The Farm 51 quietly released a new educational experience on the PlayStation Store recently: Chernobyl VR Project. The developer’s perhaps best known for its work on Painkiller or the more recent Get Even, but to our knowledge this is the Polish studio’s first crack at something more akin to a documentary.
The premise, as you’ve probably already guessed, is quite straightforward: you get to visit the abandoned ghost town of Pripyat, which was evacuated in 1986 following perhaps the most famous nuclear disaster that the world has ever known. As you can imagine, stepping into dilapidated schools and hospitals makes for a quite unnerving experience.
The quality in the explorable spaces is insane – it’s practically lifelike. In fact, we were so impressed with the presentation that we got in touch with the developer to try and understand how it was achieved. “We use photogrammetry technology,” Dawid Biegun told us. “We scan the objects and building 1:1, that’s why you can walk in real Chernobyl.”
The explorational sequences are accompanied by commentary giving context to some of the objects and environments that you see. Additionally, there are 360-degree videos that you can watch, with a tour guide explaining more about the events at Chernobyl – and the way of life in Pripyat prior to its evacuation.
As is so often the case, the 360-degree videos are low quality and don’t provide anywhere near the same illusion as the fully explorable spaces, but this is still a fascinating package that proves the power of PlayStation VR. While there’s no “game” to speak of, this is a reminder that sometimes the beauty of virtual reality is simply its ability to allow you to exist in a space you never thought you’d be in.
Would you be interested in seeing more PlayStation VR experiences like this? What other environments, locations, or historical events do you think would be a good fit for virtual reality? Be sure to turn on your Geiger Counter in the comments section below.