Arguably the poster child that helped transition the VR renaissance from a pipe dream into a truly viable and exciting new trend is CCP Games’ VR spinoff, EVE: Valkyrie. Thrusting you into the cockpit and into the thick of CCP’s sprawling universe, Valkyrie strips away the near-impenetrable lore at the heart of the series in favor of a multiplayer dogfighting sim in its purest form — the kind you could introduce to older relatives oblivious to virtual reality with relative ease.
It’s little wonder why Oculus has packaged EVE: Valkyrie in with each unit of Oculus Rift. With a smart marketing nudge closer to release, CCP’s crisp shooter could very well become a fixture across all VR platforms — PlayStation VR included.
Remember Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar-winner Gravity? Now imagine being thrusted into a similar situation via virtual reality and you have a general overview for Adam Orth’s (yes, that Adam Orth) debut game, Adr1ft. Telling the tale of an astronaut who finds himself smack bang in the middle of a space catastrophe, the sci-fi title fits the mould that VR platforms afford like a glove.
We’ve mentioned before that the formative years for virtual reality will largely be defined by first-person experiences and simulators, and Adr1ft has emerged as one of the early frontrunners of the pack. Currently pegged to launch day and date with Oculus Rift in May, we’re holding out hope that the team at Three One Zero can squeeze Adr1ft into PlayStation VR’s launch window, too.
One of the more intriguing titles designed specifically for PlayStation VR is Highwire Games’ Golem. Showcased during Sony’s PSX 2015 keynote, the studio’s foray into virtual reality has players assuming the role of a young girl imbued with the ability to control towering golems. Think Pacific Rim, only with decidedly less bro-ho fist bumps and Idris Elba grumbling about cancelling some apocalypse.
On a more serious note, Highwire’s VR title has a tinge of Shadow of the Colossus weaved into its story in the best possible way, and the tantalizing teaser merely hinted at the dynamic between the powerful young girl and her rocky counterpart. Expect Golem to hit the platform in late 2016.
Never underestimate the franchise power of Gran Turismo. It's one of Sony’s most endearing and beloved series, with upwards of 75 million units sold worldwide across its decorated history. And though few were surprised when Polyphony Digital confirmed PSVR support for Gran Turismo Sport, the studio is doubling down on the next outing for its racing facsimile by hosting two online championships sanctioned by the FIA.
Divided across the Nations Cup and the Manufacturers Cup, budding racers can side with their country or vehicle of choice, respectively, Sony previously hinted that winners “will be awarded in the same manner as real-life motorsports champions, at the FIA prize-giving ceremony.” Color us excited.
Plus, for those curious as to how Gran Turismo fits the PSVR mould, Series Designer Kazunori Yamauchi has assured fans that Sport is a “very good, very natural” addition to the platform. Ladies and gentlemen, start your virtual engines.
SEGA's psychedelic on-rails shooter Rez has been Rez-urrected (sorry) for a new generation and an entirely new medium in the form of Rez Infinite. In its long-awaited journey to new hardware, developer Enhance Games has slapped on updated visuals and reworked audio to envelope you in the experience.
A cult classic after first hitting the scene in 2001, your excitement for Rez Infinite will likely hinge on your own history with SEGA’s atypical shooter. Even still, Tetsuya Mizuguchi — who oversaw development on the original release — has teased that PSVR lends him the opportunity to fully realize his vision, and for that reason, Rez Infinite has captured our attention.
Rez isn’t the only classic to emerge out of the archives in time for PlayStation VR, with the team over at Rebellion nurturing Atari’s 80s gem Battlezone to a whole new audience. Retaining the same vector graphics as its fore-bearer, the studio’s revival is bursting at the seams with color and personality, though Rebellion is cognizant of the series’ history: "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.”
The one uphill battle currently facing Battlezone is whether it will be able to compete in such a crowded genre. PlayStation VR’s initial line-up will be awash with shooters of this ilk when it finally debuts, and Battlezone will need more than a dormant legacy if it is to find an audience.
Naysayers be damned, Guerrilla Cambridge is putting together PlayStation VR’s first marquee shooter in RIGS: Mechanized Combat League. Buoyed by the pedigree behind Guerrilla Games’ sister studio, Cambridge is best known for its work on PS Vita exclusive Killzone: Mercenary, which acted as a true showcase of Sony’s handheld in 2013, firing on all cylinders with its crisp visuals and lofty production values.
It’s for this reason that we have full confidence in Cambridge’s ability to optimize RIGS to fit the platform, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility to label the studio’s mech-on-mech shooter as a system seller. Is it possible that RIGS could go on to become the Rocket League of PlayStation VR? That one game that burns past all expectations and births a bona fide viral hit? Time will tell.
Yes, at the time of writing, No Man’s Sky VR credentials are strictly hush hush. What we do know is that Hello Games’ near-infinite space sim has been incubating in development for an awful long time — even considering its sheer scope — and PSVR support would certainly explain the prolonged production. Just imagine it; cascading down onto an alien planet and being the first human to plant your proverbial flag. That feeling of discovery would be amplified beyond measure, as you gaze around your newfound home, drinking in its sprawling vistas and lime-green sky.
If PlayStation VR really is to ship with a killer app so to speak, No Man’s Sky is a fine candidate to pick up the mantle. Excitement for Hello Games’ new IP may have cooled due to that extended window between announcement and release, but there’s no question that No Man’s Sky remains one of the most talked-about games currently in development, and Sony would be wise to fan that flame all the way until its June release date.
We’d be remised if No Goblin’s inimitable 100ft Robot Golf didn’t make the cut. First unveiled during PlayStation Experience late last year, the studio’s larger-than-life title is headed to PS4 and PlayStation VR in 2016. Pitched as a love letter to 90s mecha animation, 100ft Robot Golf does exactly what it says on the tin: places you in control of a towering mech as you hit the back nine — because all robots really want in life is a lower handicap.
Toss in destructible environments and split-screen play and it’s hard not to get excited about the online possibilities brimming beneath the surface. Whether said multiplayer features will carry over for the PSVR version of 100ft Robot Golf is still up for question, but the mere thought of casting your eye over the fairway from a skyscraper-sized bot is pretty damn exciting.
It was rumoured for the longest time, and sure enough, Supermassive finally peeled back the curtain on Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, its horrific foray into the virtual reality space.
Horror games are perhaps one of the few genres that currently fit the virtual framework that PlayStation VR affords, amplifying the toe-curling tension by enveloping players in the thrills and spills of any given tale. Even still, one early apprehension about Rush of Blood is that not only is it an on-rails experience that hues close to the tried and tested formula, but Supermassive’s VR standalone also has more in common with an arcade-style shooter than the Until Dawn universe.
First hatched during development on the PS4 sleeper hit, Rush of Blood is an evolution of the studio’s Jurassic Encounter tech demo, layered with the characters and environments from Until Dawn. As intriguing as it is that Supermassive is building a new experience specifically for VR, we’re waiting for that unique selling point before journeying back to Blackwood Pines.