Seeing older games resurface at E3 is nothing new, especially when it comes to this year’s show. Nintendo brought back an old favorite in a new light with StarFox Zero for the Wii U, and Microsoft announced a celebration of older releases from Rare Ltd. with the forthcoming Rare Legacy, which will release for Xbox One this August.
However, the developers at Rebellion may have the most attention-getting revival at Sony’s booth this week, as the developer has announced that it’s bringing back Atari’s classic tank arcade game Battlezone for the Project Morpheus.
It’s a curious announcement, mainly because many didn’t believe that a new virtual reality-based game could be inspired by an 80’s classic like Battlezone. Alas, it seems virtually perfect for the headset, as players can immerse themselves in a futuristic landscape, blasting away at foes using the sheer firepower of an armored tank.
“Project Morpheus and virtual reality gaming marks a new and exciting shift in gaming tech. E3 is a celebration of incredible artistry and creativity so it’s only natural that VR plays an important part at this year’s show,” said creative director and co-founder Jason Kingsley in a PlayStation Blog post. “But E3 is also mainly about the future of games, and sometimes we just need to take stock and look at gaming’s past. The industry may not be as old as film, theatre, and other arts, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect our cultural heritage!”
He went on to explain how the original Battlezone created an ideal playfield for virtual reality, since it created a 3D space that, at the time, was unheard of for most arcade games. (After all, it comes from an era where the likes of Pac-Man and Asteroids managed to dominate on a clear 2D level.)
“Players looked into the game world from the perspective of a tank commander by using a periscope viewfinder built into the unit. Combined with the game’s pseudo 3D graphics, Battlezone is now considered by many as the first ever virtual reality game,” said Kingsley. “It was both rudimentary and revolutionary. The isolation from the world around you, the perception of depth and “being” in that world — even a simple one — was like nothing else at the time. And without Battlezone and that sense of wonder and unlimited possibility, Chris and I might never have started making our own games, or formed Rebellion.”
The game will feature plenty of unique battle tactics, while at the same time paying tribute to the arcade classic that started it all. “If we can capture the same revolutionary thrill of the original Battlezone for a whole new generation of gamers, then we’ll have done gaming history proud,” added Kingsley.
For those in attendance at E3, the game is available for a “heads on” test drive. As for everyone else, it should make its debut at the same time as the Project Morpheus headset, although a release date hasn’t been given just yet.