Take Two Interactive, publishers of the phenomenally successful Grand Theft Auto franchise have gone on record stating that if there is customer demand for virtual reality support in their games, it’s ready to provide it.
Grand Theft Auto V, the latest installment in one of the most successful games franchises of all time, was released on next-gen consoles this week and brought with it a raft of visual upgrades and improvements. Alongside that, details of the ‘soon-to-be-released’ PC version emerged, indicating that the game will offer settings important to adapting it for virtual reality. Specifically, field of view (FOV) sliders will be on offer, something vital for tweaking any games for the wide FOV requirements of VR Headsets such as the Oculus Rift. Addtionally, GTAV also includes the ability to play the game almost entirely from the first person perspective. These new features were seized upon by some in the VR community as clear indications of Rockstar Games’ (developer of GTA) intentions for virtual reality support at some point in the future.
Take Two have now stated publicly that, although there are no current plans to adapt GTAV for virtual reality, they’re more than open to the idea should it be something customers really want. Speaking to Bloomberg in an interview published yesterday, Chairman of Take Two Interactive Strauss Zelnick in response to the question of whether the gaming industry is ready for VR yet, responded “Not yet”. “Part of it is we need to see how the headsets roll out and how we can best deliver an experience. We are concerned that you’ll play our games for a long period of time — we don’t want people getting nauseated. And also, having had the experience, I’m not sure how long you want an immersive headset on your head.”
However, Zelnick then went on to say that if consumer interest in VR is strong enough, that Take Two will be there ready to facilitate “We’ll find out. I will say this. If that’s what consumers want, we’ll be first in line to give it to them.”
It’s now accepted that games not designed and built around VR from the ground up do not offer the best experiences for gamers. In fact, there’s an argument that retro-fitting VR support to such a popular franchise as GTA is unwise, given that the experience is likely to be sub par when compared with made-for-VR titles. The last thing VR needs whilst it scrambles for public acceptance is a wave of first-time VR users having bad experiences. So perhaps Take Two’s cautious approach is indeed a wise one.
However, given GTA’s long development cycle, it’s entirely possible that once the inevitable GTA VI rolls around, the gaming world will be ready for VR proper, encouraging developer Rockstar to build in such support from the start. We can but hope.
What the imminent PC release and it’s new enhancements do open up however is the possibility of VR Injection drivers such as vorpX and Vireio Perception to ‘graft’ support for Oculus Rift headsets onto the game. We’ll have to wait and see if this is something that’s technically possible.