Those that have tried them will know that virtual reality (VR) horror experiences can be much more intense, isolating and terrifying than when played on a standard 2D display. Bringing horror to life in this way is something that countless fans have dreamed of and many others have dreaded. Jump scares in particular can be very shocking in VR. So much so in fact, that Oculus VR, creator of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) is ‘strongly discouraging’ developers from using them for their VR horror titles.
Oculus Rift designer and company founder Palmer Luckey said as much during a recent Ask Me Anything session over on Reddit. When asked by one fan if the company would consider adding a ‘PTSD rating’ to VR horror experiences on its Oculus Store, the creator replied: “No PTSD rating, but we are strongly discouraging developers from using jump scares. They are such a cheap way to get a reaction in VR.” He also highlighted the fact that the Oculus Store will allow people to view a 360 degree image of a scene from any videogame, which could help players get an idea of a given title’s atmosphere.
It remains to be seen how effective Oculus VR’s work in discouraging developers from implementing these scares has been. One of the earliest VR horror titles to arrive will be Insomniac Games’ Edge of Nowhere, which follows a protagonist’s descent into madness as they search the arctic for a lost expedition crew. The title is exclusive to the Oculus Rift and published by Oculus VR itself, so it should be a good indicator of what type of VR horror experiences you can expect on the HMD going forward.
The Oculus Rift launches 28th March 2016. Pre-orders are open now, though the expected delivery date for current orders has been pushed all the way back to June 2016. Check back with VRFocus for the latest on the HMD.