Virtual reality on PS4? CCP's EVE: Valkyrie is a breathtaking sign of things to come
- Posted October 21st, 2013 at 15:46 EDT by Kyle Prahl
For a traditional first-person shooter or adventure, control differences demand more thoughtful execution. I dream of playing The Elder Scrolls Online with Oculus Rift. The left and right analog sticks would still handle movement and aiming, respectively, but moving your head with Oculus would allow fine adjustments or a total alternative to looking around as your character. In other, less conventional genres, the applications could benefit production and storytelling techniques. Give me Beyond: Two Souls and an empty room to move about, and I'll become the cameraman. Give me Kingdom Hearts III, and I'll look at the Heartless I want Donald and Goofy to focus their attacks on. Give me Half-Life 3 (lol) and I'll nod to indicate my agreement to Alyx--or shake my head when I don't want her to go.
This isn't a far-fetched pipe dream. Next-generation console support is confirmed for Oculus Rift, and big-name publishers have been putting their weight and faith behind it for months. Even Sony's excited at the interactive possibilities, with Shuhei Yoshida admitting at E3 2013 that Sony has "a couple of the development kits" and refusing, with a big smile, to give comment on whether PS4 compatibility and games supporting Oculus Rift could come down the line.
With any luck, CCP's EVE: Valkyrie will be one of the those games, and perhaps the first to truly sell consumers and industry alike on the entertainment power of virtual reality that is virtual reality. From a technical standpoint, Valkyrie is damn near there: on prototype Oculus HD hardware, visual detail popped with vibrant clarity and perfectly function 3v3 matches ran without hiccups all weekend. But CCP Games is a historically ambitious company, and few (if any) developers can claim to possess the same unyielding vision that produces the first-ever free-to-play MMOFPS on a console, or a virtual-reality extension to the lore of a decade-old MMO behemoth that continues to grow its subscriber base every year. It's going to take time and sales evidence of Oculus Rift's market viability to yield innovative software from all corners of PlayStation's development ecosystem, and neither Oculus Rift nor its HD counterpart are anywhere near what a reasonable person would call "mass-market friendly." But they don't necessarily need to be (yet), and the development time between Oculus' current state and its mass-market release months or years from now should allow experiences like EVE Valkyrie to populate and definite the kit.
If the entire PlayStation nation could have the same hands-on (eyes-on?) time with EVE: Valkyrie that I had at EVE Vegas, we'd be clamoring for more--for our favorite characters and worlds to envelope our senses, for the worlds we love saving to be made real and inviting. But I'm not worried, and I have every confidence that this future is coming. If pioneers like the engineers at CCP continue to push the tech and innovate in uncharted space, and if Sony can seal the deal on hardware compatibility, the first-party stable and PlayStation development family will follow suit.----
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