These Games Look Cool, I Sure Wish They Weren't in VR


#1

During the pre-show of the 2017 Sony Paris Games Week Showcase, one game caught my eye. There was a short talking heads intro, and the words "cinematic adventure platformer" were said. My ears perked up, and I tabbed over. Star Child, the game in question, looked cute, colorful, and delightfully sci-fi flavored.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/43n38m/vr-sony-paris-games-week-showcase

#2

I understand that developing a game both in VR and out of VR is a difficult process, but I often don’t see the reason for VR in a lot of these games. Stifled is a good example where I can certainly understand the horror inherent in being that close to a screen, but it’s just odd that it doesn’t seem to do much withe the idea of virtual reality besides just using your arms as controllers. Although I suppose it could still come out that Stifled and these others aren’t VR-exclusive.


#3

VR isn’t comfortable, that much is true.
That said, there exist some really neat VR games that wouldn’t work as well on a rectangular screen. Who knows if it’ll be true for these.


#4

For many of these game they were deigned to work with VR, Moss is being made to work with VR in mind. I’m afraid to say many of these wont move away from VR. The motion sickness problem may be with us for a while for VR till either we humans get use to it or VR get better.


#5

The tough thing is that right now, they only mid-tier development games getting funded are through the current rush to get titles onto Oculus and PSVR (Valve doesn’t care much because they have Steam so they’ll get most of those games for Vive through pure osmosis). I’m working at a dev who needed the seed money from Oculus in order to accrue enough capital to start funding their own projects.

You’ve got studios like Twisted Pixel, Ready At Dawn, Owlchemy Labs, etc who wouldn’t be able to put anything out at their current scale without this current infusion of major platform investments. That’s likely going to be the same story for almost all of the PSVR games that were presented today.

The point I’m making isn’t “buck up and deal with it” though, more that big publishers and platform holders should be willing to invest in small-to-mid tier development projects all the time, rather than when it’s convenient for whatever new device or console they’re trying to push.


#6

This is a bit of a silly article. It’s like saying “Mario Looks Cool, I Sure Wish It Wasn’t on Switch.”

Platform exclusivity is a thing we’ve always had to deal with. VR does offer unique elements that at least make those experiences different.

Also, the motion sickness that is an issue with some users in VR usually improves following a few hours of exposure.


#7

I agree with Ping. I only bought my VR in a super-sale on Amazon (like, $200 off), but I’m glad I did. I was surprised by how stuff like Thumper, Rez, or Polybius virtually become a new game while using VR. I don’t view it any different as any other platform exclusive, most especially if the game is designed for VR.

Also, an aside on the business end of things to address a point from the article: didn’t Sony say sales were much better than they expected and that VR support will continue pretty much indefinitely? I remember being surprised when I heard that because I also assumed it was a fad.


#8

It’s a display/medium thing, not just a platform thing.

That being said, plenty of games probably ought to rethink their display/medium of choice. They’re just less noticeable because “quasirealist 3D environment” is the done thing in triple-A games.


#9

I don’t follow why Danielle feels really bad for VR developers just because she doesn’t want one. It also seems contradictory to list a few “interesting, creative experiences in VR” but then talk confidently about how VR will fail. I would think that someone would rather hope they get success, which leads to further iterations and improvements in VR technology.


#10

Observably, VR has poor adoption and low return interest from those who have it. The barriers to entry and the those that disincentivize repeated use are the same: clunky, expensive, necessarily isolated, and it demands a large footprint in your home. I think it’s pretty safe to guess that the VR market will shrink or stagnate, not grow, for the foreseeable future, even if that’s a bummer of a thing to say.

Danielle has given VR repeated attempts and has fielded this rebuttal dozens of times from developers and players alike, and it just isn’t getting better for her. She, as an individual, doesn’t want to and can’t physically use VR.


#11

Next year looks to be a really good test case of what VR will/could be.

