In a surprise move today, Nintendo announced that blockbuster titles Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda Breath of the Wild will get support for the Switch VR Labo Kit.
Update (April 26th, 2019): As promised, Nintendo has pushed updates adding VR support to both Super Mario Odyssey and Zelda Breath of the Wild.
Zelda Breath of the Wild is a simple adaptation which effectively just changes the default third-person camera into a third-person VR camera for use with the VR goggles in the Labo VR kit. The accelerometer in the Switch is employed to turn the camera as you turn your head, but the camera can also be rotated with the thumbstick as usual. YouTuber Austin John Plays has a walkthrough of what the experience is like.
Super Mario Odyssey has a more involved VR mode which brings a short but unique VR mission where the player controls Mario from a fixed third-person view which uses headtracking (similar to Astro Bot). In the mission, Mario collects coins and notes and takes instruments to musicians to complete each stage. A playthrough of the experience can be seen here.
Original Article (April 5th, 2019): Nintendo announced the Nintendo Labo: VR Kit for Switch back in March. It’s the fourth kit in their ‘Labo’ product line—primarily targeted toward younger gamers and families—which offers build-it-yourself accessories which work in conjunction with specially made games and experiences.
Although creative and interesting, we fully expected the Switch VR Labo Kit to only be compatible with the out-of-the-box games and experiences that ship with it.
Nintendo turned that expectation on its head today when it announced that two of the company’s biggest games—Super Mario Odyssey & Zelda Breath of the Wild—will get support for the VR Goggles ‘Toy-Con’ accessory that’s the foundation of the kit. These two games are literally the top rated Switch games of all time, according to Metacritic, and widely considered to be the best release for their respective franchise in years.
With the Switch VR Labo Kit launching on April 12th, the two games will see free updates on the 25th to add VR features.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) April 5, 2019
Zelda Breath of the Wild appears to be getting full VR support, allowing players to turn the feature on and off at any time while playing, though the company notes that pre-rendered cutscenes won’t be compatible with the VR mode.
Super Mario Odyssey is getting a smaller made-for-VR “bite-sized bonus experience” which will offer players three new “mini-missions.”
While the Mario Odyssey VR gameplay clearly uses a static camera (which will ensure co zmfort), Breath of the Wild in VR appears to allow players to rotate the camera no differently than if they were playing on the screen; it’s unclear if this will cause comfort issues. Generally speaking, moving the camera in VR with any input other than the player’s head could lead to discomfort (especially if rotating the camera causes the player’s horizon to change). Maybe there’s more to the story regarding comfort than what’s seen in the video above, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Performance is also another unknown, especially with Breath of the Wild already being a visually ambitious game for the Switch’s mobile processor. Rendering Breath of the Wild for VR (stereoscopically and at a steady and comfortable framerate) won’t be easy.
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Aside from these two games, the Switch VR Labo Kit also features a trove of specially made VR experiences that work uniquely with the cardboard ‘Toy-Con’ accessories included in the kit.
The kit launches on April 12th in two variants, the Labo VR Kit Starter Set for $40 [Amazon], which includes the VR Goggles and ‘Blaster’ Toy-Con, and the Complete Labo VR Kit for $80 [Amazon], which includes everything in the Starter Set plus four additional Toy-Con accessories and accompanying VR content.