The Assembly was first announced at last years E3 event and was depicted as a story led adventure game that’s filled with moral dilemmas and tough decisions that you have to make. Each decision you make will have repercussions on the game, and its outcome depends on each and every decision you make.
See also: What to expect at E3 2015
The Assembly release date rumours and gameplay: What is The Assembly?
The Assembly is, in essence, a mysterious organisation that has been experimenting deep below the Nevada Desert. The Assembly’s base of operations is in an elaborate underground laboratory, spanning across multiple floors, each further underground than the last. Being this far away from the rest of the world, it’s safe to say that some of the experiments conducted are questionable – and that’s the reality you’ll experience as two Virologists, newcomer Madeleine Stone and veteran Cal Pearson.
But what is The Assembly doing? What’s it hiding? How far is it willing to do to keep its experiments a secret? From watching The Assembly’s E3 2015 trailer (see below), we can gather that a lethal avian virus that members of The Assembly have been experimenting with has spread beyond the walls of the laboratory. While Madeleine is apprehensive about joining The Assembly, Cal questions his allegiances and wants to spread the word about the virus by any means necessary. Will Madeleine help Cal? That decision is down to you.
The Assembly is a story led adventure game with tough decision making involved. Both characters have their own opinions and motivations, and both can influence the outcome of the game depending on the decisions they make. We’ve been reassured by nDreams that these decisions won’t be light – it’s an experience that makes you question your decision making, as the right answer isn’t always the best option. The best part is that you’ll feel emotionally involved in the characters and in-game decisions you make because The Assembly has been redesigned for VR headsets.
The Assembly release date rumours and gameplay: Which platforms will be supported?
During our hands-on session with The Assembly (see below), we were told that The Assembly would be compatible not only with the Oculus Rift headset, but also Sony’s Project Morpheus and Steam/HTC’s HTC Vive. This means that no matter which headset you decide to buy, you’ll be able to experience the virtual reality of The Assembly. It also means that The Assembly will definitely be available for the PlayStation 4 and PC, though we’re not too sure if it’ll make it to the VR-less Xbox One.
The Assembly release date rumours and gameplay: Hands on with The Assembly and Oculus Rift
We were recently invited to go hands on with The Assembly and experience it in VR using the Oculus Rift Developers Kit 2 and a PS4 controller. It was our first experience of an interactive game instead of a demo or experience that we couldn’t really interact with. We slotted on the Oculus Rift, put a pair of headphones on and we were instantly teleported from an office in London to the entrance of The Assembly in the middle of the Nevada Desert.
The first level is a nice introduction into the world of VR, great for first timers. You’re playing as Madeleine strapped to something resembling a vertical hospital bed (like you’d find in films based in asylums) being wheeled into The Assembly. You can’t move, but you can look around and take in the vast surroundings while listening to the conversation of the scientists wheeling you inside. The best part of this experience was the fact that you could physically lean forward and that movement would be mirrored in-game, allowing us to lean forward and look past the poles of the bed, presenting a different view.
Once we’d been wheeled into the building, we were taken to a lift. The lift had a glass roof and floor, and as we looked down to the floor for the first time we thought, “these aren’t the clothes I put on this morning” because, for a second, we forgot we were in a game. Taking in the views from above and below as we went deeper into the Assembly, we caught glimpses of some interesting characters and scenes that we hope will be addressed later in the game.
In the second level we played, we played as Cal. The first thing we noticed was the height difference between the two characters – something we’d never noticed in any standard first-person game before. You’re taller as Cal than Madeleine, which gives you a different view on the environment around you. As Cal, you explore one of the labs and undertake minor tasks, interacting with the environment.
The most surreal part of the demo wasn’t running down a hallway with gunfire flying past me (which didn’t happen anyway), but instead was when we were told to open a cupboard and physically lean into it. As we leaned, we could see directly down into the empty (and dirty) cups in the cupboard. It was something extremely simple, but represents amazing advances in technology and the blurring of lines between reality and virtual reality.
There was one element to the VR experience that we feel needs some work; the movement. While it has always been easy to move around an environment in first person view when using a controller, it’s a different experience in VR. You’re supposed to mainly use the left analogue, which controls movement of the character and avoid using the right analogue, which moves the camera angle.
However, even though we were looking to the left, we weren’t turning to the left quickly enough and found ourselves occasionally reverting to analogues, which made us feel slightly nauseous when using the Oculus Rift. This isn’t a direct fault with either the Oculus Rift or The Assembly; it’s more of a general issue with VR that needs to be addressed by the community as a whole.
See also: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt review
The Assembly release date rumours and gameplay: When is The Assembly being released?
The Assembly hasn’t yet been given a release date, but we can assume it will be around Q1 2016 to coincide with the release of the Oculus Rift headset and the Project Morpheus headset.
The Assembly release date rumours and gameplay: Trailer and screenshots
The Assembly teaser trailer:
The Assembly E3 2014 trailer:
The Assembly - two perspectives trailer (E3 2015):