With a somewhat confusing and cringy trailer, THQ Nordic and Gunfire Games have announced that their previously VR only title, Chronos: Before the Ashes, will be coming to Stadia later this year! In what’s often referred to as Zelda: Breath of the Wild meets Dark Souls (because you’re not already tired of everyone comparing every game to Zelda), Chronos takes place in a rich universe of unique locations and difficult, souls-like combat.
You see, the game actually exists in the same universe as Remnant: From the Ashes, though you’d be forgiven for not connecting the two. The former focuses on swordplay and has a slightly more stylized approach to its visuals and the latter firearms with a more realistic, gritty theme. The connecting tissue is the dark and grotesquely beautiful environments and lore that persists between them. You also use what are called World Stones to travel between locations in both games.
The story here is that you will take on the role of a young hero who is trying to save his home from an ancient evil. You’ll explore a mysterious labyrinth full of fearsome creatures and challenging puzzles. Each time you fail, your hero is cast out of that labyrinth and is forced to wait one year before returning to try again. Pretty intense. Also, I hate labyrinths.
Its unique claim to fame though, is that each time you die, your character visually ages to be a year older and your stats change too. In fact, as you age, it becomes more difficult to increase your strength stat and easier to train in the arcane. I’m personally quite taken by this mechanic as I love how it adds a new spin on what’s old and tired and shows the developers flexing their creative muscle. It also reduces narrative dissonance between the story and mechanics.
Chronos originally released in 2016 for the Oculus Rift and saw you looking at your character from a sort of spectator’s camera as you controlled him instead of looking over his shoulder as with a traditional action RPG. While that may seem like an odd choice, well…it was, but you have to keep in mind that creating experiences for VR at that time was just beginning to become important to many developers in order to keep up with the trend as it evolved. Needless to say, it made for a really awkward experience and the game, despite its charm and potential, fell by the wayside. Not to mention the fact that THQ Nordic relied almost entirely on word of mouth marketing to push the game.
Now, the re-release of this game, though based on the Oculus title, has been overhauled and optimized to work without the need for VR support, according to the publisher on twitter. We’re hoping they also added more content into the game as the original runtime was only about five hours, depending on the difficulty level you chose to play on. Remnant: From the Ashes is well known for its co-op gameplay, so it should tag on some play time if they choose to go the same route with Chronos, as many fans are hoping. We’re going to try to do some gameplay videos for you on the Youtube channel when this drops.
Are you excited for Chronos: Before the Ashes to release on Stadia on December 1, 2020? Let us know in the comments section if you ever played the original VR version of the game!