Playing the current library of virtual reality games and demos has been absolutely amazing so far. VR creates an immersive experience that goes far beyond anything that you can experience on a 2D screen. I've flown spaceships, shot bows and arrows, commanded armies, and more in various virtual worlds. There is incredible potential in VR, and when I think about the future of the hardware and the games that I would love to experience in one of the new headsets, my wishlist fills up fast.
Besides games like EVE Valkyrie and Portal-inspired minigames, many of the games I've played so far were new titles, created for VR without the licensing of a popular gaming franchise attached. While it's fantastic to experience new worlds, there are always those games that you've always dreamed of physically stepping into. Now with VR, that might actually be possible.
Star Wars: Rogue Squadron
Sure, swinging around VR lightsabers is cool, but imagine sitting in an X-Wing as you aim your targeting computer during the Death Star trench run, manning the gun turrets of the Millennium Falcon, or successfully navigating an asteroid field when the chances of survival are only 3,720 to 1. The Rogue Squadron series has always done an amazing job of recreating the iconic battles from the classic movies (and filling in the narrative gaps in the Star Wars timeline). Now, with plenty of holes to fill between the old and the new movies, and the series needing a refresher, VR seems to be the perfect opportunity.
Looking down on a battlefield of Protoss fighting off a Zerg rush in VR would probably be the best thing ever. Yeah, most people think first-person when it comes to VR, but seeing things from a god's point of view is equally astounding. Watching Zerg units and buildings burst out of their spawning cocoons, and a seeing Terran air units fly right past your face in a 3D virtual world would be like looking at a living, interactive diorama.
The basic gameplay doesn't need to change; you could still pull off the basic base building and unit commands with standard controls. But if motion controller compatibility was added to a new VR StarCraft, players could get their virtual hands in the battle, gesturing to command units, and reaching out and placing structures on the map. It would be like you're actually a general, strategically deploying your units from an overwatch position.
The third-person Oculus game Chronos has proved that the classic Resident Evil-style fixed camera system is not dead. Chronos snaps your view to predetermined locations, so you can look anywhere you want. It's an engaging mechanic, encouraging you to slow down and observe the environment. In a horror setting, like Resident Evil, this remixed classic camera has the potential to scare your pants off.
Returning to the fixed camera style could bring Resident Evil back from the action-oriented, over-the-shoulder shooter gameplay to its horror roots. VR could force players to slow the pace, introduce new types of environment puzzles, and set up some freaky jump scares. Just the prospect of having a monster like a licker jumping at my face in VR is terrifying.
If you think playing a bullet hell game on a 2D screen is intense, watching hundreds of bullets being shot at you in VR is on a whole new level. Current VR titles let you control your ship like a toy in your hand, maneuvering to fire at enemies and dodge bullets. Having direct control over the ship makes dodging and weaving through the gunfire almost gymnastic. You almost feel like a super spy bending and squeezing through lasers in a high-security diamond heist. With Ikaruga's bullet and shield color mechanics, a new series of games could bring incredible complexity and intensity to the overall simple and slow-paced VR demos we've played so far.
Horror games and atmospheric, space-faring adventure games seem to be winners in VR so far. If you mix those two genres together, you'd basically get Dead Space - which would be absolutely amazing and terrifying in VR. It wouldn't necessarily need to follow the perilous exploits of Isaac Clark again, but instead introduce a new way to experience the horror of getting disemboweled by monsters in space.
Alien: Isolation has already pulled off a first-person space horror in VR with Oculus Rift-compatible demos, and that was horrifying just having one xenomorph roaming the air ducts. Just imagine being in a new Dead Space VR game trapped in some space colony or orbiting station filled with terrifying, walking corpse monsters waiting to rip your head off and replace it with theirs. That's what nightmares are made of, right there.
Being in a VR world allows you to look at puzzles from different perspectives and forces you to be aware of your surroundings, analyze the objects in front of you, then grab things in 3D space. For a game like Monument Valley, which involves solving puzzles based on perspective, VR seems like a natural next step.
The original Monument Valley relied on tricks of perspective to create optical illusions, the sort of puzzle that would be fascinating to see in a VR world. There could be a floating puzzle in front of you that you could physically walk around and grab with motion controlled hands, then line up a perfect viewing perspective to move your character through. The potential for virtual puzzle design would be incredible.
We've already seen hints at what we could be in store for this type of virtual pet care. Valve's The Lab demo allows your to grab a stick and play fetch with a robot dog, and games like Job Simulator allow you to do more complicated things with your virtual hands like pour out wine bottles and throw books like frisbees.
Now, apply those mechanics to a pet care simulator and you've got an adorable, entertaining experience with possibly tomodachi levels of addiction on your hands. Motion controls could enable you to teach your dogs, pandas, and tigers tricks based on gestures, play fetch by physically throwing virtual toys, and take your digital pet to any location in the universe. Sounds like an animal lover's dream.
There needs to be a VR Diablo game just so we can look at the decrepit, demon-infested environments through a VR headset. Every piece of scenery would jut out towards you and enemy monsters would scurry below making the world feel like it's alive. Even just moving through the world could make you feel like you're flying. The Diablo environments would be astonishing to see in VR, giving you a chance to peer around castle towers or look down burning pits that go straight to Hell.
Blizzard is also known for its outstanding cinematic cutscenes. VR could give the developer a chance to make more interactive cinematic scenes by dropping the players themselves into the narrative environment. You could watch as pits to Hell crack open beneath your feet or come face to face with Diablo and the other Primevals.
God of War
Third-person games work well in VR, giving you the ability to get incredible views of the digital worlds and give you close up looks of your character in action. What better way to watch Kratos decapitate minotaurs and crush gods' heads with his bare hands. These features would be amazing in a VR God of War title. The series already uses eye-catching camera perspectives to highlight its environments, and then there's the boss battles and quick-time events that could literally have you standing on the shoulders of giants then chopping their heads off.
God of War would excel at creating a visual spectacle with the VR hardware. If something like God of War 3's intro sequence was in VR, it would give me shivers. You could watch the Titans climb Mount Olympus as Kratos jumps on the Titans' arms and faces while your camera perspective shifts from broad views to the close-up bloody action. It sounds like rollercoaster, but using VR could be a great way to crank up the intensity of the God of War series.