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Criterion’s beyond cars racer touted as ‘best Oculus game’

Luke Johnson

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Oculus Rift

With virtual reality being the latest hot topic of the gaming sector, many developers are vying for chance to create the first big VR success.

Now, bringing the fight to the competition, developer Criterion has claimed its upcoming racing game will be “the best Oculus game you’ve ever played”.

Despite being at least two years away from launch, Criterion is tipping its currently unnamed ‘beyond cars’ racer for VR success, with General Manager, Matt Webster, suggesting the title’s first-person nature will allow gamers to exploit the benefits of virtual reality.

“We think this is the best Oculus game you’ve ever played,” Webster said with obvious bias.

He added: “It is clearly a super immersive thing to do and I can tell you from first-hand experience that playing this game in VR, it’s f***ing amazing.”

Discussing virtual reality and the company’s early tests with the likes of Oculus, Webster told us: “It is new tech and we love playing around with new technologies. VR is a new technology which is exciting for us and we’ve got a first-person game so it is not a very big leap for us to go playing around with VR.

“It’s something new and it’s consistent with what we are building so we thought let’s try and put those two together.”

Despite the hype surrounding the technology, virtual reality has its doubters, with isolating play, the cost of the headsets and ongoing motion sickness issues all acting as causes for concern. In its favour, however, is a most immersive level of gameplay, gamers have seen.

It is this level of immersion which has piqued Criterion’s interests.

Although praising the technology and the new benefits it is giving gamers, Webster has stated that Criterion will not force the technology on its new game and will only incorporate compatible features if it feels they truly benefits the title.

“VR is a bright shiny thing but it has a context for us and so therefore it is another thing for us to be playing with.

“Our goal in the games we have made prior to this is to really allow people to pick up the pad and have fun very quickly – whether that’s getting the arse-end of a car out at 100mph – and put a smile on their face.”

Looking at how VR could make this level of instant play difficult, he added: “The challenge of coming to control systems which work for these games is that they are underpinned by being fun and accessible first.

“Whether that means different types of input mechanisms I don’t know. We will start with the one which comes with every machine and that will be the pad.”

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T Sheehan

July 6, 2014, 5:14 pm

Yeaaaah....As far as being the best Rift game....I would like to introduce you to a little F2P thing called Hawken.

chaosdefinesorder

July 7, 2014, 8:51 am

I think car racing (and flight sims) are probably some of the best-suited genres to the Occulus, specifically because you are supposed to be sat in place and looking around the "cockpit".

With FPS and similar, you're expected to move around, thus creating the disconnect between where you're sat and where you're looking, or requiring something like the Omni treadmill...

Pbryanw

July 7, 2014, 10:05 am

This is why I think Elite: Dangerous will be one of the first, great Oculus games. Virtual Space Cockpit & VR = Something I would get an Oculus to play.

PGrGr

July 7, 2014, 10:09 am

I think its just car sims and space sims, at least until they sort out the interface method. In its current form, you can't see your own hands, keyboard and mouse whilst wearing the VR headset. Therefore, its really only going to work for games where you can keep you hands continuously on a controller, be that joystick, steering wheel or a small subset of keyboard keys.

As a regular flight simmer, I need to use probably at least a dozen keyboard commands regularly, plus mouse control, plus joystick control, plus lots more keyboard commands infrequently. Just think of the number of controls you see in an aeroplane's cockpit - that's what a flight simulator tries to simulate! As a pilot (simulated or not), you also need to look at external reference material like printed maps and flightplans. There's just no way it would work in VR until someone can work out a better method of interaction.

chaosdefinesorder

July 7, 2014, 10:27 am

That's a good point, I hadn't considered that about flight sims! As you say, unless they render the flight plan map in the virtual space, all-encompasing VR is of limited use...

Scion

July 7, 2014, 11:50 am

A subsidiary of EA Games is blowing its own horn in a marketing campaign? Nothing new here! I'll wait until the final product comes out and see what non-biased reviews think of it.

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