Many expect the imminent arrival of virtual reality (VR) technology to have an impact comparable to some of the most significant advancements in entertainment over the past 100 years. Pioneers such as Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) London Studio’s David Ranyard have suggested that VR represents a shift as a dramatic as adding sound into movies for the first time, while others compare it to the move into the 3D era of videogames with consoles such as the original PlayStation. For Crysis developer Crytek, VR is like moving ‘from black and white to color’.
David Bowman, Crytek’s Director of Production, said as much in a recent blog post from the company. “You’re going from black and white to color,” he wrote. “Games are still going to exist, but all of a sudden you have a whole new dimension to them that changes the quality of the experience in a significant way. Once you do color, it’s hard to go back to black and white.”
Bowman’s comparison works in the concept that shooting in black and white is still a viable practise and not necessarily inferior to colour productions. “There’s still fantastic black and white, but color just seems to be a natural part of something that you want to have when you’re watching television or movies. That’s what this feels like. If I go back to the first console games, the change was incremental, it wasn’t revolutionary. Whereas VR really does allow you to do things you can’t currently do on a flat monitor,” he concluded.
Not everyone is as optimistic as Bowman. Warren Spector, the legendary developer behind the original Deus Ex, labelled VR as a ‘fad’ following the technology’s huge presence at E3 in Los Angeles, California last week. Crytek, however, is moving on full steam ahead with VR, having recently announced Crytek’s Robinson: The Journey for VR HMDs and displaying its latest tech demo, Back to Dinosaur Island 2 at E3. The company also recently added Oculus Rift support to its CryENGINE toolset.
VRFocus will continue to follow Crytek’s work in VR, reporting back with the latest updates.