Launching Tomorrow, Sony Reveals How Farpoint’s PS VR Aim Controller Came to Life

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Farpoint, one of the most anticipated titles for PlayStation VR, hits stores tomorrow along with the new VR device it was designed alongside, the PSVR Aim Controller. Sony has published details of the design decisions that drove development of one of the oddest looking gaming peripherals ever built.

In the realm of VR gaming, triple-A games for any of of the available platforms are not exactly plentiful. The niche sizing of the fledgling market presents a huge risk for companies looking to back titles which require the high level of funding to meet today’s gamer’s expectations of what a flagship title should look like, especially one that requires the consumer to shell out for a VR headset to play. It’s remarkable then that a title which requires the purchase of yet another peripheral in order to play it ‘as designed’ would exist at all. And yet, that’s precisely what we have in Farpoint and the new PSVR Aim Controller, both of which launch tomorrow, May 16th.

Farpoint, Image Courtesy Sony

Impulse Gear, developers of new PSVR exclusive first person shooter Farpoint, state that they wanted a way to “physically connect the player to the game”, and when – by happy chance – the team’s development cycle coincided with the gestation of a new gun-like motion controller being built by Sony, they jumped at the chance to use it. “… once you have the controller in your hands you know instinctively where the buttons and triggers are,” says Impulse Gear Co-founder Seth Luisi, writing in a new Sony blog post, “The 1:1 tracking also makes for a more skill-based game because the precision removes any need for aim assist.”

Image: Road to VR

Indeed, when the PS VR Aim Controller was first shown off, impression were extremely favourable, including our own hands-on from Ben Lang last year. But there’s no getting around the fact that the Aim Controller looks just plain odd. Of course, as with most modern consumer electronics, a device’s form factor is not one which is executed lightly. So why does the PS VR Aim Controller look the way it does?

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“I tried to make the design of the Aim Controller as simple as possible,” says Taichi Nokuo, Product Designer behind the device, “It was important that the player can use it safely and comfortably with the PS VR headset on, and that the controller can be used as any type or form of weapon inside the game.” Visually of course, the Aim Controller doesn’t look much like a gun at all, something the device has faced some light criticism for, but of course there’s reasoning behind this. “I made the intentional decision for the controller to not resemble an actual weapon, so that anybody, from children to adults, feel comfortable playing with it,” says Nokua.

Image courtesy Sony

The Aim Controller includes the full set of buttons, triggers, analogue sticks and d-pad found on a standard PlayStation 4’s DualShock 4 controller, but placement of them all needed careful consideration. “The buttons are not scattered around the controller,” says Nokua, “but are simply and strategically placed where players naturally place their hands. The design is minimalistic but also original, which makes it unique.”

The Aim Controller utilises PSVR’s motion tracking system, featuring the now familiarly bulbous, glowing (phnurp!) PS Move-style sphere at the front. This enables reasonably precise 6 DoF (degrees of freedom) positional tracking and gives the illusion of 1:1 control to the player.

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Just how well judged this design effort has been will soon become apparent too as both the PSVR Aim Controller and its flagship launch title Farpoint are available from tomorrow either as a bundle or game and controller sold separately.

We’ll of course have coverage of both Farpoint and the PSVR Aim Controller soon, so stay tuned to the site.

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  • 1droidfan

    That AIM controller looks more like a sex toy than a weapon.

    • Raphael

      Yes. Your statenent will attract rage from sony kiddies. Last year i commentrd on how this design looks like its made from DIY plumbing tube.

      Kiddies became enraged and told me its a beautifully elegant design.

      The lightbulb on the end looka like something you’d want to lick.

      • MrXiro

        I don’t think it looks like a sex toy… but it does look like someone built it with some PVC pipes. I’m still excited to check it out though!

    • brandon9271

      To me it looks like a Nintendo Wii controller. As a matter of fact, at first glace I thought it was a shell for the PS Move wand and navigation controller. I mean.. if it works, it work. No need to over complicate things but why make a whole new controller when I’m sure the existing PSMove controllers in a plastic shell can do exactly the same thing and cheaper.. ?
      *edit*
      like this..
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/90e34f1372770158593b94d9324e8204f1776622988fd22f12c43c9ab194fd72.jpg

  • Nairobi

    Apple meets Bad Dragon.

  • civilmonk

    What is innovaitve in this? I had similar toy for Magic Wands when I was playing on PS3. Now I have even better that this idea expirience with my Oculus controllers…

  • Andrew Jakobs

    Wow, they’re really ripping stuff right and left, how about that Robocop ED.
    Also, I don’t see any real difference between this controller and the Sharpshooter with a move/navigator inserted into it, IMHO they should have supported that one as well, as the sharpshooter is still a hell of an addon to the move controller. Much better than this ‘sex-toy’.