CastleStorm VR Highlights One of PSVR’s Most Desperately Needed Features

August 1, 2017Written by Chandler Wood

PSVR Theater mode

CastleStorm VR’s virtual medieval theater room.

This summer has seen a crazy amount of PlayStation VR titles release, with the likes of Theseus, SUPERHOT VR, Archangel, and SmashBox Arena all having just released in the last couple of weeks. This week brings us Dino Frontier and the Zen Studios’ long lived CastleStorm VR being the PSVR version of a game that’s been releasing in various forms for four years. With no shortage of content for the platform (some good and some bad), it’s high time Sony starts looking at essential new features for PSVR.

As I reviewed CastleStorm VR, I took particular note of the method that Zen Studios used to portray the main menu and the game’s cutscenes: A virtual theater. This particular theater is a medieval room made of wood and stone. A helmet and sword rest on the seat to my left and a drink and popcorn sit on the chair to my right. A pair of knights flank the screen, occasionally shifting their stance. Looking up, you can see the light from the projector filtering through the musty theater air. Even turning completely around show the king and princess watching the screen from the back row of the theater.

The ambiance is incredible, the sense of presence palpable. The screen in front of me really feels like a massive movie screen in a far more interesting environment than PSVR’s current boring screen that floats in an empty blackness. While I love my PlayStation VR, I rarely ever use it for any kind of flat screen media. I don’t even use it to browse the PS4’s main menu at all, waiting to turn it on until I’ve launched a VR game, and powering it off again before I close the application.

PSVR Theater mode

Oculus and Vive can run this customizable virtual desktop app, creating a variety of environments for non-VR content.

There are numerous ways that Sony could remedy this. They could create a series of pre-made theater rooms to play games and watch movies in, allowing players to swap between a few different environments and replacing the dull empty blackness that exists now. I’m also picturing something similar to Oculus’ virtual desktop, creating a unique and immersive virtual reality main menu for the PS4 exclusively for use within PSVR.

People are going to hate me for even suggesting this, but Sony could treat these virtual environments like themes, having premium ones for sale, and using others as freebies and promos for games. Imagine sitting in an Uncharted themed theater room, or browsing for games in an immersive main menu using the art styles found in Pyre, Transistor, and Bastion. It’s certainly something I would consider paying for, depending on the nature of the theme, and it would entice the use of my PlayStation VR for more than just VR content.

PS4 update 5.0 is just around the corner, and chances are high it will bring some updates to the VR firmware too, as previous updates to the headset have been packaged in with major PS4 updates. As this is a full numbered update, I’m hoping it will bring some major changes to the future of PSVR. Would you like to see a better theater mode brought to PlayStation VR? Sound off in the comments below.

Essential Reading