Beat Saber

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Beat Saber
Beat Saber logo.jpg
Developer(s)Beat Games
Publisher(s)Beat Games
  • Ján Ilavský
  • Vladimír Hrinčár
  • Peter Hrinčár
Artist(s)Jan Ilavský
Composer(s)Jaroslav Beck
Platform(s)PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows, Oculus Quest
ReleaseMay 21, 2019
Mode(s)Single-player, Multi-player

Beat Saber is a virtual reality rhythm game developed and published by Czech game developer Beat Games. It takes place in a surrealistic neon environment and features the player slicing blocks representing musical beats with a pair of contrasting-colored sabers. Following an early access release in November 2018, the game was officially released for PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Windows on May 21, 2019, and supports most virtual reality headsets.


The player uses VR motion controllers to wield a pair of glowing sabers, which by default are colored red and blue for left and right respectively. In each song, the game presents the player with a stream of approaching blocks laid out in sync with the song's beats and notes, located in one of the 12 possible positions of a 4x3 grid. Each one may also be marked with an arrow indicating one of eight possible directions in which the block may be required to be cut through. There are also blocks with dots instead of arrows, which players may hit in any direction. When a block is properly cut by a saber, it is destroyed and a score is awarded, based on the length and angle of the swing and the accuracy of the cut.

In addition, there are occasionally bombs that the player should not hit, and obstacles in the form of oncoming walls that the player's head should avoid. Underneath the path where the blocks travel is a white bar that slowly fills up as the player hits notes correctly. If the player hits any note in the incorrect direction, this 'energy bar' will decrease by a small bit. If the player completely misses a note, the bar will lose a larger amount. If the bar becomes completely empty, the level will end.[1]

Since the addition of Original Soundtrack (OST) 5, two new mechanics were introduced to the game. One new mechanic features a new block called a Chain, which starts with a "slice" which indicates which direction to cut. After the lead slice, there are a number of smaller "slices" which can be cut. The other new mechanic is the arc. An arc shows a line in which your saber has to follow. It is connected to a block and continues on until it either connects to another block or stops altogether. Both of these new mechanics also calculate score differently than the original blocks.[2]

Since its early access stages, the game included a single-player mode as well as a party mode, which features a leaderboard with the player's names, which are entered after each song is played. Additionally, the game includes a level editor and a practice mode that allows the player to alter the song's speed, or start playing it from any point in time, and not just the beginning. The game added a multiplayer mode in which anywhere from two to five players can play a level together, with the person with the highest score winning. In multiplayer mode, the game awards the player with badges based on performance. These are: Longest journey, Casual cutter, Saber surgeon, Lumberjack, Jazz hands, Fencer, Restless slicer, Nihilist, No mercy, and Air slicer. [3]

Beat Saber shipped with ten songs, but has been expanded with several downloadable content packs and updates which include new songs. Several of these include original songs, but several packages are licensed songs featuring music and special stages from bands such as Imagine Dragons,[4] Panic! at the Disco,[4] Green Day,[5] Linkin Park,[6] BTS,[7] Lady Gaga,[8] and musicians signed to Interscope Records. In addition, the community has created modifications for Beat Saber, allowing custom songs and maps. Each song has five levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard, Expert, and the hardest being Expert+.


Beat Saber began after the completion of Beat Games' (Hyperbolic Magnetism at the time) previous title, Chameleon Run. Vladimír Hrinčár and Ján Ilavský began creating demos and prototypes, and some of these were posted on Facebook. The composer, Jaroslav Beck saw some of these prototypes and met the team in Prague in order to convince them to let him create the soundtrack for the game. After around two years of development, the game was released in early access on May 1, 2018.[9]


L-R: programmer Vladimir "Loki" Hrinčár, head of marketing Michaela Dvořáková, and composer Jaroslav Beck at the Game Developers Choice Awards 2019

The game was first released in early access on Microsoft Windows on May 1, 2018.[1] The game was released on PlayStation 4 on November 20, 2018.[10] An editor was announced for release in May 2018, which would allow for the creation of custom user songs, but it was postponed,[11] and added in May 2019.[12]

