When a new entertainment platform arises, one method of testing the waters is to take something popular and create a spin-off for the new platform, to see if fans will follow. Alternatively, a spin-off can let you test out new ideas and mechanics with less risk, something that is particularly true for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). VRFocus examines a few examples of franchises that have now crossed into a more immersive world.
ARK: Survival Evolved attracted immediate attention when it was first revealed, with its fantastically detailed open world and, of course, the perennial fascination that human beings seem to have for dinosaurs. So when Snail Games revealed its VR spin off, there was much interest. This is especially true for players who like a more relaxed experience, since ARK Park has a more gentle, exploratory approach than the title it was originally based on.
The Walking Dead: Our World
Despite many people believing zombie-based media is at saturation point, The Walking Dead has continued to be incredibly popular. Originally starting as a comic book, it was then adapted into a TV show in AMC, where its popularity exploded. The Walking Dead: Our World is still awaiting its official worldwide release, but anticipation for the location-based AR experience is high.
Pokemon is a worldwide phenomenon, so it was originally something of a surprise that a tiny company like Niantic Labs were the ones chosen to create the AR mobile app for the franchise, Pokemon Go. Despite repeated technical issues, this still seems to have done fairly well, single-handedly raising the profile for AR around the world.
L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files
L.A. Noire was a very impressive release for its time, with its groundbreaking facial scanning and animation technology that tried to create a realistic and absorbing world for the player. As such, it seems like a natural fit for VR. Though the entire game content isn’t available in VR, seven cases are available to solve in VR, with a complete makeover to take advantage of the immersive technology.
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin
The original Psychonauts came out in 2005, and despite its originally disappointing sales figures it quickly gathered a core of dedicated fans and garnered a reputation as a cult classic. An unexpected Twitter conversation led to talks of a sequel, and also to the creation of a VR ‘mid-quel’ Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin that was originally released on PlayStation VR before getting posted over to SteamVR earlier this year.
Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep
Plenty of Final Fantasy fans viewed the epic road trip of the four pretty boys as something of a return to form for the series, which had been flagging somewhat. Many players sank somewhat more time than is wise into the fishing mini-game. Apparently aimed at those players, that fishing mini-game got the VR treatment in Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep, resulting in some surprisingly absorbing gameplay.
Killing Floor: Incursion
Killing Floor started life as a mod for Unreal Tournament 2004, first seeing life in 2005 before getting an upgrade to a standalone commercial release in 2009. It later received a sequel in 2016. Both the original and its sequel were examples of the ‘wave shooter’ that gained popularity in VR, so a conversion to the VR platform seems like a logical choice. Killing Floor: Incursion was born in 2017, originally for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive before being ported to PlayStation VR this year.