Category Archives: Features

A collected archive of VRFocus’ feature articles.

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Mario Kart

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The racing genre is something of a given for virtual reality (VR) experiences. With the player seated and hands firmly locked to a steering wheel, racing videogames avoid many of the issues and limitations that other VR titles currently face. That said, it’s not a match made in heaven; Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) Head of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida earlier this year admitted that Evolution Studios’ DriveClub had now fared well with experimental VR support. The sense of speed can indeed be disorientating. But not all racing titles are about fast cars and realistic visuals. In fact, the karting genre seems perfect for a VR adaption. READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Mass Effect

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You stare out at the galaxy. Hundreds of planets are strung out for as far as you can see. Each one presents a whole new landscape, atmosphere, civilisation and culture to become immersed in. You think over your next destination as the sound of consoles clicking and virtual keyboards tapping surrounds you. Members of your squad brush shoulders with you as they head to the armoury. The cockpit and pilot rest at the end of the corridor in front of you. This is your ship to command and your galaxy to explore. READ MORE

VR vs. Smartphone HMDs

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It’s astonishingly clever, really. A virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) that does away with expensive PC hardware and utilises the smartphone, something that almost everyone has in their pocket, as a display, processor and head-tracker. Of course the experience isn’t comparable to what you’ll find on the Oculus Rift, but as a low-end introduction to the most exciting upcoming technology, it’s a brilliant solution requiring low cost and low horsepower. READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Real-Time Strategy

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Usually with VRFocus’ ‘Make it a (Virtual) Reality’ series a specific videogame or movie franchise is picked for a virtual reality (VR) conversion. But thinking about the real-time strategy (RTS) genre, it quickly becomes apparently that the kind of improvements VR could bring apply to almost every title. The changes we’d like to see the Oculus Rift VR head-mounted display (HMD) make to the likes of Command and Conquer, Total War, Company of Heroes and many, many more are virtually the same. With that in mind, this week’s piece will look at the genre as a whole. READ MORE

VR vs. Konami

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Konami is perhaps one of the most interesting publishers to follow in the videogame industry right now. The company clearly has the resources to develop big budget, headline-grabbing console titles; take a minute to look at the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and that much is clear. But the Japanese outlet also doesn’t seem to be able to push out these types of titles with the regularity that the likes of EA and Ubisoft do. READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Another World

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Virtual reality (VR) fans narrowly missed out on the chance to see adventure videogame legend Paul Cuisset work with virtual reality (VR) earlier this year as the developer’s Kickstarter campaign for the upcoming Subject 13 failed to hit a stretch goal for Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) support. That’s certainly a shame, as the imaginative worlds the developer has created in the past certainly deserve to be realised in VR. Nowhere is that more evident than in Another World. READ MORE

Alien: Isolation – The Challenges of Officially Adapting for VR

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Alien: Isolation has finally arrived and with it comes a considerable amount of critical acclaim. Heralded as the ‘best’ videogame experience ever made based on the famous sci-fi movie franchise, the hype was indeed worthwhile. Moreover, the attention the videogame received due to it’s virtual reality (VR) demonstration has been incredibly important to the exposure of the title, and as such it’s more than likely that we’ll see a VR edition of the videogame at some point down the line to surpass the unofficial hack that VRFocus reported on earlier this week. It’s long been said however, that simply porting existing videogames to VR doesn’t work. READ MORE

VR vs. Activision

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With a recent history of annualised releases, toy-based videogames and adaptations of movies, you might think publishing giant Activision wouldn’t take a chance on a technology as risky as virtual reality (VR). But dig a little deeper into that history and there’s reassuring evidence that the company may well lend support to the likes of the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus head-mounted displays (HMD) whenever they’re finally made available. And with some of the industry’s biggest franchises falling under its publishing line, it would certainly be exciting to see it get involved in VR. READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Yakuza

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Popular though it may be in Japan, in recent years SEGA has stopped bringing its Yakuza videogame franchise to western shores. The last entry to be release in the US and EU was the PlayStation 3’s Yakuza: Dead Souls. Following its release Yakuza 5 and Yakuza: Ishin have both failed to make the journey, and there are no signs that the upcoming Yakuza 0 will be any different. It’s something of a tragic situation for fans of the series that can’t speak Japanese, and even moreso when you consider the series’ potential for virtual reality (VR). READ MORE

VR vs. Alien: Isolation

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E3 2014 provided a glimpse of something that many virtual reality (VR) fans have been clamouring for since Oculus VR first launched its Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) in 2012. While the indie community has done an admirable job showcasing VR so far, enthusiasts have been pining to see what a big budget development studio could do with the technology. And that’s exactly what they got at the videogame industry’s biggest show in June as The Creative Assembly revealed a playable VR prototype of its upcoming sci-fi horror experience, Alien: Isolation. READ MORE