Around February 2014, Harmonix unveiled a competitive shooter named Chroma that aimed to utilise the studio’s rhythm-action talent and create a unique multiplayer experience where the weapons would create an organic soundtrack as you play. If you’re familiar with the idea of the “Dubstep Gun” featured in Saint’s Row IV… well Chroma would have made the dubstep gun just one part of a musical arsenal. Unfortunately, very little was seen of Chroma after the closed alpha – however, the idea of musical firearms must still hold some appeal if the Audica reveal video is anything to go by. Released earlier this week, the video shows just over a minute of “mixed reality” concept footage… however, this is more than enough to convince fans that they might be onto something here.
Seeing is believing
The Audica reveal is one of those maddening things that seems difficult to describe no matter how many words you type, but you can understand everything after the first few seconds of video footage. In the Audica reveal video (which was only published to YouTube this Wednesday), a player is seen wearing a VR headset and standing in a virtual space, where shapes zoom into view and outlines close in on the shapes (similar to the outlines closing in on circles in Ouendan or Elite Beat Agents.) Using two motion controllers, the player shoots the shapes once the outlines fully meet the outside of the shapes, and different coloured beams – from the left and right controllers – are used to shoot different coloured shapes. Later on in the video, other concepts are shown – one moment sees the player shoot and trace “gunfire” across a coloured line; another sees them bat away a black orb of voxels in time with a sample. It sounds like fairly simple stuff, but having such a reactive soundtrack to your VR target practice could make this incredibly satisfying to play. It shows that the “musical firearms” of Chroma were a great idea… but an idea that belonged in another game.
The Audica reveal will be followed by a livestream
As mentioned, the Audica reveal video has only just been revealed to the public this week, so there aren’t a whole lot of details on the game just yet. However, the Harmonix Twitter account has said that they’ll be playing Audica with the dev team on Twitch at 5PM ET today – that’s 10PM for readers living in GMT. Furthermore, the Harmonix Twitter account has already responded to questions about other platforms; the short version is that they’ll be focusing on bringing the game to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive for launch, and then they’ll look into bringing the game to PSVR after the game leaves Early Access.
Audica – a promising concept?
It definitely seems like there’s a lot of scope for innovation in the VR rhythm-gaming genre, with titles such as Beat Saber, Thumper, Audica and more all promising to give rhythm-action fans unique virtual worlds where they can have incredible musical experiences. And yes, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the game, but sometimes you just know a game is special when you’re eagerly waiting to find time to sit down and write hundreds of words about a minute of concept trailer footage (conversely, I took part in the public Anthem demo recently and couldn’t think of anything I wanted to say about it, good or bad – apologies to anyone who was hoping for coverage.) Hopefully we’ll get a much clearer idea about the game’s structure once more gameplay footage emerges from stream and trailers – until then, enjoy the trailer and let us know what you think of the Audica reveal.