Last night’s PlayStation Gamescom press conference proved to be an uneventful one for virtual reality (VR) enthusiasts. Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) again held back on details for its Project Morpheus VR head-mounted display (HMD) for PlayStation 4, failing to announce any new titles or specs for the device. That’s not to say the conference itself was lacklustre; a range of interesting new titles were shown off, including an intriguing horror experience named P.T..
Although it almost got lost in the horde of news, this first-person title actually ended up being one of the most significant announcements of the evening, as an interactive teaser revealed it to be a new Silent Hill title from Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and famed movie director Guillermo Del Toro, developed by Kojima Productions. The new experience seems to be titled Silent Hills and stars The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus. It’s certainly an exciting surprise, but could there still be more to uncover? Looking back over 2014, there seems to be a range of evidence to suggest that Silent Hills could in fact be a VR videogame.
Let’s start with the most obvious VR link to the title, coming from Kojima himself. All the way back in February 2014 the famed developer posted an image of himself using the Oculus Rift VR HMD on Twitter. At the time it was thought that Kojima and his team at Kojima Productions may simply be experimenting with the tech with the then-upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. In actuality, it seems far more likely that this would have been for this first-person experience rather than the ill-fitted stealth title. Of course, a Twitter post is just that, but Kojima is known for using his account to drop hints and teases of things to come.
Del Toro’s connection itself is a big hint that VR support could be in store for Silent Hills. Last month saw the Pans Labyrinth director champion the technology, with an Oculus Rift experience for his most recent movie, Pacific Rim, being one of the highlights of the 2014 San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). Del Toro sang the HMD’s praises, also revealing that he would support a Pacific Rim sequel shot in VR. He also stated that videogames seem best suited for the tech. It certainly seems like the director would be open to working on a VR videogame, then. Horror fans will remember that Del Toro encouraged developers of the now-cancelled Insane to bring new ideas to the table when working on it many years ago.
Now let’s turn to the demo itself. Being a first-person horror experience obviously doesn’t confirm support for VR, although it is certainly one of the more popular genres to support the technology so far. Playing the experience one can’t help but notice the lack of a user interface (UI), with words only appearing during the start of the experience and at the ending reveal trailer. Of course, Silent Hill titles are traditionally played from a third-person perspective and this demo could simply be a test-bed. After all, what’s the point of having Norman Reedus in your title if you can’t see his face?
There’s also the fact that, for now, P.T. has only been released on PlayStation 4. That could simply be because SCE was willing to go along with one of Kojima’s predictably crazy teases, but it could also be because of a focus on VR. That said, this wouldn’t stop a PC version with Oculus Rift support being released, and no such version has yet been announced.
There’s certainly compelling evidence to suggest that the next Silent Hill title will at least support VR, then. Just when publisher Konami will reveal more details about the title is unknown, though VRFocus will be sure to bring you any news of possible support as soon as we hear about it.