Gran Turismo should be a shoo-in for PlayStation VR. Sony’s most celebrated racing brand, one of the most beloved in all of the gaming landscape, makes perfect sense for the tech seeing as players are rooted to their seats the entire time. Bringing Polyphony Digital’s eye for detail and obsession with mechanical perfection into the headset would surely result in one of PS VR’s deepest and best titles.
Sadly, it doesn’t sound like Gran Turismo Sport will be that game.
Earlier this week it was revealed the the upcoming PS4 title, which will support PS VR, won’t integrate it across the entire game. “It will be one part of the game,” Polyphony Digital CEO Kazunori Yamauchi said. “One thing we discovered in developing and doing the VR, to do the whole game playable in VR is going to be a strain on the players. You can see in the demo downstairs, there’ll be a VR Tour mode that’ll be included in the game. That showcases the VR effects.”
We don’t know much will be included in this VR mode, but that’s still a huge blow to PS VR’s line-up. Gran Turismo Sport was one of its biggest upcoming games and I would have happily spent hours inside a headset perfecting laps across the entire content selection. True it can put a ‘strain’ on players in terms of fatigue, but it should be up to the player to decide how much is too much when it comes to using VR. If everyone had that mentality we wouldn’t even have full racing games like Driveclub VR.
Also launched this week was Call of Duty‘s VR experience, a short five-minute demo that plays more like EVE: Valkyrie than it does Activision’s FPS giant. Though fun, it’s quickly disposed of, which will likely be the same story about the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront VR experience.
Now, PS VR already has lots of great games, mainly thanks to indie developers like Secret Sorcery and Owlchemy Labs. Next week it will even get some great offerings from bigger publishers and studios like Ubisoft with Eagle Flight and Crytek with Robinson: The Journey. But when it comes to big franchises, PS VR is growing a nasty habit of coming up short.
That’s perfectly understandable in a sense. Activision isn’t going to bet the farm on a full Call of Duty VR any time soon and, quite frankly, no one would be able to stomach it, so Jackal Assault makes sense as a middle-ground, no matter how underwhelming it is.
Lots of franchises just don’t suit VR as they are. That’s why we’ve got a Tomb Raider experience that, while fun, is little more than walking around the mansion and a Batman ‘game’ that can be completed in about 30 minutes. Sure, we want to see these franchises on PS VR, but not in such a compromised, stripped-down fashion.
And Sony seems to realize this itself. That’s why we’ve already got great new IP like RIGS and promising new franchises like Farpoint on the way. We need more of these, and hopefully they’re coming, because I don’t want any more of these small demos and neither, I suspect, does the rest of the PS VR audience.
Ultimately, though, it’s not going to be these kinds of experiences that make VR. Much like with new console generations, it’s going to be the new experiences that offer something we haven’t seen before that are truly remembered. The sooner we realize this the better, because I would rather play a new, original IP that works natively in VR than another shoe-horned experience that leaves me wanting more.