Hubris game preview: A VR Sci-Fi adventure with AAA-quality visuals

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Key notes

  • Hubris is a sci-fi VR adventure on a AAA budget
  • The graphics are top of the line, on par with Half-Life: Alyx
  • It takes place in a brand new Sci-Fi universe that will also have a mini-series

Hubris is an upcoming VR action-adventure game with stunning graphic quality which is set in an all-new Sci-Fi universe including a mini-series called Terra-former. It’s currently in development by Cyborn, a Belgian studio with years of experience in 3D animation.

Before we get started, here is their Hubris announcement trailer, which will help you understand the game we’ll be talking about today:

Because they were nominated for the “Most Promising Game” award in the Belgian Game Awards 2021, I had the honor of being one of the select few to have an early taste of Hubris. I first tested the roughly 1-hour demo in their stunning-looking offices and later got access to an even more polished build.

Speaking of their office building, the location in the center of Antwerp, Belgium, is truly impressive! They even have their own theatre:

Spider-Man says hi!

A VR adventure in a Sci-Fi universe

You might have noticed the three-dotted design in the key art above or on the suit of the character below. This is the emblem of the OOO or the Order-Of-Objectivity. This order governs the rules in this Sci-Fi universe and with their treaties, they aim to prevent war between the different planets and factions.

OOO, what do we have here?

As the player, you take on the role of a recruit in training to become an OOO agent. Together with a more experienced pilot called Lucia, you are sent to the planetoid belt around a twin-planet system and you’re tasked with searching for the mysterious agent Cyanha.

From the get-go, it’s clear that a lot of thought went into this universe and its characters and it feels like you set foot in a plotline that has been spinning tales for centuries.

The demo I played takes place at the start of the game where you land on an alien planet with lots of aquatic locations and the accompanying wildlife swimming around in them.

Squids are truly ink-redible creatures!

AAA quality visuals

What’s immediately apparent is how great the game looks for a VR title. Recently, most Virtual Reality games have been aiming at stand-alone models like the Oculus Quest 2, which can’t run graphics as detailed as what I was able to behold here. With Hubris’ focus on the more high-end VR market, it’s able to showcase some truly impressive textures and details.*

*Hubris will release on all major VR headsets, including the Oculus Quest, but playing the PC VR version will result in vastly improved visual quality.

The 3D animation roots of the studio also showed themselves during my playthrough, with great-looking models, credible facial expressions, and lifelike animations made possible through motion capture. Looking at the game, it’s evident why this is one the biggest production budgets to ever come out of a Belgian videogame studio.

“Hair goes nothing”

Interesting gameplay

VR games often offer a teleportation mechanic but in Hubris you’ll have 1:1 movement through the analog sticks and your actual body moving around in real space. VR motion sickness is a constant concern for such titles and this became quickly apparent as my colleague who joined me for the initial test couldn’t stomach the demo for very long.

For those not very familiar with VR titles, motion sickness is a hurdle every game needs to cross and this game having actual running + jumping in it will make people who are sensitive to it struggle. VR legs are a thing though and playing more does make you more resistant to the phenomenon.

Giddy up!

The main way Hubris tries to combat this is by making the player perform physical activities. Like many other VR adventures, you’ll be climbing a lot of surfaces, from ledges to ladders. You’ll even be hanging from alien tentacles that you fabricate and shoot across gaps.

Yes really. You’ll have to hunt down the squids from before, grab their tentacles and mix them in a machine to make an elastic alien rope that you can use to cross large crevices. Fun fact: this rope behaved very realistically and could be stretched as far as you could manage, it reminded me of the famous electricity chord video that was going around when The Last of Us Part II was released.

1. Insert alien Squid tentacles | 2. ??? | 3. Profit!

What I’ve never experienced before however, was the swimming mechanics. As stated before, this planet has a lot of water and you’ll be swimming through small pools of water and submerging yourself through tunnels. You move around by making swimming motions with your hands and this felt really awesome to do in VR.

Not combat ready

While there was a lot of exploration and typical VR motion controls, the opening hour of the game doesn’t have a lot of combat in it. You first unlock an underwater gun to shoot at the squid creatures and near the end, you’ll be shooting giant tick-like bugs with another weapon, but the real combat against humans wasn’t present in this build. And the existing opposition all went down with a single well-aimed shot.

Water pistols are standard OOO agent equipment!

The trailer did promise a lot of humanoid shootouts though, so I’m anxious to try that out and also see how the story unfolds. The worldbuilding here is masterful and I’d like to explore the planet even more. I didn’t get to hear a lot of dialogue in the game yet and most of the story was told to me by the developers in a brief session before playing.

Early thoughts on Hubris

What I’ve played made me really excited for the full release, and Hubris certainly will not disappoint in the graphical department. Few other VR titles reach this level of detail with perhaps only Valve’s own Half-Life: Alyx doing better.

The exploration gameplay was fun and engaging, but the opening hour left me a little bit hungry for more action, something I’m sure we’ll get to see more of in the near future. It’s definitely a title to keep an eye on and one I’m eager to review. If you need more info, you can find out more about Hubris on their Website, Steam, or Twitter.

*Disclaimer: Preview copy played on Oculus Quest 2 with an Oculus Link cable, running on a Desktop computer. Hubris will release in the first half of 2022 on all major VR platforms.