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A New Quest 2 VR Shooter Ditches Controllers for Your Hands


Most VR games rely on a pair of game controllers you hold in your hands, just like with any other regular console. And while the age of controller-free VR and AR sometimes seems right around the corner, Rogue Ascent, a new game on the Meta Quest app store, is ready for that moment now.

The first-person shooter game relies entirely on hand tracking, a feature that’s been supported on the Quest and Quest 2 for years. Though plenty of games and apps already use hand tracking, few are high-intensity action games like a shooter. Still, it doesn’t work as you might think. According to the developers, rapid finger motions for shooting can get too exhausting, so you attack by making “finger guns,” which auto-fire.

I played some of the game myself and found that the motions tend to be more broad than nuanced. Holding a hand over certain spots teleports movement forward. Hold up and aim your fingers to shoot. Two hands together form a shield. 

Hand tracking in VR games often reminds me of the motion-tracking camera on the long-gone Xbox Kinect, but there’s a possibility that the technology could advance. Meta’s Quest 3 might improve hand-tracking accuracy, and Apple’s expected mixed-reality headset may not have physical controllers at all. Meta’s CTO, Andrew Bosworth, suggested last year that the eventual goal for Quest hardware is to evolve to a controller-optional design, but that the company’s “not there yet.”

If you’re curious, the game’s available to buy now. I don’t think it’s as good as playing with controllers, but it’s a sign that fitness games and other games with hand tracking might get even better. And that could make VR games easier to play if you find button-filled controllers confusing in the first place.

This won’t be the last hands-only game for VR. As headsets get smaller and become glasses, this could become a new norm.


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