A Township Tale shows a promising future for VR

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We’ve spoken before about skepticism for VR… and how it almost made me yak hard. Despite potential splash zones being established, I braved the VR demo of A Township Tale at PAX Aus, and I’m glad I did. Even extremely early into development, the game shows VR can be more than a series of one off experiences.

Developed by Alta, a VR focused dev team from Sydney, the version of A Township Tale I played was only three months into development, but that didn’t stop the sheer potential from shining through. A social game in the vein of Minecraft, players in the demo start out in an empty village with a plethora of tools at their disposal. You can grab a pick axe and mine, collect a bow and arrows to shoot targets (or players), and wield a shield and war hammer to grief others.

The mask is to cover his sinister griefing smile.

Players travel by warping to cursor drops on the map. It’s not the smoothest way to play a sandbox game, but by far it works the best in VR. It’ll be interesting to see what Alta do with this in the future, considering there are potential PVP opportunities and unlimited blink will be a bit silly, but for the demo it worked well.

The level of interactivity was pretty damn high, with the whole world feeling very physical, you could touch and interact with most of what you saw. I got to pick up arrows, pull them back into a bow and launch them across the map, I threw shields at other players, and I climbed a small hill. It all felt very realistic (minus the warping) and left me yearning for more. After exploration time was over, I spoke with A Township Tale’s Co-Founder/Lead Designer/Artist Boramy Unn, who told me about the origins and plans for A Township Tale.

“In highschool I used to play a lot of Minecraft with friends. I liked to conduct social experiments on them, so I wanted to make a game where human players are creating the experience” he said.

Welcome to your adorable adorable nightmare, friends.

Welcome to your adorable adorable nightmare, friends.

Boramy told me players can spend their time fixing up their village and creating something special, they can assign roles and create a harmonious society… or they can divide into factions and fight each other, it’s all up to them. Players making their own game is a staple in A Township Tale‘s development. Servers with up to 16 people will essentially be able to do what they want with their world. Survival will be a constant anchor for gameplay, so growing crops and thriving as a community is probably the most viable play option, but greed and an urge to grief could create a shattered society where survival is a constant struggle.

The sheer potential of world building and the way the game handled so early into development really left me feeling optimistic about the experience. Out of the many VR titles I’ve played, it’s the only one I can imagine playing for hours on end with friends.

You can sign up for A Township Tale‘s Alpha here, it will be available for PC VR users on Steam, and compatible with all devices.

Build a village with Charlie on twitter @clbraith and don’t forget to follow @load_screen and like us on Facebook.

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