Following the unfortunate closure of developer Evolution Studios earlier this year, the fate of the VR version of their 2014 PS4 exclusive Driveclub was unclear, but thankfully work has continued by an internal Sony team, and the game is expected to arrive by the end of the year.
An earlier post on the Japanese PlayStation Blog suggested it would be a launch title for PSVR, but we now have confirmation on the US and EU PlayStation Blogs from Nico Orru, principal programmer on the project (and former developer at Evolution), that it will arrive this year, although he did not commit to a date.
Orru says the VR version of the game has been in development for more than a year and includes significant enhancements, new content, and new VR features:
- Game modes: Online virtual reality multiplayer race modes and an action-packed single player career are joined by drifting and time trial challenges.
- Tracks: New and classic Driveclub tracks are brought to life through the power of PlayStation VR, including five all-new Urban locations.
- A closer look: More than 80 cars are recreated with immaculate detail for players to explore up close with Inspection Mode.
- Cruise control: A little time to kick back, open the throttle or just coast and explore any track, in any country at your leisure in Cruise Mode.
- Virtual passenger: An immersive thrill ride through exciting replays of hot laps as players watch themselves handle their greatest challenges from a unique viewpoint in Passenger Mode.
“We’re passionate about trying to create the most memorable and exhilarating gaming experiences possible, so being given the opportunity to take Driveclub to a more immersive level thanks to VR is really thrilling,” Orru writes. “This not only allows players to truly feel the incredible speed, sensation, and precision of driving some of the world’s most exotic high-performance cars, but also the chance to race against or with one another in a completely new way.”
Initially shown behind closed doors at Paris Games Week last year, Evolution had already worked wonders on the transformation from screen to VR. Cockpit-based driving games tend to transfer well, but in the case of Driveclub, conversion from a 30 FPS graphical showcase to a low-latency VR experience would have required serious attention.
Driveclub VR renders at 60 FPS, double the original framerate, and is then reprojected to 120 FPS to further improve the motion clarity. There’s no doubt that certain details and effects will have been reduced in order to achieve this, but the latest hands-on impressions from this week’s showing at Gamescom suggest that much of the visual spectacle remains, particularly in terms of lighting and interior detail.
This will likely be the final chapter of Driveclub’s rocky development story, and it appears to be finishing on a high note.