The creators of The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners belives its work with VR physics, along with other projects, will lead to a “second generation” of VR games.
Skydance Interactive chief technologist and co-founder Peter Akeman said as much in a recent interview with VentureBeat (see below). “Let’s take three titles that just launched and do physical things,” Akeman said. “Let’s say Boneworks, we’ll take Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, we’ll take Half-Life. All of us have games where we’re interacting with physical objects. Each one of us had to solve that problem on our own, in isolation. It’s like the early days of 3D where no one had done it and everyone was at home writing their own graphics engine.”
But, now that games with those basics are releasing, Akeman believes the next generation of VR games will go even deeper.
“So everyone is inventing the basics now, but then they’re out there and once they’re out there and a few different kicks have been had at it, these things are gonna standardize,” he explained. “And what you’ll then see is you’ll go from Quake to Half-Life, to put ancient metaphors to work here. Once the vocabulary of shooters gets developed, you’ll see a story emerge, you’ll get second-tier gameplay and deeper stuff emerging and I think the same thing’s going to be true here where, as the basic vocabulary gets laid down, we’re going to see second generation product that evolves and takes much deeper hand-play. It’s built on top of those mechanical rules that become standardized and people become familiar with.”
We’ve written along the lines of what Akeman is talking about before. The advances these games make in terms of physical interaction is unlocking a new type of native VR right before our eyes. The question is where it goes from here; can developers unlock this same potential on more accessible, lower-powered headsets like Oculus Quest? Saints & Sinners is coming to the platform and a Boneworks spin-off is in the works, so hopefully, we’ll have an answer soon.