Resident Evil 8 VR supports foveated rendering and headset haptics for true "next-gen" horror
In an interview, lead developer Kazuhiro Takahara talks about what makes the VR port of Resident Evil Village so special.
Takahara had already led the development of Resident Evil 7 VR, an early VR classic that was proven to terrify more than a million people.
Shortly after its release in early 2017, Takahara said that his team had learned an extreme amount from working with virtual reality and that he wanted to produce for Playstation VR again in the future.
It took a little longer, but Takahara's new VR masterpiece will be released in 2023: the VR port of Resident Evil Village, which is expected to go a step further than its predecessor. Thanks to the graphics power of the PS5, unique technical features of the Playstation VR 2, and a lot of attention to detail by the development team.
Resident Evil 8 VR offers more realistic weapon handling
Resident Evil Village VR will offer a new gaming experience, because, unlike its predecessor, you can play it with real VR controllers, the new Sense controllers from Sony. They allow free hand movements and the simultaneous handling of two weapons.
"We tried to make the shooting action and reloading experience as close to reality as possible, but we also tried to balance it so that it doesn't get in the way of gameplay," Tsuyoshi Kanda, the producer of the original, told the Japanese Playstation Blog.
In terms of graphics, the team was keen to maintain the visual feel of Resident Evil Village and used color correction: "We make full use of the PS5's functions to ensure that the color does not fade even through the PSVR 2's lens, and we are particular about reproducing it with the same quality," says Kanda.
Foveated rendering for higher image quality
It also uses a rendering technique called foveated rendering, where the areas players are looking at are rendered at a higher resolution. This makes objects appear crisper.
"If you look up at the chandelier in the Great Hall of Dmitrescu Castle, you will not only see the decoration three-dimensionally, but you will also feel that it is very beautiful," promises the VR developer.
The VR port will generally benefit from the fact that environments, details, and proportions are perceived more strongly in virtual reality than on a monitor. This makes Lady Dimitrescu's superhuman size even more impressive. As for the visual effect of her daughters in VR, Kanda says that they already had a high graphical quality in the original. In the VR version, you can even see how the vampiresses' blood vessels pulsate, he says.
Headset haptics should help against motion sickness
Another special feature of the PSVR 2 version is the haptic functionality of the headset, a unique selling point of the VR headset. The haptic effect is supposed to improve immersion on the one hand and prevent motion sickness on the other, a problem that plagued the original.
In the demo Capcom showed to the first PSVR2 testers and visitors at the Tokyo Games Show, there is a scene where Ethan is dragged around on the floor by his daughters.
"The strength and length of the vibration caused by the headset feedback are set in detail for each frame. I think that the feeling of VR sickness will be different just by the presence or absence of that vibration," Takahara says. They have followed the guidelines they developed for the previous model, but are still studying the underlying problem.
In terms of the improvements the new VR port brings over Resident Evil 7, Kanda says, "The PSVR2 version of Resident Evil Village is the culmination of how to express the horror experience in the VR world, and we believe that we can provide a gameplay experience that is very close to reality." Adding, "I think it was an experience that is very appropriate for the word next generation."