VR must-play games Moss I & II get even better on Playstation VR 2
Moss is one of the best VR game series of all time. And it will be even better on Playstation VR 2, said the developer studio Polyarc.
VR games seem to be the unloved stepchildren of the gaming industry: At first glance, they don't promise enough profit to be seriously considered as an option for new projects.
Of course, this is as wrong as it is one-sided - there are already several financial success stories for VR games and VR apps, including the Quest platform.
Still, the market is difficult: studios need to have an excellent concept that takes advantage of virtual reality. They need to do particularly good marketing (which doesn't mean expensive) to attract the attention of potential players.
Those are perhaps the two most important ingredients for a successful VR game. Still, it doesn't have to guarantee financial success, as the rumors surrounding Moss: Book II's poor sales figures show. Yet despite the strategically questionable decision to release the game exclusively on a dead platform, Studio Polyarc was able to nab the award for Best VR Game at the Game Awards for Moss II.
Moss I and II are launch games for PSVR 2
The original Playstation VR only boosted the success of VR gaming a bit in the beginning, and then increasingly disappeared into oblivion due to glaring hardware shortcomings and a lack of content. VR enthusiasts are hoping for a second springtime for console VR with the Playstation VR 2.
The technology of Sony's new VR headset is promising - and several studios have already announced that they will port their old VR games to the new headset due to the PSVR 2's backwards compatibility. Polyarc is one of those studios: enhanced versions of Moss I and Moss: Book II will be launch titles for Playstation VR 2 on February 23, 2023.
Moss I & II get better graphics, haptics and meaningful eye tracking on PSVR 2
The biggest improvements - and this should come as no surprise - are coming to the port of Moss I. "We're actually bringing it to the next generation and tried to bring more life to the environments. You'll see graphical improvements in terms of textures, shadows, lighting and various other areas that make the entire game feel much better and much more polished," said Design Director Joshua Stiksma. On the PSVR 2, Moss I and II should both run at a frame rate of 90 Hz and in 4K.
Many of these improvements have already been implemented for the PC VR version, and the PSVR 2 port should benefit from them. Additionally, there are improvements for the console version based on the hardware features of the new VR headset.
"The differences you going to see are the eye tracking support, which allows for Foveated Rendering and also allows us to have characters understand that you're looking at them. In this case, Quill can tell that you're looking at her now, and you can imagine the cool things you can do around that," said Stiksma. In addition, interactive items will be highlighted just by looking at them.
Another advantage, he said, is the advanced haptic feedback and adaptive triggers built into Sony's Sense controllers. Fragile objects, for example, respond to the force applied to the trigger and break once the resistance of the trigger is overcome. Playing sounds as haptic effects also opens up great possibilities, according to Stiksma.
Polyarc doesn't talk about sales figures
Polyarc did not want to comment on the sales figures. But in hindsight, was the decision to release Playstation VR first the right one?
"The majority of players of the Moss I are on PSVR and we thought it made sense that the second Part will be on a platform they could access to continue the story. That was really important for us," said Stiksma.
Whether fan service makes sense in such a small market is primarily a question of budget. Polyarc seems satisfied in this regard. The response has been great, said Stiksma, and the studio is proud to be able to publish on all platforms.
Unfortunately, it doesn't get more concrete than that - which also always makes it difficult for us to assess the market situation. Hardly any VR studio gives concrete sales figures. The manufacturers of VR headsets are also keeping a low profile.
"The best in VR is still ahead of us"
Stiksma shows optimism coupled with realism when we ask him how he sees the future of VR being affected by PSVR 2. He said he hopes the new hardware will lure many console gamers into VR.
"I feel strongly that the best in VR is still ahead of us, potentially far ahead of us. We got a long way to go."