Ever since the announcement of the PlayStation VR’s (PSVR) quite competitive price at GDC this year in March (AU$550), Sony has acquired a lot of support from developers and third party publishers. Sony had also revealed a list of more than 200 developers who are making games for the virtual reality headset, which was also revealed as GDC.
If you have been following all the announcements and conferences since then, you can start to fill in the gaps of what these developers on the list are working on. For example, Crytek is working on Robinson: The Journey, Rebellion is working on Battlezone, Housemarque is working on Super Stardust Ultra VR, EA is working on Star Wars: X-Wing VR and WB Games is bringing Batman Arkham VR to the headset. However, there are a few high profile developers and publishers that have not revealed what PSVR game they are working on. I’ve delved into a couple of the big studios to speculate on what they may be working on…
FromSoftware are on a rampage right now. While the veteran developer has made games for other franchises like King’s Field and Armored Core, their real big success struck when they introduced the world to the Souls series. Starting as a PlayStation 3 exclusive, Demon Souls was in development hell before finally being released. The game did not have commercial success but resonated with critics and a hardcore fan base. FromSoft then went multiplatform with Dark Souls and the rest is history. While PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne is still my favourite, Dark Souls 3 released this year and has become the fastest-selling game in the franchise.
A nameless video on From Software’s YouTube channel since April reveals a sizzle reel showing off all the developer’s titles to date. The video ended with the words “FromSoftware, Inc. Next Title on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation VR…” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIi-zuwP9ms)
So it is safe to assume, this game will follow the Resident Evil 7: Biohazard trend of being completely playable on PSVR and other platforms.
FromSoft president Miyazaki hinted at a new game with a sci-fi setting. He has also on many occasions expressed interest in continuing the Armored Core series. Armored Core VR makes a lot of sense and I personally think it is the game From Software is making for PSVR.
Level-5 has been a prolific JRPG developer for many years now extending way back to the PS2 era. In fact, their first four games were exclusive to the console, and three of these were actually published by Sony. While Level-5 has certainly extended its capabilities in portfolios making a tonne of games for Nintendo’s DS and 3DS console, it has maintained its partnership with Sony. Despite the fact they are most known for their Professor Layton series and Yo-Kai Watch series on this console, the developer had developed the White Knight Chronicles and the excellent Ni No Kuni, which is getting a sequel on PlayStation 4 in the near future.
There is currently no information on what Level-5 is or could be making for the PSVR, but Sony does own the Dark Cloud and Rogue Galaxy IP though… Level-5 is also developing the Ni No Kuni: Revenant Kingdom exclusively for PlayStation 4. Perhaps some sort of VR integration or support is planned for the title. Whether it’s full support or a separate experience is anybody’s guess. Needless to say, Level-5 has made so many games it could be just about anything.
Ninja Theory have also had a history with Sony. Their debut game Heavenly Sword was released as one of PlayStation 3’s first exclusives. Ninja Theory then went multiplatform and made the criminally underrated Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and the brilliant Devil May Cry, which in my opinion is one of the best in the series.
Ninja Theory is now working independently on a new IP, which is a timed exclusive for PlayStation 4 and PC. The game is called Hellblade, an action-adventure game with deep storytelling and strategic combat. The game looks amazing and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.
The hack and slash developer has certainly played around with VR in relation to Hellblade. Firstly, you can watch its amazing trailer in 360 degrees here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kz2xpeGkcRU
The end of this developer’s diary further strengthens the possibility of Ninja Theory aiming to create a more immersive experience for Hellblade with VR.
Hellblade is looking to be one of my most anticipated games going into the new year, and I think supporting it on PSVR will strengthen its catalogue with an atmospheric and exciting game.
Polish development studio TECHLAND have gained a lot of attention in recent years. Their first big hit was Dead Island for the last generation consoles. Despite technical issues, the game was a hit for the developer. After problems with publisher Deep Silver, TECHLAND teamed up with WB Games to make Dying Light. This game in my mind is far better than Dead Island in every way and one of the most underrated games of this generation. It was simply beautiful; the looting, crafting and RPG mechanics were streamlined and fun, and the zombie threat at times was legitimately terrifying. The day and night cycle also offered a unique twist on the genre and the parkour mechanics made it hard for me to return to other open-world games.
TECHLAND have a dedicated team for VR, but it is unlikely the title will be Dying Light according to an interview with VR Focus. While Dying Light VR sounds like a dream come true, the fast-paced nature of the gameplay, as well as the parkour mechanics and shaky camera could easily induce motion sickness.
TECHLAND has brought its space shooting game Collider to VR consoles Occulus Rift and the HTC Vive. It is likely that the game will come to PSVR too.
2K was an interesting name on the list. While most of the big western publishers that Sony have listed as working on PSVR titles (such as EA Games, WB Games and Ubisoft) have revealed games for the PSVR, 2K has yet to say anything. 2K has a large library of popular IPs, most of which have had some sort of marketing deal with Sony over the recent years. NBA2K, Maifa, Borderlands, Battleborn and Evolve all sound like they could work on VR, but it’s the elephant in the room I want to address. How amazing would exploring Rapture be in VR? Bioshock VR makes the most sense for a big AAA game with immersive environments and exploration elements to come to the device.
While I don’t have any concrete evidence whatsoever that Bioshock will come to the PSVR, I do know that Bioshock has had an association with PlayStation since 2012. Big Daddy’s inclusion in PlayStation: All Stars Battle Royale, Move support for Bioshock Infinite and a (unfortunately) cancelled PlayStation Vita exclusive.
So seeing as Irrational have experimented with Move controls (which are supported by the PSVR), as well as the fact that 2K owes Sony an exclusive for the cancelled Vita game, leads me to believe that Bioshock VR is most likely the game 2K is working on for Sony’s device (and perhaps, other platforms as well).
Got any VR predictions of hopeful wish lists? Fire off in the comments.