The developers of MechWarrior Online, the latest title in the long-standing mech franchise, tried out the Oculus Rift at GDC 2013 and seem very impressed. Their report from GDC teases heavily that Oculus Rift support for MWO could be in the works.
MechWarrior Online is one of those titles that come to mind when you think about games that would work great with Oculus Rift support or in virtual reality in general: first off, you’re seated within a huge Mech – and who hasn’t dreamt of steering 50 tons of hardened steel through a futuristic battlefield? But more importantly, many reviewers have noted that games that put you in a seating position would be the best fit for the Rift. Since you’re mostly sitting in front of your PC, being seated in the virtual world would add immersion that FPS games with a standing or walking protagonist can’t offer.
Also, MechWarrior Online is slower-paced than the current mech-showcase game Hawken, whose makers already added Rift support for the latest Oculus demo from GDC 2013. A slower pace could negate some of the motion sickness problems testers have reported in faster-paced games like Hawken or Doom 3. For all of you that salivate at the thought of MechWarrior Online Oculus Rift support, we have good news: The developers, Piranha Games, had a chance to try out the Oculus Rift dev kit at GDC 2013 and were pretty amazed by their experience.
MechWarrior Online Oculus Rift support coming?
Piranha Games hasn’t yet announced full or even partial support for the Oculus Rift, but the developers seem to be pretty impressed by what they saw at the Oculus booth.
“It’s by far the best consumer VR device I’ve ever experienced” wrote Matthew Craig, technical director of Piranha Games, in his GDC update. He continues “it’s [not] perfect, but it crosses the line of viability that all previous devices have so far failed to cross.”
He compares the step from a 2D monitor to the Oculus Rift with a simple analogy: “Imagine going on Google Earth and navigating data on the Coliseum in Rome. Now consider navigating that same data in VR and feeling like you’re actually walking around the Coliseum with your friends. Changing your level of immersion with that data fundamentally changes the way you experience it”. For Craig, this level of immersion is the “fundamental reason why VR is not a gimmick.”
Craig also attended the VR talks that were given during the course of GDC. According to him, all VR talks were “incredibly popular” and were attended by a multitude of talented developers.
“Looking at the breadth of talent in the room, it only further illustrated that VR now lies in the hands of the game development community… The entire gaming industry can descend on [the Oculus Rift] and rapidly work to unlock its full potential”. Reading through Craig’s GDC update makes it clear that the developers are very interested to port MechWarrior Online – or other future titles – to the Oculus Rift. But it’s not set in stone, as Craig teases, “So will MechWarrior have Oculus support? You’ll just have to stay tuned to find out.”
What do you think about Oculus Rift support in games like MechWarrior Online? Perfect fit or nice addition?