‘Raw Data’ Hands-On: Survios’ Cooperative Shooter Wants To Make You Feel Heroic

Raw Data
Raw Data Photo: Survios

If you’ve been keeping tabs on either virtual reality ecosystem, you’ve probably noticed a serious dearth of cooperative games on the market. Sure, there are a growing number of social experiences, like AltSpaceVR or Pool Nation VR, but few that let you play alongside a friend. Survios is hoping to change that with Raw Data, a new cooperative, first-person shooter designed to make its players feel like heroes.

Raw Data is the debut offering from Survios, an independent studio based in Culver City, CA created because its founders “see a world where virtual reality is the preferred medium for play.” We don’t have much information on the roles players will fill yet, since the game’s roster has yet to be revealed, but we do at least have a bit of information on the story. 

In Raw Data, players will be tasked with infiltrating the Eden Corporation, a fictitious corporate entity with less-than-friendly business practices, in an effort to steal (you guessed it) raw data that could bring the company to its knees. To do so, you’ll have to fight your way through an army of Eden muscle, using a variety of firearms and/or a bullet-deflecting laser sword. The game is intended to be played cooperatively, if you’re one of the lucky people who know other folks with VR headsets, but the game will also rebalance itself for a solo run if you’d prefer (or need) a single-player experience.

Like many games on the show floor, the vertical slice of Raw Data being shown to attendees is only partially representative of the final product. In the current build, players control nondescript avatars that serve as placeholders for the various heroes we’ll see in Raw Data when it heads to Early Access in July. Each character will have its own stats and abilities, giving players the freedom to decide how they want to approach each mission. The current build only includes three weapons, a pistol, shotgun and laser sword, but many others will be included when Raw Data is released to the public next month. Additionally, Survios hopes a basic teleportation system will be enough for players to reposition themselves in the heat of battle without experiencing the nausea some players experience in games that rely on the left analog stick for movement.

The demo was brief, just long enough for my partner and I to finish off a couple waves of robotic invaders, but more than enough to make me a believer in the core idea. In fact, I know the exact moment I became a convert. Late in the demonstration, as we were clearing up what would turn out to be the last wave of enemies, positional audio made me aware of several enemies on my right side. I hadn’t paid much attention to that portion of the arena, assuming my partner would make quick work of whatever approached from his side, but was surprised to see him struggling with the last few enemies. At that moment, incoming fire forced him to duck, exposing an enemy I’d previously been unable to see. Without thinking, I lifted my shotgun and pulled the trigger as soon as the robot’s torso was within my irons. The blast flew over my partner’s head, slamming into his assailant and sending it’s lifeless body crashing to the floor.

According to game director Mike McTyre, these are exactly the kinds of moments Survios is hoping to deliver with the Raw Data campaign, which will debut in the Early Access build. The nature of those moments might change, depending on the current setting and which characters your team has chosen. But the idea is to make players feel like the star of an action-packed, character-driven sci-fi film — like The Matrix or Total Recall  — not just another faceless soldier in an impossibly large conflict. We’ll have to wait a few more weeks to find out if the studio will succeed in its mission. But if the current build of Raw Data is any indication, the studio is definitely on the right track.

Raw Data is in development for HTC Vive. The game is scheduled to hit Early Access on July 14; however, there’s currently no timeline for an official launch.

Be sure to check back with iDigitalTimes.com and follow Scott on Twitter for more E3 2016 coverage throughout the week, including news and hands-on impressions from the biggest games at this year’s show.

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