AR stealth game for the Quest 3 turns the real world into a sci-fi shooter
VR game Espire 2 has already been available since 2022. An AR mode for Quest turns the physical environment into a stealth shooter.
Killer robots in the garden, laser beams in the closet, and soldiers in the kitchen. All of this, and more, awaits Espire 2 players in a planned free mixed reality update. The VR game has already been available for Meta Quest 2 and Quest Pro since November 17, 2022.
Later this year, developer Digital Lode and publisher Tripwire Interactive LLC plan to bring the sneaky action to the real world. The update will also support the Quest 2 with its black-and-white video passthrough.
However, the mixed reality mode should look most convincing on the Quest Pro and the Quest 3, planned for 2023. These headsets provide color passthrough for the "OPHIS" mercenaries, robo-enemies, and moving laser beams.
Mixed reality action for Meta Quest
As Agent Tempest, you control an advanced "Espire" robot in a test run for future stealth machines. A series of missions offer multiple objectives, with the familiar environment constantly changing.
The AR game makes heavy use of Quest features for "scene understanding" enabling virtual elements that conceal real objects. New missions adapt to the user's environment, from small areas to multiple rooms.
Don't be surprised if you suddenly find new cabinets in your apartment. They contain weapons and tools like stun darts and batteries. You can also hide slain enemies inside to avoid drawing suspicion. Or, hide in one yourself, peeking at your augmented environment from within the lockers through vent slots.
The size of the physical environment does not limit the size of the game environment. Virtual windows through physical walls reveal hangars, storage rooms, and surveillance centers. These aren't just tricks for the eye, but doors to virtual spaces containing collectible game elements and interactive characters. Virtual crates provide cover and a wrist-mounted repair tool disables mines, cameras, and enemy weapons.
A stealth game set in the real world
Tripwire Interactive explained in detail how the AR control system works. It's based on the VR model, so players already familiar with the game should be able to jump right in.
"Espire Vision: Raise your hand to your head and squeeze the trigger to use Espire Vision - your real-world environment is tinted green and exposure is adjusted so darker shadows become bright!
Hold Up Guards: Raise your hand to your mouth and speak to the guards. Your spoken commands are interpreted by Meta’s voice SDK AI assistant and translated into game commands. You can hold up a guard right in your living room.
Take Down Guards: Squeeze the trigger on your controller and see a tranquilizer launcher pop out of your own forearm! Aim your arm at guards to fire darts for a silent takedown."
The free AR mode for Espire 2 will be released in 2023 for Meta Quest 2, Quest 3, and Quest Pro. The main game is currently available $17.99 but the sale ends soon. Then the game returns to its standard $29.99 price.
If you want more representation in this emerging genre, you don't have to wait. The studio Virtual Go is working on a similar concept with "FPS Enhanced Reality", which brings a military shooter into the real environment via video passthrough.