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Espire 1: VR Operative Aims to Deliver Definitive VR Stealth Experience in 2019

Tripwire Interactive Partners with Digital Lode to Publish New VR Game with “VR within VR” Movement System that Kills Motion Sickness

Sept. 20, 2018 – Tripwire Interactive, developers of the award-winning Killing Floor and Red Orchestra franchises and publishers of Road Redemption for consoles and Maneater for PC, is proud to announce a partnership with independent developer Digital Lode  to publish the studio’s first title, Espire 1: VR Operative. Designed to deliver the definitive VR stealth experience, Espire 1: VR Operative drafts players as drone operators of the future. Players become “Espire Agents” and use cutting edge Virtual Reality hardware to remote-operate the Espire model 1 from the safety of their “Control Theatre.”

The technology behind the “Control Theatre” and the game’s movement system lies at the heart of Espire 1: VR Operative’s gameplay and intuitive VR control system. Any time a player performs any artificial locomotion, the game world shrinks down to the size of a floating tablet, with the Control Theatre visible in the player’s peripheral vision. This “VR within VR” system allows for precise full freedom of movement, maintains immersion, and also eliminates “VR motion sickness” for almost everyone. The Control Theatre is fully customizable to suit the player’s level of comfort, up to fully disabled for those already comfortable moving in VR. Check out this developer diary from Michael Wentworth-Bell, Founder of Digital Lode and Game Director for Espire 1: VR Operative for a closer look at the game’s Control Theatre locomotion system.

In late 2017 Tripwire Interactive co-funded development of an Espire 1: VR Operative vertical slice and have financially supported development of the game ever since.

Tripwire’s support of Espire 1: VR Operative goes far beyond publishing. Months before there was a publishing deal for the title, Tripwire’s Producers, Marketing, Tech, Art and Audio leads assisted on Espire’s development.  It is this level of development support, which goes beyond funding and distribution, that has allowed the project to become a reality.

Tripwire was so impressed with Digital Lode’s Control Theatre Locomotion System that the technology is currently being integrated into Killing Floor: Incursion as an additional control scheme and will be available as a free update later this year.

“We were blown away when Digital Lode first showed us Espire 1: VR Operative,” said Tripwire CEO and Co-Founder John Gibson. “Not only is the game amazing, but their Control Theatre movement system finally enables the dream we’ve all had of VR to become reality – full freedom of movement in VR that the masses can enjoy without motion sickness. We’re blown away to be able to work with Digital Lode to bring this game to the players.”

“Tripwire is a publisher that has understood the challenges a fledgling independent development team faces and have been able to catapult our team forward,” said Digital Lode Founder Michael Wentworth-Bell.  “Tripwire’s experience in VR development with Killing Floor: Incursion has helped save the Espire team countless hours of R&D. Espire 1: VR Operative has been a dream opportunity to establish a new stealth IP, while re-imagining stealth game mechanics in the unique medium of VR. Without Tripwire’s oversight, this dream would have remained out of reach.”

Key features planned include:

  • The definitive VR stealth experience: Espire 1 brings the stealth genre to the exciting medium of Virtual Reality, delivering gameplay mechanics for the stealth and action genres that have yet to be explored.
  • Full freedom of movement: Espire 1 allows players the freedom to move anywhere within their virtual environment, moving, climbing, and falling with full comfort and no motion sickness for almost all players.
  • Complete single-player story, rich in detail: Espire 1 is being developed as a dedicated single player VR experience with individual story missions and scenario missions that use the story mission environments for short challenges.
  • Voice control: Using the VR headset’s onboard microphone, you can make commands and perform actions simply by speaking. The noises you make could draw the enemy to your location – use this to your advantage.
  • Arsenal of weapons and gadgets: As an Espire 1 VR Operative you will have access to dozens of unique gadgets and weapons such as a tranquilizer pistol and deployable spy cameras in order to complete your mission objectives.
  • Global Leaderboard: A worldwide tally awards players a competitive score based on mission time, movement, stealth, ammo conservation, takedowns and other factors.
  • Intuitive controls that mimic real life: Interaction in this game aims to be natural and intuitive. Instead of memorizing dozens of button combinations for every action, you perform them as you would in real life. You can crouch and enter cover by physically using your body.
  • Smart AI: Enemy combatants in this game actively hunt the player. The AI responds to sight, sound, and other stimuli and will react to with varying levels of suspicion based on your physical stance, movement speed, cover and relative location.

To stay up to date on the latest news as development for Espire 1: VR Operative continues, be sure to visit the official website – and follow the developers on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.