Panic Button Games, the studio responsible for the PSVR port of Electric Hat’s To The Top (2017), are working on bringing popular underwater survival game Subnautica (2018) to PlayStation 4. Although both Steam and Oculus Store versions of the game support VR, PS4 users won’t be so lucky; Unknown Worlds, the game’s original developers, say it probably won’t ever come to PSVR.
Announced via a PS blogpost recently, the impressively polished deep-sea survival game is slated to launch on PS4 this holiday season. Critically missing in the announcement was any mention of PSVR support.
Unknown Worlds addressed the lack of PSVR support in a statement on their blog, and gave a brief but candid look at the challenges of squeezing the game to fit the headset’s inherent graphical limitations:
Subnautica is coming to PlayStation 4, woot! Will it support PS4 Virtual Reality (VR)? This is a tricky question. The short answer is: Probably not.
The long answer is: We haven’t made any decisions about PSVR. However, the performance challenges of stuffing Subnautica onto console are already daunting. In this context, ‘performance’ means how fast the game runs, or how many ‘Frames Per Second’ (FPS) we can achieve.
High frame rates are crucial for VR. We are already battling hard achieve stable, consistent FPS above 30 on consoles, and VR requires 60+. Perhaps in the future, once we have achieved strong performance on PS4, we could revisit the question. But for now, it’s safe to assume PSVR is not on the horizon.
We’re sorry for any disappointment that causes, but we are also thankful for your feedback. After all, it was all your requests for a PS4 version that led to yesterday’s announcement. So keep telling us what you want!
Throughout its early access period, Subnautica included a ‘VR mode’ to go along with its primary support for traditional monitors.
Some of the reason why it won’t be hitting PSVR could also lie in the game’s implementation of its ‘VR mode’ in the first place, as it seems to be a pretty divisive issue among PC VR users. Although it holds a 94% positive rating on Steam (primarily containing reviews of the monitor version), many VR users cite the game’s playability in-headset. Major complaints cite frustrating controls, illegible in-game text, and overall comfort issues as concerns, which currently has it sitting at a middling 3.7/5 stars on the Oculus Store.
At any rate, it’s a shame we probably won’t be seeing Subnautica on PSVR anytime soon (or ever), as the 20+ hour main story and overall visual polish are really something VR users are craving.