In the aftermath of E3, virtual reality proved to be a major point of emphasis for some companies like Sony, whose VR-related announcements revealed the emergence of some big franchises like Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing Mission and Batman Arkham VR. The VR gaming market is still developing, and while a lot of the most popular early gaming options are smaller and less ambitious titles, higher end headsets like PlayStation VR and HTC Vive are aiming to produce big, vibrant experiences. With that in mind, the presence of these major franchises could be a game changer for Sony.
On a similar note, the introduction of VR games that bring popular movies to life could also generate a lot of excitement, particularly on the better VR headsets. Fans got some indication of this back in January when an experience based on The Martian was playable on major VR consoles (specifically the Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift). But what other films could leading headsets look to adapt for similarly impactful experiences? A few have been discussed online, but here are a few relatively recent movies that ought to be explored by VR developers.
Pacific Rim was a larger-than-life 2013 action movie in which mankind developed skyscraper-sized robots called Jaegers to combat monsters rising out of the deep sea known as Kaiju. It may sound a little bit grand and chaotic for a video game, but given that the Jaegers are controlled by human pilots who in a way are engaging in virtual reality, it’s actually pretty well suited. A mobile game exists already for Pacific Rim, but the idea of slipping on a VR headset and controlling a Jaeger would be pretty interesting to anyone who was a fan of this film. Another wrinkle is that in the movie the Jaegers are co-piloted, which introduces that possibility of collaborative multiplayer. But even a solo piloting option could be really interesting.
Though it didn’t make the same impact, Oblivion was somewhat similar to The Martian in terms of its visual tone. Large segments of the movie concerned a lone explorer wandering around a beautiful but forbidding planet. In this case, that planet is our own and the explorer is of course Tom Cruise, who is a future scavenger of sorts charged with gathering the last resources of a dying Earth. There’s more to it than that but the movie has a lot of potential for a VR developer from piloting advanced ships to simply exploring the planet.
Racing games have already become popular on VR for obvious reasons, and Rush was a hugely successful and highly talked about film when it came out back in 2013. Already there is a Rush game online, though it doesn’t have any official connection to the movie. This particular game is a themed bingo room in which a racing background is used to support the idea of “quick as lightning” bingo games. Aside from that, Rush was largely left alone by the video game industry though it could be an ideal VR game. Putting yourself in the role of one of the two main characters driving a Formula 1 car on thrilling tracks around the world would be a brilliant experience.
The Lego Movie
Minecraft VR is already available for the Oculus Rift, and given how LEGO has expanded its entertainment empire in recent years it’s probably a foregone conclusion that there will be some sort of LEGO-related follow-up. Capturing the entire scope of The Lego Movie in VR is a tall order but designing a game in which you can walk in and around your LEGO creations while basing it on concepts and characters from the film would result in a certain success. We’ve already seen that creativity and construction seem to be well received in VR, and a LEGO game could truly capitalize on that. Remember that Minecraft Surface demo Microsoft did back in 2015 at E3? Just imagine that with LEGOs now. Pretty great, right?
John Wick might be a little more ambitious, because shooter games are tricky on VR, though a game like Superhot seems to have pulled it off well. However, this is one action movie that thrived not so much because of a complex plot or over-the-top action, but because of a unique visual style and atmosphere. John Wick had its own flavor, and if a developer were to successfully capture it in VR it could be a hit. Particularly given that we’re about to see a sequel and this could be a budding franchise, this seems like a good idea for developers to pursue.
We’ll see what happens, but as VR expands to include major gaming franchises and film experiences like the one we’ve seen related to The Martian, it stands to reason that there will be major games based on movies. And if they want to look to recent films for inspiration, these five movies would be excellent picks.
With virtual reality on the rise, what franchises (either gaming, movie, or otherwise) would you like to see VR developers take a stab at? There’s a ton of potential here, so feel free to sound off in the comments below.