Crytek is famous for creating fantastically life-like games such as the Crysis series and Ryse: Son of Rome using its own proprietary CryEngine development tools. In an unexpected move, the company announced its support for the PlayStation VR, the PlayStation 4’s virtual reality headset, with the reveal Robinson: The Journey, a sci-fi action game that involves a robot drone and a dinosaur stampede.
[a]listdaily talks to Crytek’s Executive Producer, Elijah Freeman, about the company’s first virtual reality game, its partnership with Sony’s PlayStation VR, and going on the ultimate journey.
What led to partnering with Sony’s PlayStation VR
We’ve always sought to create the best possible games for multiple platforms, as well as enabling other developers to do the same with CryEngine. We’ve created games for PC, console, and mobile devices down the years, and CryEngine is also supporting a growing list of VR technologies.
We believe PlayStation VR is the ideal platform for Robinson: The Journey because of how well the game fits with Sony’s ambitions for home VR. The type of experience we hope to deliver with Robinson: The Journey blends very nicely with the type of VR experiences Sony is aiming to offer PS4 players.
The CryEngine is famous for creating lifelike realism in its environments and characters. What makes PlayStation VR the ideal platform to encourage more developers to use it for their projects
With CryEngine we want to enable developers to create unique and compelling VR experiences on the platform of their choice. Sony’s commitment to VR and the huge install base of PS4 present a great opportunity for developers.
Why choose develop an all-new game for a VR debut, instead of using an established franchise like Crysis, Ryse: Son of Rome, or Warface
As a company we’re always working on new ideas and looking for the best possible way to bring them into being. VR is a powerful medium that will allow players to experience a lot of firsts, and it seems fitting to us that we would create an entirely new IP for this exciting new era in gaming. VR also presents new challenges and opportunities in terms of game design, and we wanted to begin development with an open mind.
How has Sony helped in creating “the most immersive and unique home VR experiences imaginable”
Ultimately, players will determine which VR experiences they feel are the most unique and immersive, but PlayStation VR certainly has the power to deliver something special to PS4 players. As a developer, we look at everything around PlayStation VR-things like the headset, the controllers, the install base, and the PS4 itself-and see an ecosystem that we think is a great fit with Robinson: The Journey. As we said, Sony want to deliver the most immerse and unique home VR experiences, and that’s something we want to do too!
What are some of the challenges in promoting a game that’s being developed for virtual reality, a technology that most consumers haven’t been able to try yet
Great question! One of the most commonly repeated phrases around VR is “seeing is believing”, and there’s a lot of truth in that. It can be challenging to try and fully communicate the sensation of VR, and we’ve seen lots of instances at industry events where people changed from being skeptics to believers in a matter of seconds. That sudden realization of what this new medium can do is incredibly powerful, and we think the whole VR space will benefit from the inevitable word of mouth effect that will follow the launch of VR hardware. Until then, we will show Robinson: The Journey through traditional channels and encourage people to remember that what they are seeing in 2D takes on a stunning new life in VR.