Onward, the VR military simulator that was released earlier this year, has a particularly important fan: Valve. Dante Buckley developed and continues to refine the game all by himself, and Valve just yesterday invited him to continue working on Onward in their offices in January 2017.
For those who haven’t played Onward or know nothing about it, this announcement means a lot for the future of multiplayer games. Valve has historically been on the cutting edge of multiplayer (think Counter-Strike, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, Dota 2), and the fact that they choose to support Dante Buckley and his creation means that they believe in Onward’s potential.
Valve’s invitation comes as a surprise to many because the concept of WASD movement in VR is a taboo for many developers. Most VR games require the player to teleport and move within a confined space, but Onward allows players to move in all directions like they would with a traditional keyboard or controller. Many players have reported cases of VR sickness because of WASD locomotion, but the interest that Valve has in Onward suggests that omnidirectional locomotion in VR games can be refined so that it feels natural to players.
Aside from Valve’s invitation, Buckley recently posted in the Steam community forums, and he said that he has “been reading and staying up to date with the community’s suggestions as well as bug reports, and more updates/patches are on the way. A new patch should be out soon, but I need to do a few more tests.”
Many questions remain. Since Onward is a bit similar to Counter-Strike, what does official Valve support mean for the future of Counter-Strike? Will Onward remain independent and entirely different from Counter-Strike, or will both share ideas to form the team shooter of the future?
2016 has been a very significant year for VR technology, but it looks like it’s going to make even more progress in 2017.