Frame Interactive’s Headmaster was revealed at last month’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), Los Angeles, and has since received a great deal of attention. A PlayStation 4 Project Morpheus exclusive title that began as a simple game jam prototype, Headmaster is all about the immediacy of virtual reality (VR), something with Frame Interactive CEO, Ben Throop, thinks is very important.
“I came up with the idea in June 2014 at a game jam called the Boston VR Bender,” stated Throop on a recent panel at San Diego Comic Con. “Valve brought its prototype desktop VR hardware to the event and the jam was all about making positional tracking based experiences. I like to start with game mechanics, and a tracked head is pretty interesting as a control surface.”
Though there are many videogame titles for the Samsung Gear VR that require little else than the player’s line-of-sight and swipes of the built-in touchpad to play, there are far fewer that offer simple head movement as their main mechanic. Even less so on those tethered head-mounted displays (HMDs). Throop reasons that his experience of this with non-gamers is important.
“My wife and her friends were testing a new build the other night and were just dying laughing and cheering for each other,” said Throop. “I asked one of the women, who is a total non-gamer, what it was that she liked about it. She said it was that it didn’t use a controller. She said whenever she has to use a controller, she forgets what button does what and has to look down.”
Digging deeper, Throop states that this kind of immediately relatable experience is important for attracting a wider audience to realise the possibilities of VR. Referencing Angry Birds as an example of the kind of interactivity that is needed, Throop suggests that the first moments of VR should be simple and intuitive and will allow for deeper experiences in time.
“As far as how it fits into VR right now, I do think we need approachable and fun experiences to get people to try the technology,” Throop says. “Once people see what it’s all about and have a good experience, their minds open up to the possibilities, and the possibilities are freaking endless.”
Frame Interactive’s Headmaster is currently in development exclusively for the PlayStation 4’s Project Morpheus and is expected to launch early next year. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on Headmaster and other Project Morpheus titles.