Eat Dinos in VR? ‘Island 359’ Leaves Early Access, Gains Survival Mode

CloudGate Studio is finally satisfied with its dinosaur hunting game, Island 359. The title graduated today from Steam’s Early Access program, and the scope of the game is bigger than ever. Now you have to eat the dinos you hunt if you want to survive.

Nearly two years ago, Steve Bowler and Jeremy Chapman, the co-creators of the Brookhaven Experiment, left their steady jobs at Phosphor Games to pursue their passion for VR games. Bowler and Chapman launched CloudGate Studio in March 2016 and started work on Island 359.

CloudGate Studio initially launched Island 359 on Steam’s Early Access platform in August 2016. At the time, the game was relatively basic, but it struck all the right chords. Since its inception, Island 359 has always been about getting in, killing as many dinosaurs as possible, and getting out to reap the rewards. You don’t get paid unless you make it back to the camp. Your employer would also supply you with guns, ammo, and med packs to help you survive the trip.

Now that the game is leaving Early Access, the developer added a new mode, which could prove to be a lot more challenging. No longer is Island 359 primarily about earning as much money as possible; the new mode is all about survival.

Island 359 has technically always had an element of survival to it, but you couldn’t really classify it as a true survival game because it lacked several elements of that genre, including finite health, stamina, and the need for nourishment and rest. Island 359’s new Survival Mode includes all those elements and more.

In the new scenario, you will find yourself all alone on the titular island with nothing to defend yourself. You must scrounge and scavenge if you wish to survive. You’ll need weapons and shelter, and sooner than later, you’re going to need to eat. Guess where you’ll get the meat? CloudGate Games said that compys make a tasty treat. Don’t worry, eating a compy sounds a lot more appealing than sleeping in a tent on a dinosaur-infested island, which you’ll also have to do.

As with any survival game, Island 359's survival mode also includes a crafting system. You can combine items that you find to create larger, more useful items, such as custom melee weapons and gun upgrades.

In early 2017, CloudGate Studio started experimenting with full-body tracking, and it was one of the first developers to adopt HTC’s Vive Tracker solution. In December, the developer released a build of the game that included the Virtual Self mode, which enables a virtual avatar for spectating. CloudGate Studio said that the Virtual Self avatar works in all modes of the game, including the new survival mode option.

Island 359 is available now from Steam, Humble, and the Oculus Store for $25. CloudGate Studio discounted the game 20% for the launch, however, so you can pick it up today for $20.  

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.