In March 2019, Beat Games released its first paid song pack, featuring 10 songs from electronic music record label Monstercat.[13] "Crab Rave" was added as a free update on April Fools' day that year.[14] On May 2, 2019, to celebrate the game's first anniversary, a prototype version created three years prior was released to the public as Beat Saber Origins.[15] The game was fully released out of early access on PC on May 21, 2019.[12] On January 29, 2020, the game received a free pack featuring three songs by Japanese artist Camellia.[16]

Facebook via Oculus Studios acquired Beat Games in November 2019. The company stated that the purchase would not affect future development of Beat Saber on third-party VR platforms besides Oculus.[4] Beat Games will continue to operate in Prague as an independent studio, although under the umbrella of Oculus Studios. The studio released the new 360-degree levels on December 14, 2019.[17]


During its early access phase, Beat Saber received numerous positive reviews, becoming the highest rated game on Steam less than a week after its early access release.[11] The game sold over a million copies by March 2019.[27] By February 2021, the game has sold over 4 million copies and 40 million songs have been sold through paid DLC.[28]

Edge thought the game was an excellent fit for VR as a medium, writing "At this point in virtual reality's development, it's still rare to encounter a game that feels native to the technology. Beat Saber is an exception."[20] IGN noted that while the game "doesn't push the limits of [VR tech] too far", the game is extremely effective at communicating the appeal of VR, and considered the game "a go-to for introducing anyone to virtual reality."[22] GameSpot noted that at launch the supported song library was "slim", but nevertheless concluded that "Beat Saber is an exhilarating rush and an exhausting game to play in the best way."[21]

Beat Saber has grown a strong following since its debut, and users have created numerous mods to enhance the game.[citation needed] Also, a number of websites have surfaced, where users distribute beat maps they created themselves, some of them even allowing for this content to be sideloaded onto the Oculus Quest.[citation needed]


Year Award Category Result Ref
2018 The Game Awards 2018 Best VR/AR Game Nominated [29]
Gamers' Choice Awards Fan Favorite VR Game Won [30]
2019 D.I.C.E. Awards Immersive Reality Technical Achievement Nominated [31][32]
Immersive Reality Game of the Year Won
SXSW Gaming Awards Excellence in Gameplay Nominated [33][34]
Most Promising New Intellectual Property Won
Trending Game of the Year Nominated
VR Game of the Year Won
Game Developers Choice Awards Best VR/AR Game Won [35][36]
Audience Award Won
15th British Academy Games Awards Debut Game Nominated [37]
Golden Joystick Awards Best VR/AR Game Won [38][39]
The Game Awards 2019 Won [40][41]


