely pilots espionage droids (Frames) to take down a terrorist organization. You can choose whether to employ stealth and gadgets or charge in guns blazing, depending on your play style.
Like the original, Espire 2 lets you use the mic to intimidate soldiers with orders like "empty your pockets." Unlike the original, Espire 2 has a unique co-op campaign that takes place between the first and second game, as well as a stealth AI system that's been "rebuilt from the ground up." Unfair detection was a common complaint with the first game, so we're curious to see if the sequel rectifies this.
Moss: Book II
We already know Moss: Book II is a fantastic follow-up to the acclaimed original, but our review noted that the archaic PSVR hardware — and having to use a traditional controller — holds the game back somewhat. But now that the sequel is coming to the Quest 2, it should reach a much wider audience while offering much better tracking.
The Quest 2 port lets you use Oculus Touch controllers, which Polyarc says will create a "deeper sense of immersion and physical connection to the world" when interacting with Quill or the inventory system. This is the only game announced today we've actually tried for ourselves, and with the controller improvements, we'd say it's a must-buy when the port launches this summer.
A Japanese action-fantasy RPG, RUINSMAGUS tasks you as a novice mage set to explore the ruins beneath Grand Amnis. You'll complete "26 story-driven quests" as you solve the mysteries, upgrade equipment, and master 14 different types of magic, casting spells with your right hand while shielding yourself with your left.
With a passing resemblance to popular VR MMO Zenith and Genshin Impact, RUINSMAGUS should offer long hours of gameplay when it arrives this spring. Several prominent voice actors are attached to the project — Naomi Ohzora, Ai Maeda, and Eiji Takemoto — and it looks to offer an enjoyable time.
Made by the same developer behind Cities: Skylines, Cities: VR is a stripped-down port that has you build up a city from scratch, then manage its economics, services, and urban planning as its mayor. Linda Kiby Zetterman, Live Producer at Fast Travel Games, says that Skylines players have asked "to view their creations at the street level," and that the VR port will do just that. She also says players should expect "extensive post-game content" to arrive "regularly."
Although Cities: VR has been delayed until May 12 due to a scheduling issue, fans of city-building simulators won't have to wait very long to enjoy the experience. It's coming exclusively to the Quest 2 for $30.
Resident Evil 4 VR: The Mercenaries
Resident Evil 4 VR blew us away last year, taking an all-time classic and adding revamped touch controls, better Ashley AI, and a first-person view that made dealing with chainsaw baddies even more stressful. The only downside was that it didn't include the free DLC available with modern ports: a score-attack horde mode called Mercenaries and a side campaign starring Ada called Separate Ways.
Mercenaries mode is available now, as a free DLC add-on for all RE4 VR owners. Take on waves of Ganados foes to climb up the leaderboard and challenge your friends' scores, while playing as fan-favorites like Ada, Hunk, and Wesker.
Developer Armature Studios added a brand-new Challenges mode where you beat foes under specific conditions like knife-only or foggy terrain. Completing these Challenges unlocks add-ons for the campaign like "Big Head" or black-and-white mode, as well as new gun skins.
Beat Saber x Electronic Mixtape
Beat Saber will never die. Beat Games' umpteenth DLC pack is "coming soon" and features a healthy mix of electronic beats that will challenge your rhythm and get you sweating, at least on the harder modes. The track list is below and will cost $13 or $2 per song.
- Rudimental, “Waiting All Night” (feat. Ella Eyre)
- Pendulum, “Witchcraft”
- Madeon, “Icarus”
- Deadmau5, “Ghosts 'n' Stuff” (feat. Rob Swire)
- Marshmello, “Alone”
- Zedd, “Stay the Night” (feat. Hayley Williams)
- Darude, “Sandstorm”
- Fatboy Slim, “The Rockafeller Skank”
- Bomfunk MC, “Freestyler”
- Martin Garrix, “Animals”
Boneworks is a fantastic action puzzle shooter on the Oculus Rift that, thanks to its realistic physics engine, we always assumed would be too demanding to work properly on mobile VR hardware. But Stress Level Zero proved us wrong after "two years of improvement upon the Boneworks physical interaction engine, Marrow," creating Bonelab for the Quest 2 as well as PC VR.
Bonelab's trailer has a distinct Half-Life/Valve vibe with its physics-based exploration, where objects (or the environment itself) realistically break and you traverse deadly puzzles while exploring a mysterious location. It also appears to have modes like Arena and Time Trial, as well as an in-game Mods menu, which should add plenty of replay value. Bonelab launches sometime in 2022.
Crystal Atrium environment
Getting sick of your current Quest 2 home screen and want a change of scenery? Meta showed off a new environment called the Crystal Atrium today that will bring some sparkle to your virtual home in-between gaming sessions.
It's apparently available now (or will be soon); you can check by opening Settings and clicking the Personalization tab to find the virtual environment option.
The Meta Games Showcase had one final surprise up its sleeve: an official Ghostbusters VR game from nDreams (Phantom: Covert Ops, Far Cry VR). It supports up to four-player co-op as you run a new Ghostbusters HQ in San Francisco and protect the city from "fiendish ghosts." It'll arrive sometime in 2022, although we don't know when.
Overall, the showcase had an impressive list of upcoming games that make us excited for the future of the Quest 2. Games like Bonelab look to be pushing what the Quest 2 can handle beyond our expectations, while Ghostbusters and NFL Pro Era show that VR is becoming enough of a "big deal" that big brands want to sign on.
If this showcase made you excited for what's to come, Meta is running a Quest Store sale that includes most of the original games that had sequels announced today: Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Moss, Espire 1, and Red Matter, along with a bunch of other popular titles.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.