The latest news to come from Insomniac Games is pretty impressive. If you take a look around the virtual reality (VR) scene you have to wonder: which other well established development studios is dedicating this much time and effort into creating three completely different VR titles at the same time? Not too many, but this isn’t a question of what VR can do for Insomniac as the studio can only go up from here, but rather what Insomniac is doing for VR as a whole.
It isn’t necessarily out of the question to say that it makes sense for Insomniac to have dedicated so much time to VR considering the steps it has taken to becoming so well known. VRFocus spoke to Insomniac recently regarding the announcement of The Unspoken and Feral Rites, the two latest Oculus Rift-exclusive VR titles to come from the developers, but during the interview they were asked about its exclusivity to platform and Ryan Schneider, Chief Brand Officer at Insomniac, said: “It doesn’t hurt that Jason Rubin is the head of Worldwide Studios there at Oculus. And if you know about the history of Insomniac, you know that Insomniac and Naughty Dog kind of came up through the ranks together in large part and that was thanks to Jason Rubin and Ted Price’s relationship, so there is that factor that helped really push us over the top too.”
Rubin and Price’s history runs deep and is built on professional trust and respect. The relationship between the two isn’t something to have just come to light, but rather explains Insomniac’s loyalty to VR and also leads us back to the opening point of what Insomniac in particular is doing for VR: one of the most established developers in the gaming industry is wholeheartedly lending its experience to a new medium, and with its recent updated release of Ratchet and Clank all eyes are on the studio.
The success of the studio and its partnership with one of the leading head-mounted display (HMD) developers goes beyond VR, and so the pressure on VR to ensure the success of the videogame has vanished; what this means for VR is that it can benefit from sped-up mainstream adoption thanks to Insomniac. This is the point of it after all: the more well-established developers welcome VR with open arms, the easier it gets for VR to succeed.
Not only does Insomniac bring the behind the scenes professional strength, but the in-game design that has let them stand out from the crowds compared to other developers over the years. Insomniac has created some of incredibly immersive environments even before it took on VR, and it is all too evident with the scenic landscapes in all of its VR titles; even the combat brawler Feral Rites leads you through a setting-heavy world which has been described to be as important as the combat itself.
It isn’t all as positive as it seems, though. When a big player from the videogames industry enters some of the rules follows them. The exclusivity to Oculus VR will knock the sense of community within the industry; the feeling of being able to share success between HMDs stamped on. It has been said before that in order for VR videogames to succeed there should be cross-platform availability, but Insomniac paired with the Oculus Rift could be taking the ball and running miles down the road with it. Consumers now have to choose whether to pick the Oculus Rift and enjoy these three new VR titles from a developer who many have grown up playing, or to miss out on them altogether.