  1. ^ a b Hunt, Cale (April 5, 2018). "Beat Saber: Everything we know about the VR rhythm game". Windows Central. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  2. ^ Arc And Chain Notes Tutorial | Beat Saber Explained, retrieved March 19, 2022
  3. ^ Lang, Ben (March 9, 2021). "'Beat Saber' Update Adds 'Pro Mode' & Four More Modifiers, Multiplayer Badges". Road to VR. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Robertson, Adi (November 26, 2019). "Facebook is buying Beat Saber's development studio". The Verge. Retrieved November 27, 2019.
  5. ^ Roettgers, Janko (December 12, 2019). "Beat Saber Gets Green Day Music Pack, 360-Degree Levels". Variety. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  6. ^ Bonthuys, Darryn (August 17, 2020). "Beat Saber Gets New Linkin Park DLC, All 11 Songs Out Right Now". GameSpot. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  7. ^ Parlock, Joe. "BTS Comes To 'Beat Saber' In Its Latest DLC Pack, Out Today". Forbes.
  8. ^ "Beat Saber Unveils Lady Gaga Music Pack at the Game Awards". Oculus. December 9, 2021. Archived from the original on December 10, 2021. Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  9. ^ "How Beat Saber beat the odds". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  10. ^ "Beat Saber". PlayStation. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Horti, Samuel (May 6, 2018). "VR rhythm game Beat Saber, now the highest rated game on Steam, releasing level editor next week". PC Gamer. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Cox, Matt (May 21, 2019). "Beat Saber bops out of early access". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  13. ^ Horti, Samuel (March 16, 2019). "Beat Saber releases first paid DLC music pack". PC Gamer. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  14. ^ "Crab Rave is the Latest Free Beat Saber Song, Available Now". PlayStation LifeStyle. April 1, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2019.
  15. ^ "Beat Saber Releases Origins Early Build To Celebrate First Anniversary". March 4, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  16. ^ "Three New Free Beat Saber Songs Arrive In New Update From Cametek". January 29, 2019.
  17. ^ Melnick, Kyle (December 14, 2019). "Beat Saber Launches 360 Levels Alongside Green Day Music Pack". VRScout. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  18. ^ "Beat Saber for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  19. ^ "Beat Saber for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Beat Saber Review". Edge. No. 328. Future. February 2019. p. 120.
  21. ^ a b Barbosa, Alessandro (November 26, 2018). "Beat Saber Review – Bass-Boosted". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  22. ^ a b Stapleton, Dan (May 28, 2019). "Beat Saber Review". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  23. ^ "Beat Saber Engrossing Musical Swordplay". Game Informer . Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  24. ^ "'Beat Saber' PSVR Review – Move & Groove as You Slice & Dice". Road to VR. November 20, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  25. ^ "Test Beat Saber : une version PS4 de haute volée !". Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  26. ^ "Beat Saber PSVR Review – The Most Addictive VR Game To Date". UploadVR. November 20, 2018. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  27. ^ Princ, Zdeněk. "Beat Saber překonal hranici milionu prodaných kusů". (in Czech). Vortex. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  28. ^ Verdu, Mike (February 2, 2021). "From Bear to Bull: How Oculus Quest 2 Is Changing the Game for VR". Facebook, Inc. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  29. ^ Grant, Christopher (December 6, 2018). "The Game Awards 2018: Here are all the winners". Polygon. Retrieved December 8, 2018.
  30. ^ "2018 Gamers' Choice Awards". Gamers' Choice Awards. December 9, 2018. Archived from the original on January 3, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2019.
  31. ^ Makuch, Eddie (January 10, 2019). "God Of War, Spider-Man Lead DICE Awards; Here's All The Nominees". GameSpot. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  32. ^ McWhertor, Michael (February 14, 2019). "God of War wins big at DICE Awards 2019". Polygon. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  33. ^ Trent, Logan (February 11, 2019). "Here Are Your 2019 SXSW Gaming Awards Finalists!". South by Southwest. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
  34. ^ Khan, Zarmena (March 17, 2019). "God of War Takes Home 'Game of the Year' at SXSW 2019 Gaming Awards". PlayStation LifeStyle. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  35. ^ Good, Owen S. (January 4, 2019). "Red Dead Redemption 2 tops list of Game Developers Choice nominees". Polygon. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  36. ^ Williams, Mike (March 20, 2019). "God of War Wins Another GOTY at 2019 Game Developers Choice Awards". USGamer. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  37. ^ Fogel, Stefanie (March 14, 2019). "'God of War,' 'Red Dead 2' Lead BAFTA Game Awards Nominations". Variety. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  38. ^ Tailby, Stephen (September 20, 2019). "Days Gone Rides Off with Three Nominations in This Year's Golden Joystick Awards". Push Square. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  39. ^ GamesRadar staff (November 15, 2019). "Here's every winner from this year's Golden Joystick Awards, including the Ultimate Game of the Year". GamesRadar+. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  40. ^ Winslow, Jeremy (November 19, 2019). "The Game Awards 2019 Nominees Full List". GameSpot. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  41. ^ Makuch, Eddie (December 13, 2019). "The Game Awards 2019 Winners: Sekiro Takes Game Of The Year". GameSpot. Retrieved December 13, 2019.

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