Today we're excited to release our latest game update into the wild, and it's a beast if we say so ourselves. First, we're updating the game so that you can play with Oculus Touch controls across all modes. And we're also serving up a brand new setting, North, which is a huge free expansion to the game to enjoy with a gamepad or with Touch. Update The Climb today and get it all. Let's have a look at the detail, with insight from some of our development team.


Our new update brings all-important support for Oculus Touch. These amazing controlers really change the way you play The Climb. Principally, the game becomes a standing experience. The controllers can of course be used sitting down, but we suggest that to enjoy the most immersive, intuitive experience possible, get on your feet and become even more engaged. With accurate hand tracking, you're able to stretch for grips, slip naturally into a climbing rhythm, and feel like you're really swinging across monkey bars. It really changes the game. And this update, of course, includes a new range of dedicated leaderboards for Oculus Touch players, so the race is on!

Niklas Walenski, Game Designer:

"We've had Touch integration in the game for a while and we've been able to refine the experience following feedback from events like Gamescom and from both amateur and professional climbers who played the game with Touch. People really found it natural, especially those who were not gamers and didn't have experience with a gamepad – they intuitively knew how to play with the controllers. That said, we made some technical adjustments relating to the 1:1 mapping of hands in the game. For instance, you're able to reach right onto objects as you climb, but when you're jumping, we disabled that function after we found that people were colliding with rock surfaces. We also improved the searching algorithm and the snapping mechanism, meaning that securing your grip is more simple and seamless than you may have found it if you played at Gamescom. You're always focused on the climb, the route, the puzzle, and the way ahead, rather than micro-precision movements to get a grip which keeps you immersed in the climbing experience."

Onurhan Karaağaçlı, Producer:

"From the start of development, we had Touch support in mind. It really changes gameplay dramatically. Not only is The Climb an extreme representation of an extreme sport, but when you play with Touch it starts to become a sport in real life. The better you get, the faster you go, the more you improve your technique with Touch, it actually becomes physically tiring. Chasing the best spots on the leaderboards will go to the best players, and arguably the fittest too. When you're really pushing hard at your maximum level, it's genuinely exhausting! The flip side is that the natural and intuitive movements with Touch make exploring and taking your time a relaxing, almost serene physical experience, especially in Tourist mode."


The other big news in our big new update is the expansion of the game with a whole new environment – North. Loosely inspired by locations in the Arctic Circle and areas near it like Iceland, the new setting is around the size of Canyon and arrives with three difficulty settings and two new bouldering challenges.

Onurhan Karaağaçlı, Producer:

"It's a really exciting update. The community has been asking for more content, and we wanted to celebrate the launch of Oculus Touch with a substantial new expansion in addition to full integration of the controllers. We're pleased to be able to give away this huge extra level for free, and we can't wait to hear feedback from players as they explore this new environment, whether they play on a gamepad or with Touch."

North brings a range of new challenges. You'll climb vertigo-inducing heights above the sea, pick your path up new routes on grips and ladders left by previous explorers, and climb over some truly spectacular objects like a crashed airplane (hold onto that propeller!), a shipwreck, and even frozen woolly mammoth tusks. As you scale these dramatic new routes, don't forget to check out the view – you'll see helicopters, an oil rig, submarines, and icebreakers in the sea, with snowy mountains stretching off into the background. Being in the wilderness also means being around wildlife – so keep an eye out for polar bears, wolves, puffins, and more. But you won't need to be paying attention to the 'star' of North's location – a huge volcano – it dominates the landscape. And as you progress through the time of day-based difficulty settings, you'll see this active volcano become, well, increasingly active...

Niklas Walenski, Game Designer:

"We wanted to create an expansion to The Climb that was really different and also more challenging than you have experienced in the game previously. Naturally, you've already developed your climbing technique in our other settings – Asia, Alps, and Canyon – and now you can really show your skill. The settings and visuals reflect this more hardcore experience – it's a beautiful but harsh environment. Our other levels were all about creating an exaggerated reality of tourist destinations – North is more about an extreme adventure, becoming an explorer, and getting a real feel of intensity in an isolated wilderness. Of course, this new environment required some new design choices too. You can't really climb on ice with your hands, so where you're not climbing on rock, you're climbing on manmade objects like special aluminum grips that are hammered into the ice, ladders, even pick axes… although as you'd expect, these grips can be a little precarious! The contrast in colors also helps us from a design perspective, as it helps us to mark out route options. I think it looks pretty cool too."

Onurhan Karaağaçlı, Producer:

"In North, we aimed to make intensely high, really epic climbs, with some that are extremely challenging. We wanted to give you a real understanding of the scale of where you are climbing, and show how extreme these icy environments are. It's kind of similar to that sense you get when you reach the top of our Alps setting, but amplified, pushed even further, more epic! The sense of the 'epic' also comes through in our environmental features. North is stark, and dramatic, and the volcano amplifies the theater with its dominance over the surroundings; it's always there and as it becomes more active, with smoke and dust starting to emerge and the foreboding noise as it goes through the stages of eruption (our audio team did an amazing job with delivering 3D sounds of the volcano in VR)… it all combines to create a really unique, on-the-edge feeling. Our reward moments take advantage of this dramatic environment too – the climbs are epic, and the scale of this setting is caught in those moments you reach the top too."

Pascal Eggert, Art Director:

"North as a setting is not immediately familiar in the way that our other levels might be in popular imagination. It's exotic but in a different way to your typical tourist destination. Even the light is different. The aim was to make you really feel like you're an explorer in an unforgiving, almost overwhelming, icy wilderness. The volcano in our vista is based on those you find in Iceland, and it's our dominant feature. Over 4km high, it almost has an undercurrent of danger or even doom. So that you can appreciate its scale in VR, we actually position you a long way away from it, rather than climbing on it directly which would reduce the impact. However, while the main volcano is in the distance, the lava, particularly as you progress through the expansion, starts to spread everywhere on the rocks that you're climbing (it's active too!). People often think of volcanoes only in their most violent state or just erupting from the top, but actually lava oozes out of every crack under the right (or wrong) conditions. The lava creates a beautiful 'fire and ice' contrast, especially at night. That said, the lava is kind of dangerous, so I'd avoid getting too close."

North also arrives with new achievements and gear to unlock, so get updating, exploring, and competing, and let us know what you think on the usual channels. We hope you enjoy conquering North and experiencing The Climb anew with Oculus Touch.

The Climb Team

December 05, 2016

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