One of the very few brand new virtual reality (VR) experiences present at this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) came in the form of Jurassic Encounter, a new Project Morpheus title from Supermassive Games. As the name suggests, Jurassic Encounter takes you out of your real-world environment and throws you into a brutal prehistoric world.
As with The Deep, Jurassic Encounter sees players observe a world with their feet glued to the spot. Stationary all but their right arm, in which the player holds branch housing a few leaves, the experience is about immersion; believably being part of a world unlike their own. Everything starts off relatively peaceful with a small herd in the middleground seemingly looking for food; keeping themselves to themselves. Suddenly, a larger beast enters the field and scare the herd away. As it does however, an even larger dinosaur arrives and engages it without haste. A victor is established, but only moments before an even larger creature enters the scene. What was only moments ago a calm view of an ancient wilderness has now become a violent bloodbath. And all you can do is watch as the beasts wage war just a few metres from where you stand.
Despite all of this bloodshed and aggression, Jurassic Encounter is keen to teach you one thing: size doesn’t always mean hostility. As the events continue a larger beast approaches so close to the camera that only it’s head will fit within your field of view. It’s coming in close for one reason and one reason alone: it’s hungry. It’s not there for you though: the taste of blood and crunching of bones isn’t fitting with its palette. Instead, it wants your leaves. Offer it your branch and it will take it in it’s mouth, tugging the leaves off with an satisfied look upon it’s face. Of course, just because it’s a vegetarian it doesn’t mean it’s not prey for someone else. Something else; something even larger.
Despite being limited in it’s interaction, Jurassic Encounter is a very high quality production. Aside from CCP Games’ EVE Valkyrie it’s arguably the most impressive visual design of any Project Morpheus title. Some would argue that this comes as a result of limiting the breadth of the environment, but very few titles yet seen on the console VR solution have pushed beyond this basic set-up. Indeed, it’s only Street Luge that has had to provide more than a static or repeated backdrop, and London Studios’ racing title is most certainly of a weaker visual quality.
Just as with most titles for the PlayStation 4’s VR solution at present, there’s no word on whether or not Jurassic Encounter will ever see a commercial release, however VRFocus would wonder why a studio with comparatively limited resources would spend time developing a technical demo for which they were unlikely to receive remuneration of kind. Of course, VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on Jurassic Encounter and other Project Morpheus titles.