LOW-FI is the next dystopian cyberpunk VR adventure from IRIS VR, the same developer behind Technolust. The Kickstarter for LOW-FI goes live later today, September 2nd, at 3PM PT, but we’ve already played an early alpha build. Here’s what we think of it so far!
According to the developer, LOW-FI is being designed as a much more ambitious follow-up than its predecessor. Rather than being a mostly linear adventure game with light action elements, LOW-FI is being described as a “massive non-linear open world” with hundreds of crimes and stories to explore, complete with branching narratives and procedural markets. You’ll use a variety of overlay programs to utilize an “AR inside VR” effect, adventure with companion NPC characters, use weapons like guns if you choose, and more.
It’s not really a sequel to Technolust, although the project has origins in that premise. Now it’s gone far beyond that. Here is some gameplay from the early alpha build we’ve played showing some ship flight around the city at nighttime as well as a bit of on-feet exploration. It’s still in early alpha stages and is mostly just a framework to explore, but the atmosphere is palpable and the visuals are extremely polished already:
In the world of LOW-FI society is dominated by The Platform, a VR simulation where the majority of the population lives. Think similar to The Matrix or a much darker and more dystopian version of Ready Player One’s Oasis. People that cannot merge with The Platform are designated as LOW-FI, shunned, and transferred to a crime-ridden part of the city.
You take control of someone in a law enforcement type position, but what you do next is entirely up to you. The former sheriff was killed, so maybe you can investigate that murder or chase down other crimes. Or you can even take part in some of the illicit activities for yourself if you want. Or check out the arcade for some gaming. Or, you can push your luck and see what The Platform is really like.
One of the core chunks of gameplay that really sets LOW-FI apart from Technolust is your air car. Like something lovingly ripped right out of Blade Runner, you can fly your air car around the entire city block freely however you like. It feels absolutely liberating. Zooming through the mist and staring down at the neon-soaked streets below is like something out of a sci-fi dream countless VR fans have likely had time and time again. You can see that on display in the gameplay video we recorded above.
According to the Kickstarter page, which goes live later today:
The emphasis is on exploration and character driven stories. Like a holodeck program, the player is free to explore the city, further narratives, or just hang out in the arcades and back alleys spending their hard earned credits.
Moral grey areas can be explored via player choice in most situations through actions or dialogue trees. You can for example chose to take a bribe rather than arrest a criminal, or even frame a third party for personal gain. Who’s going to stop you?
You are free to fly around your entire jurisdiction (section 303). Credits are awarded during your shift for both time and for duties (busts, etc.). Credits can be used at black market shops, dark web delivery systems, vending machines etc., for anything from ship upgrades to bribes or just some decorations for your capsule apartment.
We want LOW-FI to feel like a real world. Completely non-linear and open ended with plenty to see and do.
If the developers can achieve even a fraction of that goal then LOW-FI is already leaps and bounds above most other VR games and most other cyberpunk-themed games in general. The small taste I got in the alpha build doesn’t really show off a lot of what’s promised here quite yet, but the foundation is clearly there. Now it’s about execution.
We don’t write about a lot of VR Kickstarter/IndieGoGo/give-me-money-to-try-and-make-this-thing projects here on UploadVR because a lot of the time they don’t pan out and it’s hard to tell if something is legitimate or not. But based on the existing track record and the slew of gameplay footage already shared on Twitter by IRIS VR CEO and Creative Director Blair Renaud, this one is a safer bet than most.
Heck, the fact that it’s playable prior to the Kickstarter even going live shows that real work has gone into it already.
Let us know what you think of LOW-FI from what you’ve seen or check out the trailer we debuted back in our E3VR Showcase for more. The Kickstarter goes live today at 3PM PT, follow Renaud on Twitter to spot when it’s up.