2016 has been the year of video game hardware—especially virtual reality—with the launch of HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and most recently, PlayStation VR (PSVR). Developers from across the world have been hard at work creating all-new adventures for the lucrative platform, but these gaming brands are using established franchises to test out the virtual waters for themselves.
NBA 2KVR Experience
2K Sports took a leap from controlling an entire team through a video game to stepping onto the court yourself. Launched just last week, NBA 2KVR Experience places fans in Bankers Life Fieldhouse alongside Indiana Pacers’ Paul George to participate in mini-games like a 3-point shooting contest, a speed and accuracy challenge and the buzzer beater countdown. Players can earn Gatorade fuel boosts that will help their shooting, speed and recovery.
George, who is also on the cover of NBA 2K17 was happy to take part in the extra content. “As a lifelong fan of NBA 2K, it’s exciting to see them take the leap into VR,” he said in a statement, “and even more exciting that it’ll be on my home court.”
Final Fantasy XV VR Experience
Gamers flocking to Eos for the latest Final Fantasy adventure will soon be able to add virtual reality to the mix. An upcoming DLC called Final Fantasy XV VR Experience puts fans in the role of Pronto Argentum, but from a first-person perspective. Using the PlayStation Move controller, players must aim and shoot a mighty beast called Bohemoth while assisting NPC teammates.
Batman: Arkham VR
The Batman: Arkham video game series is highly-revered by fans and critics alike, so when Rocksteady announced a virtual reality experience, there was more than a bit of excitement. Dax Ginn, brand marketing producer at Rocksteady Studios explained to [a]listdaily why Batman was the ideal character to feature in a VR experience.
“The core experience of Batman: Arkham VR centers around Batman’s abilities as ‘The World’s Greatest Detective.’ Players will solve a brutal murder using all of Batman’s detective and forensic skills, and it is this aspect of Batman’s personality that fits VR so perfectly as a technology. Using gadgetry to search for clues at a crime scene and reconstruct critical moments of the story feels like a very ‘Batman’ thing to do, and it also feels incredibly satisfying to do it in VR.”
Brave explorers and builders can now experience this world-famous realm of blocks and mobs through the Oculus Rift and Samsung VR. You’ll still need a mouse to navigate, though, in case you were hoping to get one, REALLY buff arm from mining. (Sorry!)
Famed game developer and co-founder of id Software, John Carmack shared his thoughts with Oculus about why this is an exciting moment for mobile VR. “Minecraft is a game that you can both figuratively and literally lose yourself in. In fact, my strongest memories of being inside VR are from the time I’ve spent exploring Minecraft on Gear VR,” Carmack said. “Experiencing it in virtual reality changes it from an abstract activity to a visceral one—it goes from a sense of playing the game to one of being inside your world, and spinning around to find a creeper sneaking up on you leaves a powerful impression. Infinite worlds have been explored, shaped and shared by millions of people, and now in VR; that sounds a bit like the fabled Metaverse.”
Rise Of The Tomb Raider
Rise of the Tomb Raider received quite a few visual upgrades for its PS4 launch, particularly on the PS4 Pro, but Crystal Dynamics went the extra mile by creating an immersive experience designed especially for PSVR. The development team found inspiration not in a tomb, but in Lara’s ancestral home. In the DLC, Blood Ties, Lara is in danger of losing possession of her manor and must search through its secrets and history in order to keep it.
“You can’t just go back and add VR to this,” Chris Johnson, associate brand manager at Crystal Dynamics told [a]listdaily. “That doesn’t really work. So, as we were building this space out and adding all this adventure, we got inspiration from games like Gone Home. That’s what led us to say, ‘this would work really well in VR, let’s give it a shot.’ So, our team has been busy making that feel immersive. As you’re going through the manor, we felt really excited by it, because for the very first time, players could actually experience the world through Lara’s eyes.”
Resident Evil 7
Many gamers (myself included) have fond and frightening memories of battling zombies in the dark, abandoned buildings of Resident Evil, but Capcom struck a new kind of fear in our hearts by introducing virtual reality to the mix. Resident Evill 7: Biohazard will be released on January 24 in traditional forms, but can be played entirely or through a mix of virtual reality, meaning a lot of nightmares for a lot of people.
“This is the first time we’re using the first-person perspective for a mainline Resident Evil title,” said Mike Lunn, brand manager of Resident Evil at Capcom told [a]listdaily. “What we wanted to do is, instead of being Chris, Leon or Ada (from previous games)—where a zombie comes around the corner, and you say, ‘cool, I have a grenade launcher. I can just blow it away.’ We wanted it to feel like it’s actually you. If it’s just you, then it’s like, ‘I’m not prepared for this!’”
Set in the EVE: Online universe, Valkyrie is a virtual reality dogfighting simulator set in outer space, featuring a single-player mode and multiplayer battle pitting two teams of eight against one another. Developer CCP was one of the first game companies to jump aboard the VR trend, and the game is included free with Oculus Rift purchases. EVE: Valkyrie is also available for HTC Vive and PSVR.
Even the Assassin’s Creed movie is getting in on the virtual action, debuting a new 360-degree experience ahead of the film’s launch. A whole lot more game franchises could be headed to virtual reality, especially with the rise of VR Arcades. Juniper Research predicts that hardware revenues from VR headsets, peripherals and 360-degree cameras will reach over $50 billion by 2021.
Featured image source: IGN