Quantic Dream, the developer of Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls recently had an interview with gameindustry.biz and virtual reality became the main topic of discussion. Director David Cage of the developer revealed in this interview that their style of game could fit well in the virtual reality format but that they would not develop a virtual reality game for the sake of developing a virtual reality game. To quote the interview
“The idea is not to do VR for the sake of doing VR. It’s about saying something on this medium that hasn’t been said already.”
Cage also discussed the way virtual reality could be taking the narrative experience to another level. Cage essentially explains that the way they develop games does have intersection with the platform offered by virtual reality. As Cage says in the interview,
“I try to invent an interface that’s not based on mechanics or action loops, one that’s purely contextual. I really like this idea because it’s about not limiting the amount of actions my characters can perform based on the number of buttons on the controller. I try to go beyond that and work on a sense of mimicry between what you do with your thumbs and what happens on screen.”
This is an interesting perspective to have on the presentation of the video game as an art form. It is true that in many ways the controller becomes a limitation on the medium, only allowing players a certain amount of tasks and combinations which when surpassed would become too tedious or complicated. VR does indeed provide the possibility of breaking these limitations and opening new avenues for developers of the future to explore and expand the art form. It can also break down separation between the self and the game, Cage relays this feeling in the following quotes:
“If there’s a character in front of you, your brain thinks they’re actually there, so suddenly there’s a distance you’re trying to keep when you talk to them.”
“I had a very weird experience in a VR game. It was during a cutscene where the characters are moving around me and I was very close to one, really looking at it. But I wasn’t paying attention so when he moved forward, he went through my body. And I can’t tell you how weird that felt. It was almost mystical, like someone going through you. You feel it. Your brain is tricked.”
How constantly improving virtual reality will ultimately affect the landscape of the gaming industry is yet to be seen, but the idea that developers are following this train of thought instills hope for the future of the medium.