Chris Kingsley, co-founder of UK game developer Rebellion, has hinted that his studio is working on a virtual reality (VR) title in comments sent to IBTimes UK, predicting what to expect at E3 2015 next week.
"Developers like Rebellion have been on a learning curve when it comes to virtual reality," he says in the comments. "We've had to break the old rules of programming and shift the mindset from the world you see on a screen in front of you to immersive environments that surround and engulf you."
Kingsley goes on to comment further on the current slate of VR headsets in the works, which are expected to play a major part in the Los Angeles trade show, which kicks off with pre-show conferences from this Sunday (14 June).
Rebellion Developments was founded in 1992 by Chris Kingsley and his brother Jason. They are best known for the Alien vs Predator series and more recently the Sniper Elite trilogy.
Kingsley states in his comments that at E3 "all the excitement is going to be around virtual reality," before noting the presence of Oculus Rift's Crescent Bay headset, Samsung's Gear VR, and Sony's PS4-based Project Morpheus at the show.
He then turns to the development side of things, stating the following – present in full:
All screen-based media (including TV and cinema, not just games) have had to use a design language that tells the viewer how to feel, and we've been honing this language for decades. Virtual reality wipes this rulebook clean. For example, in a traditional video game, developers have to use certain visual techniques to indicate how close enemies are, or whether you need to evade incoming weapons fire. However in a virtual world, you'll be able to almost feel this with your senses. For example, the enemy fire will appear to whistle right past your head, while you instinctively react to movements and actions in your peripheral vision, just like you would in real life. You're no longer looking into a world, you are part of the world. As players, we'll be able to react physically and emotionally in a much more natural way.
What will be really interesting about seeing this in action at E3 next week, will be comparing the experiences across mobile, console and headsets.
Virtual reality gaming will cross the hardware divide so it won't simply be the playability factor that will determine future success. Headsets need to have solved the issues surrounding motion sickness, physical space awareness and how people look when wearing one in front of their mates.
However, virtual reality gaming may be better suited to a greater range of abilities and interests. Traditional gamers have learnt through years of gaming how to stare straight at the screen and let their thumbs invoke movement. Inexperienced gamers driving a racing car for example, will always 'turn' the controller when steering or 'flick' the controller up to jump. In a virtual environment, these movements will enhance game-play and allow the user to look around more and gain a greater sense of wonderment at the virtual world they're immersed in.
See, it's not just developers that have had to unlearn everything for virtual reality. Gamers will have to as well and it's something I'm going to try hard to remember in LA next week.