The Race For A Signature VR Game

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Written By Mohsen Salami

The evolution of virtual reality gaming has been somewhat slow. This isn’t true when it comes to pure volume – we’ve actually seen a ton of VR games popping up over the last few years. However, where legitimate progress and excitement are concerned, it is at least somewhat true. We just haven’t seen the groundbreaking titles, mega-hit franchises, and medium-defining bits of gameplay we might have expected.

One theory as to why things have been somewhat slow from this perspective is that there hasn’t been a single, signature VR game to really take control of the medium. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the biggest, best, or most technologically advanced title – just one that can seize the mantle, unofficially, of being the “first great VR game.” Because this is a whole new tech, rather than a single new console, it never had the benefit of a single launch game or a holiday bundle with a hot new title. There was no natural signature game.

It remains possible though – however unlikely – that such a game could emerge. It could be because a given character takes hold, or a popular franchise that hasn’t made the leap yet is adopted. It could be due to the timing of a given release, or to the pure quality of a game we can’t yet imagine. Really, we have no idea what could constitute a signature VR game at this point. But we do have a few wild guesses.

A Major Adaptation

We’ve seen plenty of adaptations in the VR category already, from Fallout, to DOOM, and more. But it could be that the medium just hasn’t landed on the right one yet. Even a few years ago there were interesting articles being put out about dormant franchises ripe for VR, and a few titles – like Time Crisis and NFL Blitz – caught our eye. We wouldn’t rule out that the right combination of recognizable franchise and perfect execution in VR could bring about a surge in popularity the likes of which we haven’t yet seen with this gaming tech.

The Next Level Of War Strategy

Strategic combat games – whatever their specific designations in genre and style – are immensely popular across virtually all gaming mediums. Yet there isn’t one that has yet emerged as the leader in VR, which has the potential to take this style of game to the next level. Just imagine, in one form or another, being able to transport yourself to the front lines of a battle or war that you organized, commanding troops not from behind a screen but in person, in real time. It’s essentially an experience the likes of which we can’t get anywhere else, and done properly it could be the big game VR has been waiting for.

An Online Casino Game

This idea might not be at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds, but those people might not be considering how many tens of millions of others around the world play online casino games. There were crude attempts at VR poker fairly early on, and since then various other casino arcade experiences. Some of the games among New Zealand’s free pokie offerings or the UK’s endless cache of animated slot games – namely, one called Gonzo’s Quest – have been adapted to VR as well. The idea here though is for some innovative developer to put it all together and present an interactive online casino game featuring animated slots, poker, and all the rest in a single VR experience. It would be a huge hit for a massive audience.

A Timely Sports Game

Sports games have had mixed success in VR, and that’s putting it quite kindly. There’s a lot involved with bringing a sport to life in any kind of realistic fashion even in a regular video game. Doing it virtually, and allowing a gamer to take part, is a potentially insurmountable challenge. This article is more about hypotheticals and ideas than the technical how-to of it all though. So provided someone couldmake a great VR sports game, a timely release might just turn it into a big hit. For instance, releasing the first major attempt at “FIFA VR” on the cusp of the 2022 World Cup would certainly turn some heads.

Super Mario

The best possible answer to the question of what could mark a true sensation in virtual reality is probably made up of the two most powerful words in gaming: Super Mario. Now, Nintendo has experimented with Mario and Zelda games in VR, but they’ve been described as “a dipping of the toe” from the gaming giant – as if to say Nintendo isn’t fully committed to moving its signature franchises to VR. But a truly great Super Mario game in VR – one that allows you to explore Mario-related worlds in an interesting way, play as a character alongside the mustachioed plumber, or act as Mario yourself – could be a worldwide sensation.