Republished on Sunday, 8th March 2015: We're bringing this feature back out of the archives following a big week for Project Morpheus at the Game Developers Conference. The original text follows.
Originally published on Saturday, 22nd March 2014: Project Morpheus has been officially unveiled, and judging by the first batch of hands-on impressions, it's better than anyone really imagined. The prototype PlayStation 4 headset uses a combination of PlayStation Move motion tracking technology and fancy face mounted displays in order to immerse you inside game worlds in a way that you've never really experienced before. With the hardware already showing signs of serious promise, then, we've gathered together eleven Push Square editors in order to discuss our dream virtual reality lineup. This list consists of existing franchises that aren't currently announced for the futuristic format, but ones that we reckon would make fantastic fits.
Sammy Barker: Much like Farming Simulator – which, incidentally, would also make an ideal Project Morpheus accompaniment – Rhino Studios' drastically underappreciated safari simulator Afrika is one of my PlayStation 3 guilty pleasures. The primary objective in this photography-based escapade is to snap images of the various animals that you encounter out in the African outback. While you'll need to commandeer jeeps and – yes – hot-air balloons to complete your objectives, a lot of this title is spent simply admiring the scenery and the habits of the wildlife that you encounter. This slow, steady pace coupled with the title's outstanding visuals would make it a perfect companion for the PS4's virtual reality headset – especially when embarking on a real equatorial tour doesn't come cheap.
Joey Thurmond: There are plenty of possibilities for what developers could accomplish with Project Morpheus, but I think that Assassin's Creed would be a great place to start. This may seem odd as it's traditionally a third-person game, but imagine how head tracking technology could enhance your perspective of the beautiful environments. You could even use the accessory to lock-on to specific enemies, or get a better view of combat scenarios. Picture even being able to look behind you when you're outrunning goons, who will no doubt have cottoned onto your sneaky stance during another obligatory eavesdropping mission.
Edwin Garcia: The BioShock series has always been known for its fantastically imaginative environments, whether it's a dilapidated underwater death dome or a flying metropolis above the clouds. Sure, the gunplay is fun and there is some creative combat to play around with, but it's the world that you explore that is truly impressive. This is where Project Morpheus could come in. Imagine going face-to-face with the giant Songbird or even talking to the chilling Andrew Ryan as he recites one of his famous lines. How about experiencing the first venture into Rapture, witnessing everything first hand while you ride down in the bathysphere? Project Morpheus could add even more immersion to already incredible worlds.
Ben Tarrant: As the dust settles on a new generation, it appears that virtual reality is going to revolutionise everything once again. Project Morpheus already looks the part, and I was excited to see that Square Enix's recent Thief reboot was one of the titles being demonstrated on the device. This has got me thinking: what about Dishonored? With an oil-painted art direction and plenty of high-octane missions, the headset would give you even greater control over protagonist Corvo, and allow you to plan your sneaky infiltration to perfection. This technology seems built for first-person experiences, so it only seems natural to combine it with Arkane's masterful romp through the dank streets of Dunwall.
Graham Banas: When virtual reality is thrown about, there's one game that jumps straight to my mind: Flower. The seminal thatgamecompany release is already a beautiful game, but the ability to physically look around those vibrant meadows in real-time sounds absolutely amazing to me. You could perhaps even control the petals using your head, and then maybe use your arms to direct the wind. All that Sony would need to do is develop some kind of nasal sensory technology that would allow you to inhale the aromatic scent of the scenery, too.
Nicola Hayden: How can you have a virtual reality headset and not have a flight simulator for it? You can't, and that's why it's a perfect time to revive the PSone classic G-Police. Patrolling space colonies with ships full of missiles, it already offers an experience that's yet to be matched by a more modern flight sim since. While the next-gen graphics would make this sci-fi shooter bliss, we suppose that travelling through tunnels may make you feel queasy – especially if you're in a hot pursuit. Perhaps the platform holder could bundle a sick bucket with pre-orders?
Jamie O'Neill: It was Sammy who suggested Jumping Flash! as an interesting fit for Project Morpheus, and this fired my imagination, because its first-person platforming would be well suited to Sony's new technology. It's natural for your head to look around and take in the environment when you first don a futuristic headset, but the simplistic bold colouring in an update of the PSone classic could ensure that the landscapes don't leave you feeling disoriented. Robbit's versatile ability to quickly traverse huge vertical structures would also provide a sense of awe. I especially think that depicting the outer space scaffolding stage from the end of the game could be an effective way of providing a visual sense of scale and wonderment. Plus, this may compensate for early reports of the PS4 headset's technical shortcomings, such as black borders in your peripheral vision.
Alex Stinton: When I think of the potential for headsets like Project Morpheus, the game that always comes to my mind is Mirror's Edge. By the time that the long promised sequel arrives, we'll hopefully have the accessory strapped to our heads, and I for one will be the first in line for an even more immersive free running experience. I already find the leaps of faith and long drops make my stomach lurch when playing on a normal television, so the move to virtual reality could take this series to another sickening level.
Brett Young: Outlast recently demonstrated that first-person horror can be truly terrifying. As such, if Konami could bring a new instalment of Silent Hill to Sony's virtual reality headset, it could be the shot in the arm that the series needs to repair its much diminished status – and one hell of an experience. Could you imagine traversing the soiled corridors of the town's hospital, trying in vain to find a lock that isn't broken as its denizens close in from all directions? I find the prospect not only ridiculously frightening, but extremely exciting.
Robert Ramsey: While I'm still not completely sold on Project Morpheus or virtual reality in general, I certainly wouldn't pass up the chance to try a title from The Elder Scrolls series using the technology. Bethesda's hand crafted worlds already do a fantastic job of immersing you in the game – at least when they're not bugging out – but having the feeling of being right there standing on the peak of a mountain, looking down upon the lands below might just take the freedom-based experience to the next level.
Kell Andersen: I think the Unfinished Swan would be a perfect candidate for the virtual reality treatment. This is mostly because I think that the game's first level would be an almost religious experience if ported to Project Morpheus. What's more, the relatively slow paced puzzle gameplay would mean that it wouldn't require you to take out a gym membership just to pass the first level. With that said, if we're rating potential titles on their likelihood for stomach upheaval, perhaps Giant Sparrow's dark fairy tale isn't such a good idea.
These are some of our ideas, but which titles or franchises would you like to see support Project Morpheus? Do you agree with our suggestions, or do you suspect that not all of these games would work? Strap yourself in courtesy of the comments section below.
Which game would you like to play with Project Morpheus? (91 votes)
The Elder Scrolls
The Unfinished Swan
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[ Image Credit: Road to VR ]