The adoption of virtual reality technology will largely rest on the kind of content they have to offer, and there’s no better way to get into an immersive experience than through video games. These are the games that are bound to define the dawn of the virtual reality era, as consumers decide between picking up an Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, or PlayStation VR headset.
The gorgeous outer-space action game, based in the same universe as the wildly popular MMO game EVE Online, stands as the prime example of what people imagine when talking about virtual reality gaming. In fact, the game comes free with every Oculus Rift headset order alongside the adventure game Lucky’s Tale.
EVE: Valkyrie demonstrations have been featured at conventions like E3 for quite some time, and has never failed to impress. If the incredible visuals shown in the game trailers, which have distant alien worlds and gigantic capital ships, doesn’t sway you toward adopting VR, then perhaps an endorsement from Katee Sackhoff will. The Battlestar Galactica star, whose voice is featured in the game, was completely blown away by how realistic the experience of playing the game was. That’s the kind of thing that gets fans rushing to pick up an Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR headset to see for themselves.
Rock Band VR
The ever popular Rock Band series lets players feel like superstars using toy instruments, and music games saw a revival in October with the release of Rock Band 4. However, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey decided to dial it up to 11 in December with the surprise announcement of Rock Band VR. Although console games look to simulate the feel of being on stage, nothing can do it better than virtual reality technology. The game is still in development, and little is known about it at this point other than how it will let you shred like a pro and presumably melt some virtual faces.
Edge of Nowhere
While Insomniac Games is hard at work developing a new Ratchet & Clank game (inspired by the upcoming movie also launching this year), it is also making its first leap onto virtual reality with Edge of Nowhere. Little has been revealed about the Oculus Rift exclusive adventure game since its announcement last summer, except that it takes place in the Antarctic mountains and appears to be heavily influenced by Cthulhu mythology, if not directly based in the Lovecraftian world.
Adventure and madness await, and virtual reality gaming fans can’t wait to be a part of it.
The frenzy of anticipation over Star Citizen first appeared on Kickstarter in 2014. Chris Roberts, famous for creating the Wing Commander series in the 90s, was getting back into the video game industry and would break all the rules with a space sim game developed exclusively for high-end PCs. Enthusiasm soared even higher when Roberts provided an overview of what to expect from the game, including VR support, proclaiming “I don’t want to build a game. I want to build a universe.”
Similar to EVE: Valkyrie, Star Citizen is a space flight simulator where players embark on an adventure and experience intense combat in a rich universe. The game is expected to release in 2016, and expectations are high. Gamers want an incredible experience that pushes the envelope, and Star Citizen promises just that.
Robinson: The Journey
Crytek has a proud reputation for staying on the cutting edge of technology, so it’s no surprise that the company is developing games for virtual reality. Robinson: The Journey, developed exclusively for PlayStation VR, puts players in the role of a boy who crash lands on a mysterious planet that is covered in lush jungle and populated by dinosaurs. Little else has been revealed since its announcement in October, but more is bound to be shown as we draw closer to the PlayStation VR’s release in the spring.
Not content with just one VR project, Crytek is also working The Climb for PC headsets like the Oculus Rift. In it, players can go rock climbing and experience beautiful vistas without risking life or limb. Just hope you’re not afraid of heights.
Minecraft remains an incredible phenomenon that continues to grow in new and exciting ways. Last year’s E3 saw a demonstration of how the game would be adapted the Microsoft’s augmented reality device, HoloLens, but it won’t be limited it. Oculus VR CTO and legendary creator of Doom, John Carmack, stated in October that he was personally working on optimizing Minecraft for the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. Fans will have another way to live and breathe the brick building world.
With a mesmerizing mix of electronic music and psychedelic lights, Rez developed a cult following around pushing the envelope of experience. Therefore, virtual reality is a natural fit for the mind bending rhythm action game.
Rez Infinite debuted at December’s PlayStation Experience among a host of other games, with game creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi decked out with a PlayStation VR headset and a special reflective suit that looked like it came out of a Daft Punk video. As it turns out, the suit was equipped with 26 actuator motors that rumbled along to Rez’s thumping beats. Talk about fully immersing yourself in the experience. No word yet on whether the suit will be a purchasable accessory.
Chronos, in development for Oculus Rift, looks like it has the style, charm, and the familiarity of existing role-playing games. Although little has been said about the game since it was announced last summer, its trailer left a lasting impression. It’s almost certain to be a game that will please players who want adventure and a chance to fight larger than life creatures in virtual reality.
They say the best job is one that doesn’t feel like work, which is the exact opposite of whatJob Simulator seeks to do. The comedic game, which is being developed for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR, puts players in a future where robots have taken over all the world’s jobs. Therefore, users must enter into a virtual reality simulator to experience what performing a job was once like using unwieldy controls.
All that might seem brain twistingly meta, so it’s best not to think too much about it and just enjoy the experience. Job Simulator has a chance of gaining a phenomenal following like many of the other “simulator” games around, like Surgeon Simulator, which also happens to have a VR experience.
Golem is another PlayStation VR exclusive that debuted during the PlayStation Experience, and it impressed audiences with its beauty. In it, players take the role of a girl who is injured and confined to her bed. However, she discovers she can control stone creatures called golems and see through their eyes, which allows her to explore past her room. The size of these golems eventually grow from little dolls to 15-foot giants that will go out to explore ancient ruins.
Although Golem is the first title developed by Highwire Games, it could become a defining game that will make the studio a household name.
Bullet Train gets an honorable mention because it’s not actually a game that’s officially in development. It’s actually more of a prototype that Epic Games put together to demonstrate the potential of virtual reality gaming using Unreal Engine 4. Although the demo is very straightforward, it turned out to be ridiculously fun shooter.
Let’s hope that after the Oculus Rift releases, the Epic Games will look to expand the experience into a complete game.