The only amazing game that’s come out has been RE7. Next year we get a Doom, Fallout 4, and Mechwarrior 5. We are getting to the point where things won’t feel like tech demos and that’s going to be exciting.

Playing games in VR can be amazing - I’m excited when we get to the point when game design


#12

I haven’t been disappointed with VR the way many seem to have been. For instance, I’m currently enamored with The Invisible Hours which is wonderful for me as I enjoy as a piece of theatre. But I’m unreasonably excited about Budget Cuts coming out. VR stealth seems to work exceptionally well.


#13

I have the same concerns with the Switch.

Those RSI-inducing tiny controllers that no ergonomics expert ever took a pass at, the method of play that involves holding and even moving around the screen we’re meant to be looking at - it’s all very much designed to make lots of people sick or in pain.

It’s another unnecessary console computing device that takes an existing tablet platform (eg iOS or Android, even with the same manufacturer in nVidia as one of the systems previously using this form factor for games - not to mention all those tablet/convertible PCs that play Steam games) and then ties some games down to only working on it (when so many of them would be simply fabulous on the standard consoles we currently have). How long before it gets the famous Nintendo dust that their recent consoles have all suffered from. How long before everyone other than Nintendo realises the console is only good for losing money and abandons it? What about the developers who specialise in using this hardware who are left with expertise publishers don’t wish to pay for as the rest of the industry all move towards a similar performance level?

There are talented developers banging their heads against the problems and limitations of the Switch every day, and they are making rad things. Things I want to play! As long as I don’t need to grab two ill-fitting mini half-controllers and put an underpowered and overpriced tablet (with an unusually low res screen, even for $150-200 7" tablet devices) between them.


#14

I often see upcoming games and think ‘that looks cool, I sure wish it was in VR too’. It’s fine to dislike VR or not want to spend money on it, but please don’t feel sad for developers who want to make games for it, or hope it dies so that those devs can go back to making things for you.

I also sincerely hope that Star Child eventually makes its way to the good old PS4, headset-less. But alongside VR, not instead.


#15

I’m not sure that the Switch and VR are equivalent other than the fact that they are perhaps prohibitively expensive to some (and even then, VR is more expensive).

The Switch has options – use a pro controller if you don’t like the joy cons (which is, yes, more money but overall it’s still in the $300-400 range, just like any other console), game at home if you don’t like the screen, etc. I’ve found the Switch is much better as a home console than a handheld – it’s too big to put in your pocket, the screen is both too large (physically) and too small (I found most games uncomfortable to play with the Switch placed on a desk in kickstand mode because the screen is a little too small/far away, but holding it up to my face is also uncomfortable), battery life is bad, etc. I’m not saying that these aren’t flaws; of course they are, but if you game at home, they either go away or you can make them go away by throwing extra money at Nintendo, so they aren’t inherent and unfixable the way VR’s motion sickness issue is (as of right now). Which, okay, is possibly crippling a cool marketing point about the Switch, but it’s the console equivalent of the “17-inch gaming laptop” – you CAN carry it around, but you probably don’t want to. That said, the Switch’s value proposition stands as a home console anyway.

VR is a minimum $ 800-1000 investment from scratch (headset + VR-capable computer) and it locks out a significant portion of people because of physical pain. The Switch is $300 and the worst you can say is well, do we REALLY need another dedicated device, to which the most compelling answer is Nintendo first-party games, and it seems to be a plenty compelling answer all on its own. I don’t think there are that many Switch exclusives that aren’t tied to Nintendo in some way, and most multi-plats aren’t developed specifically with the Switch in mind, so there shouldn’t be a long list of “I wish this were coming to other consoles but it’s not” (i.e., the equivalent of “I wish this were coming to not-VR but it’s not”).

tl;dr: I don’t get the comparison, because the Switch is just another console (if anything is locking people out it’s money). VR is something slightly different (money is a factor, but also human biology).


