July 23, 2021 – You wouldn’t think that the best thing to do on a hot summer’s day is spend your time in virtual reality (VR), but with heat waves occurring around the world this summer, perhaps being in a nice air conditioned space designed for hosting a variety of VR games is actually a smart move, and a good way to escape the sun.
Well, that’s exactly what we did last week, when we tried out the new ‘Far Cry VR: Dive into Insanity’ free-roaming VR experience from Ubisoft at Vancouver’s Zero Latency VR, which officially reopened as of Tuesday 13 July.
We were actually fortunate enough to go to the original launch event for the venue itself, which took place at the very end of February last year, just as the location-based entertainment market for VR seemed to be taking off, but also right before the pandemic struck. However, once COVID reared its ugly head, it just didn’t seem right to publish an article about how great of an experience it was when no one else would have been able to enjoy the experience, since everything had effectively shut down due to lockdown and social distancing restrictions.
We were very happy to hear then, that not only did the Vancouver, Canada branch of Zero Latency VR survive the worst of the pandemic, but it was coming back with a bang and hosting a re-opening and launch event for the Far Cry VR experience.
Commenting on staying open during the pandemic, Winston Cabell, Principal at Zero Latency Vancouver, said: “We were open, staff stayed employed, social channels kept going, so the word was still out there. We actually had a really good Fall, until there was a second spike [in COVID cases]. But, even through the pandemic, we were still sold out on weekends, even if it was groups of only two players at times.”
As huge fans of the Far Cry series (particularly Far Cry 3), we have been eagerly awaiting the availability of the franchise’s VR offering, which was announced in September last year by Ubisoft. Three of us from the Auganix team got to try out the experience, along with three other guests at the venue, although the experience is capable of hosting up to eight players maximum.
Far Cry VR: Dive into Insanity puts players in a first-person shooter survival-mode game, where they come face-to-face with Vaas, the crazed villain from the original Far Cry 3 game. Players fight their way across the Rook Islands, with some seriously trippy visuals along the way (as is standard for most of the Far Cry games).
The way that the play space is used means that two groups of players are able to independently explore the game using the same physical space, without ever actually accidentally running into each other. The play space at the Vancouver location is 1,500 sq ft, but the virtual space feels much larger, as space is reused thanks to some tricks that Zero Latency VR has developed to reorient players mid-game. It really is impressive, and kudos to the game’s designers for making the space feel as if it is 20 times bigger than it actually is.
As well as being provided with a VR headset (HP Reverb Pro Edition), players are also given a prop gun, which acts as the controller for the experience and allows players to realistically aim and shoot, which also really helps add to the sense of immersion. The game’s mechanics are also simple and intuitive, and give players the freedom to discover the in-game world when the action slows at certain points.
“We’re always looking for new ways to provide our players with the very best entertainment the free-roam VR industry has to offer, and our new Far Cry VR: Dive into Insanity experience is exceptional,” said Tim Ruse, CEO of Zero Latency VR. “We worked closely with Ubisoft to make sure the action-packed world of Far Cry would feel authentic for fans and entice new players as well.”
Also commenting at the time of the game’s release back in June this year, Deborah Papiernik, VP of New Business at Ubisoft, said: “Bolstered by Zero Latency’s one-of-a-kind concept, free-roaming VR is an excellent way for gamers and non-gamers alike to explore the vivid world of Far Cry. We’re thrilled to offer a game that brings people together to create memorable moments”.
Zero Latency VR and Ubisoft have launched Far Cry VR: Dive into Insanity in 33 locations around the globe, and each location is working to provide the best environment possible for staff and customers based on local guidance to ensure a safe, enjoyable experience, according to the company.
As far as the Vancouver location goes, Cabell added that the corporate market is what the venue is hoping to capitalize on once COVID restrictions ease even more, as companies look to reunite staff who have been working remotely for so long through fun team building events. Far Cry VR: Dive into Insanity certainly is one to try out, and will more than likely offer most guests an experience like nothing they have tried before. Plus, for fans of Far Cry and of VR in general, it is definitely worth a visit.
More information on the experience can be found here. To find out more about Zero Latency VR and the other experiences that it offers at its various locations across the globe, please visit the company’s website. To make a booking at Zero Latency Vancouver, click here.
Image / video credit: Zero Latency VR / Auganix / YouTube
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past five years.