The PlayStation Experience is an opportunity for Sony to showcase some of its best upcoming games, expected to launch in the next year, and a chance for fans to celebrate being gamers with some exclusive hands-on time.
This year’s event is especially important because PlayStation VR, the virtual reality headset designed specifically for the PlayStation 4 (formerly called Project Morpheus), releases next year. The launch of PlayStation VR is similar to releasing an all-new console in many ways, except it has the added challenge of requiring a headset many people aren’t familiar with yet. So, it’s important for consumers to see what great experiences are coming next year to get hyped about the upcoming virtual reality games, similar to how Crytek’s Robinson: The Journey was revealed to be a PlayStation VR exclusive during Sony’s Paris Games Week last October with a fantastic trailer.
The PlayStation Experience didn’t disappoint, and fans were hit with a number of surprise announcements for games coming to PlayStation’s leap into virtual reality.
Psychonauts: In The Rhombus of Ruin
Fans nostalgic for classic adventure games, originally released for PC, already had an idea of what was in store when legendary game designer Tim Schafer took the stage. It was at last year’s PlayStation Experience where he announced a remastered editions of the much beloved games, Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle, were in development.
However, Shafer wasn’t short on surprises this year. In addition to how the 90’s classic Full Throttle would also have a remastered edition coming down the line, Schafer’s company, Double Fine Productions, announced earlier last week that Psychonauts 2 was in development. As though those announcements alone weren’t enough to whip fans into a frenzy, Shafer snuck in one last completely unexpected announcement.
The PlayStation VR would get a mind-bending experience from Psychonauts: In the Rhombus of Ruin, which will be a completely unique standalone adventure, was revealed in a trailer that parodies Palmer Luckey’s (of Oculus VR) appearance on the cover of Time Magazine. The reveal of a classic game, made into a VR experience, set the tone for some of the other announcements during the PlayStation Experience keynote.
With its trippy mix of lights and electronic music, the Rez series has always had a certain cult appeal, since it first launched for the PlayStation 2 over thirteen years ago. It has since grown to be viewed as a sort of symbol for experimental game experiences, which makes the series absolutely perfect for PlayStation VR. Rez Infinite debuted on the PlayStation Experience 2015 stage with a gameplay presentation, highlighted by a player in a reflective jumpsuit decorated by colorful LED lights. That player turned out to be the Rez series creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi, wearing a PlayStation VR headset.
By having an all-new Rez game, Sony establishes the PlayStation VR as a platform that isn’t afraid to feature bold experiences. The announcement also plays well to longtime PlayStation fans as extra incentive to jump on board with PlayStation VR.
Ace Combat 7
Originally debuting on the original PlayStation console in the 90’s, the Ace Combat series is renowned for its high-flying, fast-paced, jet fighting action. The series recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, and announced that Ace Combat 7, an experience built from the ground up for virtual reality, will be a PlayStation VR exclusive. The trailer reveals the cloud-touching size and scope of the game, and marks a how a third developer expanding on an established franchise to appeal to longtime PlayStation console and game fans. Acrophobes beware!
Eagle Flight was revealed exclusively at the PlayStation Experience. Developed by Ubisoft for the PlayStation VR, it’s probably no accident that the fast-flying game will features eagles, the iconic bird of the Assassin’s Creed series, making their way through obstacles while players get a literal bird’s eye view of cities like Paris. Furthermore, the trailer reveals two-player multiplayer, which subtly suggests that friends should also pick up a PlayStation VR for a shared experience.
The Modern Zombie Taxi Co.
While many zombie games have players surviving in an undead world, The Modern Zombie Taxi Co. takes a decidedly different approach. No one will complain about your poor driving skills if your passengers are already dead. Revealed fairly early on among a showcase of different games coming to PlayStation VR, this zombie-themed driving game shows off the zany side of the game collection. By appealing to a broad audience of players, including more casual ones, the PlayStation VR might escape being seen as a device that only appeals to high-tech adopters.
This year’s PlayStation Experience put a lot of emphasis on associating a sense of nostalgia and history with emerging virtual reality technology. However, Golem, a debut game from new development studio Highwire Games, sets the PlayStation VR up as a platform that up-and-coming developers should also consider. The game’s impressive trailer gets a little meta, by having presumably having a player take the role of a girl in virtual reality, who is in turn using some virtual connection of her own to see through the eyes of a giant stone golem and control its movements.
An all-new game being developed exclusively for the PlayStation VR might attract more developers to the platform, where they’ll unleash their own brand of creativity.