It’s very possible that virtual reality (VR) technology will be a source of huge controversy when the industry inevitably arrives at a point of total immersion. New action experiences could allow players to realistically handle deadly weapons while horror titles will become much more convincing. Just how these issues will be resolved will be interesting to follow, although it could be that higher age restrictions are put in place. In fact, the German Rating Board has already put this approach into practice.
That is according to Dave Ranyard of Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) London Studio, the developer behind The Deep and Street Luge for the Project Morpheus head-mounted display (HMD) on PlayStation 4. “I think there are some great experiences to be had and I think it will be more visceral for people,” Ranyard recently told GamesTM. “The German ratings body rated our demo of The Deep as 15 for the headset but only 12 on screen, so they believed gamers would have a greater emotional reaction to what they were seeing in the headset. But I go to theme parks and I like the thrill rides. We kind of want to know there is a safety net but we also want to take that step into make-believe and enjoy the experience of it.”
The Deep is a first-person experience in which players strap on a HMD and descend into the ocean, observing various forms of aquatic wildlife. Towards the end of the demo the player attracts the attention of a shark that proceeds to attack the cage they stand in. No harm comes to the player or the shark in the end, making the higher rating all the more interesting. Last year Ranyard even revealed a video of his mother experiencing The Deep for the first time and having a very strong reaction to it.
It’s certainly an interesting approach, especially to see it carried out so early in VR’s life span. What will this mean for when VR-compatible titles his retail stores in the future? VRFocus will continue to follow the technology closely, reporting back with any further updates.