Cloudhead Games is hard at work developing the second installment of its episodic VR fantasy exploration game, The Gallery. Cloudhead originally slated Episode 2 for a spring release, but the developers needed more time to put the necessary polish on the game. Heart of the Emberstone is now scheduled for release in September.
Cloudhead Games made a name for itself early in the VR industry. Denny Unger, the company’s founder, was one of the first Oculus Rift Kickstarter backers. Cloudhead Games was also one of the first developers Valve allowed into the Steam VR project. Unger and his team also pioneered two VR locomotion methods (with a third one in the works) that the VR development community adopted with open arms: Comfort Mode and Blink. Cloudhead also pioneered the idea of strapping voice actors into VR headsets and motion capture hardware so they could act like stage performers to capture the essence of their characters.
The hard work that Cloudhead Games put into its first game paid off. The company enjoyed the successful release of The Gallery Episode 1: Call of the Starseed, which launched alongside the HTC Vive . Call of the Starseed offers a deep narrative, rich characters, and an incredible alien world to explore, and the combination earned the developer a series of awards and nominations for its efforts.
The recognition that Call of the Starseed received emboldened the developer to push harder for the second installment of the multi-part story. In October, Valve revealed a prototype VR controller, and Cloudhead Games demonstrated an adapted version of Episode 1 using the new device. Unger also appeared on "The Voices Of VR" podcast to discuss the new controller. During the show, Unger revealed that he was also working on a third locomotion method, which would be part of Episode 2, that Cloudhead would reveal in the winter. We should have known that something was up when the developer reneged on its plans to show the new movement system by the time GDC rolled around.
Cloudhead Games had planned to release The Gallery Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone in the spring of 2017, but in the final days before summer officially begins, the developer announced that it pushed the release back by a few months. Cloudhead Games said that Episode 2 is a larger experience than the first installment and the developer needs more time to polish the game properly. The team plans to use the extra time to “add in all sorts of extra details to really flesh out the world” of The Gallery.
“Heart of the Emberstone is a story-driven, non-linear adventure game built for room-scale VR. There’s not a whole ton of those out there right now, so we’re taking the opportunity to do it right the first time,” Cloudhead Games wrote on its blog.
The Gallery Episode 2: Heart of the Emberstone should debut in September. If you haven’t played the first installment of the game, it’s available on the Steam and Oculus digital marketplaces. You may want to wait a little while before buying a copy, though. The developer said that it “can neither confirm nor deny that Starseed will be at a significant sale price during a sale that may or may not be related to summer.”