Ghostbusters VR – Now Hiring Answers the Call for Fun VR Experiences Based on Films
Ghostbusters VR – Now Hiring is a good argument for the death of large, licensed video games. This short-form PlayStation VR (PSVR) experience from Sony Pictures Virtual Reality avoids some of the largest pitfalls of film-based video games. It’s relentlessly lively, respectfully accurate, and most importantly, it’s dense in the most distracting way.
It’s not two minutes into my time with Now Hiring’s first chapter, Act 1: Firehouse, that I’m greeted by my first ghost. Moogly, voiced by Patton Oswalt, pops out of the bricks of Ghostbusters HQ with a few tips for an aspiring buster like myself.
Who You Gonna Call?
But instead of heading into the building for my interview, I point my PSVR move controller at a nearby hotdog stand, teleport to its side, and start tossing ketchup bottles into the street.
It’s only a couple more minutes before I’m assaulted by another spectral face. Slimer is on the loose, and I’m the one meant to catch him. I step inside the firehouse and spot the green blob causing a ruckus. Moogly urges me to grab my ghost-hunting equipment. “Good idea,” I think, as I start ring-tossing donuts into Slimer’s mouth.
I hear my mentor’s sarcastic voice ring out more than a few times over my journey of infinite sidetracks. I spot the objective he’s ranting about on one end of the room, so I teleport in the opposite direction and admire notes on a whiteboard–because I’ve got a ghost to hunt, right after I listen to all these voicemails on this phone. And right after I check out this recreation of the Ecto-1 car. And right after I carefully examine and prod this random wall, the least objective-oriented spot I could possibly find in here.
Despite my ambling, Ghostbusters VR is a delightfully compact experience. Everything is propelled by this moving Slimer chase, but between close progress points are tables of mysterious canisters, throwbacks to the original Ghostbusters crew, and a few spectral surprises. I admire the frequency at which I find ghosts in my face. Not just hovering in front of me, but violently hunched in my direction, covering me in slime, and in the case of our friend Moogly, telling me to get my act together with equal parts enthusiasm and snark. Each model also manages to be surprisingly crisp and vividly animated; Slimer grotesquely wags his tongue at me, and I cringe uncontrollably.
Don’t Cross the Streams
“Part of our point of pride is to make these things look good,” says Jake Zim, VP of VR at Sony Pictures. “We get visual artistry and fidelity in that, and so if there’s anything that we can say helps differentiate us, it’s ‘let’s make these things look good.’”
Insulted by Slimer’s expertly animated mouth, I quickly assemble my proton pack, set a trap, and aim my gun. Multicolored rays of light lasso and slowly wrestle him into the trap’s radius. Before long he’s packed up tight and I’m heading to the containment unit in the basement. Moogly is proud of me, I think, for ...
Bethesda: Fallout 4 VR Will ‘Blow Your Mind’ With New E3 2017 Demo
Ever since it was announced at Bethesda’s E3 2016 press conference last year Fallout 4 VR has quickly risen up the ranks of conversation to become one of the most anticipated VR games on the market. We came away mostly impressed with it when we tried it out during the show and both Pete Hines and Todd Howard have since gone on record to emphasize that this is the full, uncompromised Fallout 4 experience receiving the VR treatment — it’s not just a demo or abbreviated experience.
Earlier this month at the 2017 PAX East conference, gaming personality Hip Hop Gamer did an on-camera interview with Bethesda’s VP of PR and Marketing, Pete Hines. During the interview Hines mostly talked about Nintendo’s new Switch console, but at the end he discussed the current development status of Fallout 4 VR by recalling a conversation he had with Lead Designer Todd Howard:
“I talked to Todd the other day and I was like, ‘Hey how’s Fallout 4 [VR] coming?’ and he said, ‘Pete, Fallout 4 VR is the most incredible thing you’ve ever seen in your life. You can’t even imagine what it’s like playing in VR and how realistic it looks with everywhere you turn your head. It’s gonna blow your mind. It’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen.’
…We will have it at E3.”
Details are still scarce outside of that limited demo we saw almost a year ago, but word on the street is that multiple locomotion systems are in the works, as opposed to just teleportation, which is all I saw at E3 last year. Hopefully this new demo has a lot more to show.
Obviously it’s the VP of Marketing’s job to hype up a big release like the entirety of Fallout 4 coming to VR, but strong words like that bode well for a company with a track record as positive as Bethesda’s. Let’s cross out fingers that all of this extra time with the underlying code in Fallout 4 means the VR edition will hopefully have fewer bugs this time around.
As it stands, the HTC Vive is the only confirmed platform for Fallout 4 VR and it is expected to release this year. Hopefully more details will come out right before or during E3 2017.
VR Basketball Sim Nothin’ But Net Adds Online Multiplayer and New Mode
Back in November, the NBA 2k franchise dropped their first VR entry but the major series was immediately overshadowed by the independently developed Nothin’ But Net in our HTC Vive new release roundup. Despite being in Early Access at the time, it out-shined the competition with an experience obviously better built for virtual space by giving players a bball sandbox with realistic physics, movement freedom, and customization options like adjustable goal height. The game is still in Early Access, but their most recent update is adding online multiplayer and a new game mode.
In it’s original form, the game included a realistically modeled gymnasium that you could customize along with your avatar. You could freely shoot around or try one of the handful of modes including HORSE against an AI with different levels of difficulty and three-point shootout. Now, development team What Up Games LLC is bringing some competitive fire to the game by allowing multiplayer for up to four players. You’ll initiate the search for matches via a ball icon in the top right of the menu, but you’ll be able to continue playing the single player modes while you wait. Voice-support is available as well, so you’ll be able to talk plenty of trash during matches.
One of the modes you’ll be able to play online is a new addition called Speedball and it looks like a pretty intense 1v1 outing. You’re only allowed the hold the ball for 2 seconds (dribbling will extend the time) and you’re passing the ball down the court where you’ll automatically teleport and try to catch it before the other player does. Once you get close enough, you’ll shoot to score and the first to 20 points wins. The movement style where you teleport automatically will likely be a major focus for feedback and, if it turns out to be really comfortable for players, could be something other VR sports games could look into. Nothin’ But Net is available on Steam for $14.99.