#16

DOOM is actually out this year! I believe it’s 1st Dec.

Whilst I understand the general sentiment behind the article, as an owner of a PSVR I can’t really agree with it. It would be a different case if these were arbitrarily locked platform exclusives, but in the case of these games they were designed ground-up for VR and (one would hope) take advantage of the unique benefits VR offers.

If this were a reverse situation there would certainly be people complaining there were no games for the expensive bit of gear they bought, so I do champion the release of more VR games and Sony’s support, however small-scale it may be. I’d obviously like to see more Resi 7s and AAA VR titles (ZoE is a step in the right direction, oh my god :heart_eyes:) but there’s so much great stuff in the non-VR space lately I think having some interesting indie titles be VR-exclusive is not too much of an issue, and ensures there’s some backing to keep the tech healthy and hopefully alive to the point where it can become cheaper and more accessible.


#17

That is a passionate defence of the Switch, almost as if pointing out the flaws in a device and asking why there can’t just be absolutely no exclusives for it is far from a neutral way to discuss exclusives.

Just to your point of cost: they’re about the same price. You just costed up a Switch, plus memory card (as shipping games require it and it’s not included), plus non-stock controller, plus TV to play it on (to try to avoid nausea from looking down at a moving small screen you’re holding for extended periods). That’s easily the same ballpark as PS4 + PSVR bundle (which doesn’t require a TV or anything else to play, it’s a complete experience).

As many of these VR games are funded by the hardware manufacturers (or their in-house studios) then I see no difference in that vs Nintendo first party. If we’re going to actually say exclusives are bad and I want to play them how I want to play them (as that seems to be the bigger picture message here - even involving building out completely different experiences as VR is not just non-VR with a second eye render) then I’d like Zelda in 4K fidelity, 60fps smooth (no distracting aliasing, no low frame rate without sufficient motion markers to understand the scene correctly) with a standard, comfortable DS4 thanks. And as we’re going for “comfort is not optional” then never forget the FoV setting, to avoid motion sickness with different output systems (size of screen vs distance from requiring different FoV to form a “natural” portal).


#18

I’m reminded of when the Wii came out. The introduction of motion-controls locked some people out and increased accessibility for some folks who never played games before.
A lot of enthusiast press tends to be self-reinforcing; car fans will end up writing for car magazines. But here we have a radically different platform developing within the culture and production of computer-games, so computer-game enthusiasts find themselves writing about having products they lack the physical capability to enjoy, being marketed to them. It sucks having advertisements for something you physically can’t enjoy be broadcast to you. In my opinion, a big part of Waypoint’s appeal is the personalities who provide us with their knowledge, opinions, and humor. Having Danielle express her frustration seems like a strength of personality-based media because it is a reminder that people we feel like we know are being left out of something new and exciting.


#19

It’s just frustrating, a novel technology that’s actually trying to address issues of nausea is being singled-out as not making progress fast enough (and so not deserving of the experiences being developed for it, “why don’t they put all of these somewhere else” rather than “I can’t wait until the tech improves and hopefully I can enjoy these experiences in a few years too”). Meanwhile, we can look at the almost casual disdain (in most enthusiast press, often jokes and painting it as some weird demand made by people who play on PC) for standard anti-nausea work like FoV options in 3D games with controllable cameras.

As soon as we widen the conversation to other platforms with exclusives, everyone quickly jumps up to defend the practice for the platforms they prefer (see recent WPR where it goes from being concerned about when funding for VR dries up and how developers will manage into talking about how everything needs to come to the Switch, despite the history of how Nintendo have not been a good platform for developers who wish to make their costs back). The headline “These games look cool, I sure wish they weren’t on the Switch” would not fly with most.


#20

Re: RSI-inducing controllers

Okay, so it wasn’t just me. Borrowed my brother’s Switch for a week and those controllers, especially when attached to the Switch in portable mode, just about destroyed my wrists.