Virtual reality releases have been a little difficult to follow over the last two years, because there have just been so many of them. With different experiences coming out for different headsets – some $2 and others closer to $60 – it’s all a little bit of a whirlwind. That makes it not only hard to know what’s on the menu, so to speak, but difficult to see which games are setting the tone for a sort of tech sub-industry that’s still emerging and figuring itself out.
We can’t really quantify significance in VR releases, but to sort through the pile, we’ve come up with some of the game releases that seem most important so far.
Batman: Arkham VR
The Batman: Arkham series has been incredibly successful for a very long time, and was one of the hottest franchises in gaming right around the time that VR first became widely available. Its inclusion as part of virtual reality was (and remains) significant simply because it was one of the early pioneers that showed that existing, popular games could work in the new format. Not too many major franchises have been perfected this way – Arkham included – but this game helped signal what’s to come.
Right now, Eagle Flight doesn’t seem like much more than a game that worked out well in the early going. Essentially an experience that allows you to fly around above the city of Paris, as IGN review it was praised as something that reached greater heights than much of the other stuff that was available for PlayStation VR early on. Now, however, as we begin to see things like exercise machines and live arcades making new VR experiences popular, the idea of a flight-based game could take on new significance. In arcades, we could see full-body apparatuses designed to help suspend people in air so that they can feel as if they’re actually flying while playing a game like this.
Gonzo’s Quest is significant purely because it marked the introduction of a very large new genre – casino gaming – to VR. It’s a game that had already developed a reputation online for its graphics and immersive qualities, and you can see in the VR demo that this is all taken to a new level via virtual reality. Suffice it to say it’s a little more fun to play a digital slot reel if you’re doing it in an animated jungle with a fun character (Gonzo himself) leading the way. Also NetEnt to Launch First VR Slot for Online Casinos – Source.
Rick & Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality
Based on the popular animated comedy Rick & Morty, this is a fairly casual game. It’s not the most sophisticated VR game, nor the deepest. But it actually matters quite a bit, because it demonstrates how simpler VR games can (and almost certainly will) be used almost as marketing material for shows, cartoons, etc.
The London Heist
The London Heist has since more or less been outdone. In fact just a few months ago an article was written specifically to that effect, saying Blood & Truth is the VR action shooter The London Heist wanted to be. That’s fair enough, but if anything it speaks to why The London Heist was important. It was one of the first games to tackle the tricky question of how to make a shooter work in VR, and we’ve since seen both imitations and other creative ideas. Basically, it established that a shooter could work in VR.