E3. It is the most wonderful time of the year if you are a gamer. One of my favorite parts of the show is that no matter where you play your games, or what type of games you enjoy, there is going to be something for you at E3. I do not care who "won" E3, or what press conference was the best. I may jump into the fray to offer an opinion or two, and while those conversations can be fun, I tend to reflect on what E3 means for me as a gamer. Selfish? Sure, but waxing poetic about games on PSVG is a hobby, not a job. As a result, I have the opportunity to focus on the bright side of the hobby and leave the critique to those far smarter and more knowledgeable than I. What was my biggest take away? PlayStation is committed to VR. A couple of things I need to clarify before I continue. Folks have pointed out to me that I always write PSVR, but there is supposed to be a space in there (PS VR). I know, but I just cannot bring myself to do it (similar to PS4 versus PS 4). If I ever spin this side hustle (that is what the kids call it, right?) into a full-time gig, I promise to do it correctly. Also, I know PlayStation supported the Vita initially, and what we have seen thus far does not guarantee the future support. Yes, that is true. However, with VR representing roughly a third of the PlayStation Media Showcase, it is hard to argue they are not behind it right now. Could support fall off the edge of a cliff in a year? Sure. Even if it happens, though, it looks like I am going to get some great experiences along the way.
In case you missed it, PlayStation had six PS VR games as part of their Media Showcase, covered two additional games in the pre-show, two others that were on 3rd party stages are coming to PSVR, and the PlayStation live stream during E3 showed four other games. That is a total of 14 games shown for the hardware, 11 of which are aiming for a release before the end of the year. What are all of these titles convincing me of PlayStation commitment of PSVR? I am glad you asked...
What is more fun than shooting a bunch of things in a game? If you answered shooting a bunch of stuff while in a gigantic mech, you win! From new studio Skydance Interactive, Archangel puts you in the cockpit of a giant mech fighting off an overwhelming, mechanized force attempting to squash the rebel forces. Your presence alone gives hope, and I hope to play this game when it releases in July.
The second PSVR exclusive being developed by Supermassive, Bravo Team puts you in the role of a protection detail whose mission goes horribly wrong. What ensues is an on-rail arcade shooter compatible with the Aim controller. One of my greatest joys, when I was a kid, was playing light-gun shooters in the arcade, and games like this are why I love VR. Bravo Team is shooting for a Holiday 2017 release.
When Doom VFRwas revealed on the Bethesda stage, I assumed it would be only coming to Vive, similar to Fallout VR. Surprisingly, after the show, the game was confirmed for PSVR and is coming sometime before the end of the year. Folks have been clamoring for more "full" VR games, and it looks like Bethesda is trying to deliver.
A PSVR exclusive title being developed by Supermassive, The Inpatient takes place 60 years before the events of Until Dawn and puts you in the role of a patient in Blackwood Sanatorium who has amnesia. While you do not need to play Until Dawn to understand what is going on, you should because it is a great game. One of the best parts of this title? It is aiming for a Holiday 2017 release.
Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV
Last year at E3 a VR experience for Final Fantasy XV was announced. To date, I do not believe that product released. What we do get, however, is a fishing game set in the Final Fantasy XV world. I scoffed at this game initially, but hands-on (or face-on) reports from folks indicate it is a fun experience. Set to release in September, I am not certain this will be a day-one pickup, but I will keep an eye on the reviews and seek out a sale.
One of my favorite, and most surprising, announcements from E3 2017 was Moss from the team at Polyarc. I have played a great deal of the Mice and Mystics board game, and I immediately saw this as the opportunity to live out the experience of Colin (the hero mouse of Mice and Mystics) in VR. The adorable hero in this adventure is Quill, and I cannot wait to see all the places we will go together, hopefully sometime in Holiday 2017.
Initially announced about two weeks ago, The Persistence still showed up on the PlayStation show floor as yet another spooky game coming to VR. In watching the trailers, it reminds me a lot of Dead Space and even a bit of Alien: Isolation, but this time in VR. There is currently no release window, but the team at Firesprite has me interested in this project.
More Aim controller goodness is coming our way with ROM Extraction from the team at First Contact Entertainment. Another arcade style shooter (which I already said I loved) but this time you have the ability to slow down time. Needless to say, I am looking forward to this one, and it is another game with a release window before the end of the year.
At the Bethesda press conference this year they talked about two VR games. Surprising most everyone, PlayStation revealed a third Bethesda VR game in Skyrim VR. This is not a Skyrim "experience," this is the entire game from beginning to end. The icing on the cake? The game is due out this November.
Throw things and block things. It seems like a simple concept, but Sparc is hoping to take that simple concept and turn it into a competitive VR game. A single-player training mode and challenges help you hone your skills when not competing in online matches in search for VR glory. I will see you on the ______ (I am not sure what to call virtual gaming areas: court, field, arena, something else) before the end of 2017.
Something that surprises most people is how well side-scrollers play in VR. Star Child appears to be no exception. Developed by Playful (the same company who made Lucky's Tale for Oculus and are making Super Lucky's Tale for Xbox) the hands-on impressions of the game at E3 2017 have been extremely positive. While I am not aware of any release date information, this one is on my radar.
Superhot released on PC and Xbox One last year. Soon after, Superhot VR was released, first on Oculus, and earlier this year on Vive. Finally, PlayStation gamers get the opportunity to play this critically acclaimed game, thankfully also in VR. The best part? I should be dodging bullets in my PSVR in just a few short weeks!
I am not usually into racing games, but tell me that FuturLab, the makers of Velocity and Velocity 2X, are making a racing game, and I want to know more. While VR has been a haven for horror and suspense games thus far, games like Tiny Trax help breathe some fun and light-heartedness into the hardware. I look forward to racing my slot car this summer.
Ubisoft has already developed a number of VR games, and this E3 saw another announcement for virtual reality: Transference. Developed in collaboration with Elijah Wood's company SpectreVision, Transference looks to be a blend of movie and game with a creepy, psychological thriller slant. Aiming for a Spring 2018 release, if you are too scared to play this in VR, it looks to be playable out of VR on console and PC as well.
To me, that is an impressive list of titles. Topping it off, developer Survios announced Raw Data, which is currently in early access, will be coming to PSVR when it launches. A big bonus? Most of these games will release before the end of the year! Needless to say, the worry that Sony would not support PSVR and it would go the way of the Vita are, at least for now, put to rest.