Blade & Sorcery: Nomad comes to Quest 2 November 4th 2021

 

You read it right. Blade & Sorcery: Nomad is a standalone version of B&S optimized for the Oculus Quest 2, and it comes out in a few days… The physics-based sword and sorcery sandbox will be available in the Quest Store on November 4th.

 

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?

We know. I’m sure a lot of you are open jawed right now, because we spent 3 years saying it probably wouldn’t happen and now here it is, lol. Well, you know how we always say we are from the school of underpromise and overdeliver? Well we ain’t kidding!

We didn’t want to make any promises until we were 100% sure that it was technically possible, wouldn’t disrupt the PCVR development time, and was a decent version of the game.



IS THIS A SEPARATE GAME?

Yes! It is very important that we get this message across: Blade & Sorcery: Nomad is a separate standalone title from the PCVR version.

This means a person without a powerful PC can play a version of Blade & Sorcery that is optimized directly for their headset, to ensure they have a nice time with performance and so forth. But because Nomad is optimized for the Quest 2, some things are different from the PCVR game, for example, graphics.

The reason for splitting the titles like this, rather than just making it all the same game, is we did not want to reduce the PCVR game’s quality in order to force Blade & Sorcery to work on the Quest 2.
Similarly, we wanted to distinguish they are separate titles so that we can reserve the right to steam ahead with PCVR development without restriction. If they were the same title, then the PCVR version would be limited in scope by the Quest 2 capabilities, and we didn’t want that. Instead, we prefer to make exactly the PCVR game we want to, and then optimize things for Nomad and/or omit anything that is not yet possible for the Quest 2 tech-wise.

For this reason you should know that Nomad may not have everything that the PCVR game has nor will have in the future; if there is a technical limitation for adding it to the Quest 2, then there is nothing that can be done. However, the team is working crazy hard and smart to get Nomad as close to the PCVR version as humanly possible. Currently Nomad has just about everything the PCVR game has.



WHAT FEATURES DOES NOMAD HAVE?

At launch, Nomad will have almost all of the features and content of the PCVR game version “U10 Dungeons Update.” That means you can play Dungeons on this Quest 2 version. Crazy!

All weapons, spells and sandbox arenas from PCVR U10 are included, with the exception of the Citadel map. We are working on optimizing this map!


WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NOMAD AND B&S PCVR?

Nomad graphics are optimized for the Quest 2, so obviously not as detailed as PCVR. The balance was making it look as good as possible before performance became an issue. The team did an insanely good job on optimization and I think it is one of the best looking Quest 2 games out there.

As mentioned, the Citadel map is missing for now.

There is a lower limit to the max number of enemies you can have on screen compared to PCVR.

Some of the most performance-heavy PCVR Dungeon rooms are omitted.

NPC wounds and blood on weapons are still experimental, and have been disabled by default as it causes a bit of lag on hit (you can enable the option at your own peril). We hope to be able to fix that and make it default at some point however.



WILL THERE BE MODDING?

Yes! Modding is a huge part of the Blade & Sorcery experience, so I am delighted to tell you Nomad will be able to use mods. They will install the same way as PCVR and just as easily. Mods will be available a few weeks after launch, just so we can make sure the initial performance and bugs feedback is accurate and not just people having mod-induced issues.

However, do note that Quest 2 mods will be different from PCVR mods, so you couldn’t install a made-for-PC mod in Nomad and vice versa. That means modders would be making mods directly for Nomad, or that a PC modder would have to make a mod compatible with Nomad. Nomad will have its own nexusmods.com page.

The only limitation Nomad has in modding is that the number of active mods you can have will be limited by the Quest 2 memory. So for that reason it is not advised to install dozens of mods all at once!


WILL THERE BE UPDATES?

Yes, there will be unscheduled updates for Nomad to try to keep it in line with the content of the PCVR game. As I mentioned, the content may not be 1:1 depending on the complexity of things added to the PC game.

I can say though that in terms of updates/content staying the course with the PCVR game, the outlook seems pretty good! All that is left is Progression Mode, adding skill trees, a shop, etc, so that should not be too bad. The worst stuff like making the actual Dungeons itself work is already done.

Nomad will likely not have as many incremental updates as the Early Access PCVR version does. The wisest thing is to expect that Nomad updates would most likely come some time after a PCVR update is stable. The good news about that is that Nomad updates should be more reliable and mods will break less.



WILL IT COME TO QUEST 1?

No, I’m sorry, but it will not. I know I kept saying we would look into it, and we did. Ultimately we realized that making the game work for the original Quest would limit the full Blade & Sorcery experience, which is why we chose to focus our efforts on optimizing Blade & Sorcery for the Quest 2.


WILL THIS IMPACT THE DEVELOPMENT OF PCVR?

No, PCVR marches forward unhindered. By splitting the titles, the PC version roadmap is not impacted at all. As I mentioned, Nomad will follow B&S PCVR in terms of content and updates, but it won’t be held to the same dev schedule. For example, if PCVR gets an update, it doesn’t guarantee Nomad will have the update the same day, because we then need to optimize that update for Nomad.

Also, in anticipation of this, we have been quietly expanding our team these past 6 or so months so that any optimize-for-Nomad work doesn’t slow PCVR development down thanks to the added manpower.

 

WHY QUEST 2 ONLY? WHAT ABOUT PSVR?

The decision is mainly because of the controllers. PSVR is a great platform but the PS move and tracking would not be great for B&S.

The other reason is we wanted to clear out the technical challenge of running B&S on a mobile processor first. Everyone knows the game is a  performance hog, and the idea behind it was that if the game can run well on the Quest 2, it will also run well on PC. And with U10, that proved the case! All the optimization we did for the Quest 2 benefited the PC version. Most PCVR performance issues are fixed thanks to this and the game never ran so well, so it’s been a win/win.

 

HOW ABOUT PSVR2? I HEARD THE CONTROLLERS ARE ON PAR WITH PC

Indeed, the controllers are much, much better than PSVR’s! We are really excited about PSVR2. PS5 performance is also on par with PC, which means in theory we could port the PC version of B&S without much difficulty, and possibly even without compromising graphics at all.

It’s still too soon to make any announcements, but we are interested in porting B&S on PSVR2, as soon as it’s possible for Sony. But for now, let’s just say “we will see” and no promises, haha. You know how we roll!