One of the more intriguing announcements to come out of Disney’s biennial D23 Expo this past weekend was Marvel’s new virtual reality game, made in partnership with Facebook-owned Oculus VR. The title, called Marvel Powers United VR, is not due out until 2018 as an exclusive for the Rift headset, but we got the opportunity to try out an early build of it at the conference.
As you might expect, Marvel Powers United VR boasts several different characters of varying sizes, shapes, and skill sets, and when playing for the first time I could choose between Rocket Raccoon, Deadpool, Captain Marvel, and The Hulk.
My colleague Susana Polo from Polygon had told me moments before I put on the headset that Hulk had been an incredibly satisfying option, so I went with him to start. But when I found myself on the teleportation platform at the beginning of the game, I’ll admit I felt a little underwhelmed by what seemed to be a sense of normalcy. I was standing in a room with the bulldog Lockjaw laying in front of me, but nothing necessarily screamed out,
“Hey, I’m a seven-foot-tall green superhero.”
Then I turned to my right… and that’s when I got the first sense of how the teams at Oculus and developer Sanzaru Games, which is producing the bulk of the game, were going to be putting me in the shoes of the different characters. It was Hulk’s massive green shoulder, edging into my peripheral vision that did it. (I personally have particularly non-Hulkish shoulders; one popping into my field of view isn’t something that ever occurred to me as a possibility.)
I looked down, and there were the familiar ripped purple pants. I curled my massive green hands into fists (the controls for Hulk were a fairly intuitive mix of the Oculus Touch’s grip and trigger buttons), and was impressed by the natural fluidity of the motions. But again — I just seemed to be a green dude with some ripped shoulders that needed some new pants.
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