In this edition of PlayStation VR Conversations, we talk to Flavio Parenti, CEO and Creative Director of Untold Games. The London based studio was founded in 2013 to create virtual reality games, and they are currently working on the Sci-Fi adventure game, Loading Human, for PlayStation VR.
Find out below why Flavio thinks virtual reality will be a “complete paradigm shift” in video games!
PlayStation LifeStyle: What are the additional challenges in developing a game that uses virtual reality?
Flavio Parenti: Games in VR need a complete different set of rules: In VR, the world is around you. And behind you. And on top of you. From the simplest sounds of smaller objects, environments, or characters. Everything has to be designed to make the most out of the sense of presence and [the use of] 360°. So this means: 3D positional attenuation, real-time reverbs, HRTF, immersive storytelling. So much!
PSLS: Is virtual reality the next step in evolving the medium of video games?
FP: Yes. I would say it is not even a “step”, but a complete paradigm shift. The game is not in front of you anymore, it is around you, and this changes everything. The gamers are naturally early adopters, this is why we are going to see the first effects of the virtual reality revolution in video games, but it will soon spread to many other medium such as VR movies, VR data managing, VR communication etc..
PSLS: Do you feel that to make the best possible VR experiences, a game has to be developed from the ground up for VR? Or do you believe that current games can be adapted?
FP: Ground up for sure. We are developing Loading Human only for VR, and there is a reason to it. Like I said earlier, VR is a paradigm shift, and like every new Language, it requires a new grammar, new ways of designing games, new perspectives. I mean, even the word “game” might be reductive in a VR environment. So yes, if you want to make good VR, you have to think for VR.
PSLS: How important is immersion to the experience, and making sure the game doesn’t break away from it?
FP: Immersion is the key. To be precise: “Sense of presence”. And if you break it, you lose it. You really don’t want the player to feel bad within a VR experience, because his first reaction would be to take away the headset. So consistency of the experience, stability of the hardware and software, good framerate, coherence of the VR world, all those things need to be well balanced and implemented in the game in order to create a flawless experience.
PSLS: How is Loading Human enhanced by Virtual Reality?
FP: Loading Human would not exist without VR. We are building a VR game/experience that is made ground up to take advantage of all the aspects of VR: sense of presence, emotional storytelling, motion controllers to simulate hands and body, interaction with VR characters. Many of those things would be impossible in a “normal” game, and all of them are enhanced by VR. In the end, I think that what will make the difference will be the storytelling. We are doing the best we can to put the player in the body of a character and throw him into an extraordinary journey. Like we say, we want the player to “play an extra life”.
PlayStation VR Conversations is a recurring interview feature where developers talk about the learning process of developing for virtual reality, and the future of video games.