Some people might be surprised to find out that Star Wars: Squadrons, the brand new space combat game from EA Motive with full top-to-bottom VR support, does not support VR motion controllers at all. We spoke to the Lead Gameplay Director and Creative Director to find out why.
Check out some multiplayer dogfighting and Fleet Battle gameplay here:
Playing Star Wars: Squadrons in VR is a magical and entirely immersive experience. I’ve already put over 15 hours into this game and the entire time I’ve been using a flight stick in VR, other than maybe 20 minutes between gamepad and keyboard/mouse for testing. I can’t really imagine playing it any other way it just feels that good.
A big part of why it feels so good in VR is that it was designed with VR support from the very beginning:
“It was planned from the beginning,” says Ian Frazier. “Since the second week of prototypes, before we were even in production, we had the VR version running. Ever since then, we do daily playtests with the team on the competitive side of the game, and we always have some people, like James, that are usually playing VR and other people on traditional displays all playing together. We’ve kept that going all through production.”
Star Wars: Squadrons VR Controllers
Naturally, every VR headset that can play this game — PC VR devices like the Rift, Vive, and Index or Quest via Link / Virtual Desktop, as well as the PSVR — has a pair of motion controllers. However, Star Wars: Squadrons won’t let you use them at all.
According to EA, here’s why:
“Early on there were some pitches,” says James Clement, Lead Gameplay and Technical Design Director on Star Wars: Squadrons at EA Motive. “I worked on a pitch at one point for the Touch, but we decided we wanted to keep this hardware oriented so you can really feel the controls in your hands and everything and have that tactile sensation. The very best experience is with a HOTAS in VR so that you can feel that you’re in the cockpit as well as see that you’re in the cockpit. And it was also a matter of precision and timing. Everything we do in the cockpit since you have a lot of stuff to manage needs to be instantaneous and you can only really get that on a hardware controller. The Touch controllers, for example, just don’t have enough inputs to really put everything on a button on the controller so we’d have to do simulated touches and stuff like that. If you went into a dogfight having to do that you’d probably be at a severe disadvantage, I don’t think it would be a fair match.”
What do you think of the reasoning? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!