If you have a terrible habit of losing your VR controllers down the back of the sofa, the new Stellaris spin-off is made for you.
Roguelite intergalactic adventure Ghost Signal: A Stellaris Game is set to make like the best VR games by incorporating Hand Tracking 2.0 technology from day one, offering a truly innovative, hands-free experience.
The function will “allow you to play intuitively without using controllers,” Fast Travel Games’ lead designer Christopher Smith says in the announcement trailer. This means we don’t have to worry about securing those wrist straps while exploring space's vastness.
In Ghost Signal, you captain a single ship rather than lead an entire space empire, as in Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy game Stellaris. Piloting the Aurora, you’ll travel deep into space, tracking down a ghost signal whilst battling space pirates and monsters.
Hand Tracking 2.0 allows you to interact with and operate the game using more complex hand motions; we’ll be able to explore space with the flick of a wrist and access in-game menus with our bare hands. Whilst this might sound exciting to many, my ADHD-addled brain is not looking forward to a game that might take my fidgeting as a sign to attack one of those “creatures as big as planets”.
Hand controls to Major Tom
According to the press release, Hand Tracking 2.0 will let us “access menus with the turn of a hand, easily move about the galaxy by dragging space around [you], and strategically aim at an object to interact.”
This is certainly a departure from conventional gamepads or keyboard and mouse setups, especially when it comes to the usually frenetic nature of a roguelite. But if you’re feeling more unsure than excited about a spacey shooter game that puts a lot of power into your potentially unsteady hands, there’s no need to get too worried.
Those who already own a Meta Quest 2 have perhaps already played games that make use of Hand Tracking 2.0, with the feature has made its debut on the headset in April 2022. If you have yet to update your VR gear to the latest version, Hand Tracking 2.0 will come to the Oculus Quest in early 2023.
From the press release, we know that although Hand Tracking 2.0 will be fully supported in Ghost Signal, there is no mention of it being your only option. This might be good news for those who are actually quite attached to our controllers; thank you very much.
Cool and suitably futuristic as it sounds to be able to literally drag yourself around outer space, the complex hand gestures supported by Ghost Signal seem worryingly similar to my day-to-day fidgeting. Flipping your hands around to toggle menus will be a nightmare if, like me, you’re constantly bouncing your hands on your knees – and don’t get me started on the whole “point-to-shoot” thing. My hands haven’t been steady since I discovered caffeine.
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Jasmine is a freelance writer and podcaster based in the UK. Whether it's a Sims 4 lore deep-dive or a guide to securing kills in Dead By Daylight, her work is featured on TheGamer as well as the door of her mother's fridge. When she's not aggressively championing the Oxford comma on Twitter, you can find her scoping out the local music scene or buying gaudy Halloween decorations all year round.