Could virtual reality be too realistic for some of the more popular video game genres? That seems to be one of the questions game developers are facing, as Wired reports that game developers are discovering that violence and death in VR games is perceived by many gamers as too intense. Developers suggest VR is a brand new playing field, the player psychology is different and all emotions reportedly become much more intense.
Piers Jackson from Guerilla Games, for instance, explains that even cartoonish, unrealistic violence becomes real enough with VR gaming. He also explains how little details like moving your head, which turns your head in-game, and seeing other players in multi-player do the same thing, adds a whole new level of interaction between people because you can actually see people looking back at you.
The problem developers are finding is that VR takes even cartoonish, unrealistic violence and makes it real enough, on a seemingly subconcious level, to upset even previously callous digital death-dealers. "It's more intense, you can look away from it but you can't escape it. You will feel it, like everything in VR, you will feel everything much more intensely," said Jackson.
Rigs is in most ways a straightforward first-person deathmatch game -- players pilot exoskeletons, run around, shoot rockets and try to blow up other players. But when your player 'dies', your pilot actually ejects to safety rather than dying -- so the player doesn't see bright lights or a black void in first-person, they just find another machine. You also never have to face "the quandry of killing someone else", Jackson said -- which developers at Sony's post-press conference panel discussion agreed was often just too visceral in VR.
It's still very early days for VR gaming of course, but it appears killing monsters, aliens or zombies may be the way to go, at least initially, as the emotion of killing realistic people in VR games may be too strong.