Even though we likely won’t even touch PlayStation Neo hardware until late 2017, the weeks and months are sure to be packed with new information and imaginative prognostication on the virtual reality-focused 4K-compatible hardware.
While we’ll enjoy diving into the specs and feature set as those details become available, the better (read: more fun) speculation is brainstorming which games will best take advantage of higher resolutions and VR.
From Sony’s flagship franchises to lower-tier series that could use a closer perspective to games we haven’t seen in (console) generations, these are the PlayStation titles that will properly adapt or potentially flourish in Sony’s strange future.
Gran Turismo 7
Polyphony Digital’s racing franchise has been Sony’s standard bearer for graphical excellence for almost two decades, so Gran Turismo is a shoo-in on multiple levels. GT’s cars (which have been pushing hardware limits since the PlayStation 1), should look fantastic in 4K, but let’s not overlook VR. Racing franchises are already a great fit for VR headsets given that we’ve been subtly trained for the experience by the near-mandatory in-car view most games provide, and the exceptional attention to detail we’ve seen on the outside of GT’s cars can now extend to luxurious interiors.
This futuristic racer is presently in a bit of flux, as the only developer the series has ever had closed in 2012 (SCE Studio Liverpool, nee Psygnosis). There are still plenty of willing and able developers who could take up the cause of futuristic weapons-based flying ship racing. The Wii U had Wipeout’s spiritual successor in the form of the well-received Fast Racing Neo last year, so if Sony could snatch up Shin’en Multimedia, we’d love to experience the insane speed of futuristic racing in first person via VR.
God of War 4
While Uncharted has become Sony’s standard showcase for visual excellence, God of War’s spot as PlayStation’s graphical benchmark is both helped and hindered by the copious gore.
Sure, you won’t see Kratos ripping the eyes from the skull of a major deity during a Super Bowl commercial, but both the PlayStation 2 and 3 have been pushed to the limits with fast-paced combat enhanced by scenes of scarily accurate gory finishers. VR might be a step too far (beheadings in first-person might scar some gamers for life), but 4K Kratos is a delight.
Sony’s flagship shooter franchise has long been a visual showcase ever since the original Killzone wowed PlayStation 2 owners a dozen years ago. And yet, when it comes to entertainment value, Killzone has long stood in the shadows of the premiere console-exclusive shooter (Halo) as well as the many fantastic third-party options from Call of Duty to Overwatch. However, Killzone has been there for many of Sony’s console advancements as Guerrilla Games’ shooter series has been at the forefront of technologies like motion control and 3D on PlayStation 3 and as a launch game for PlayStation 4. Even though Farpoint will be on the front lines of PlayStation VR’s launch, if Killzone can be there as a 4K VR game for Neo’s launch, then Killzone might have a shot at changing the tides of the console war.
The next Team Ico project
Yes, we’ve been waiting so long for The Last Guardian that Team Ico’s current pace will probably produce another game after virtual reality has run its course, but VR actually seems like a great avenue for the developer memorable experiences like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus.
For one thing, a compact VR experience won’t likely take as long to gestate as TI’s previous (admittedly epic) efforts. Plus, Team Ico is known for making visually breathtaking worlds and putting us directly inside one is a great next step. Also, revisiting Ico and SotC’s worlds with first-person VR-enhanced remasters would be another great time-saver for the slow but steady developer.
The Amazing Spider-Man
Like a great roller coaster, Spider-Man in virtual reality will be worth the nausea. Is flying around Manhattan at breakneck speeds going to be tough experience to replicate in VR? Absolutely. However, if anything can be considered a killer app for VR, it’s putting us directly behind the mask of a superhero.
Now that Spider-Man has been freed from the clutches of Activision-mandated movie tie-ins, the prospect of the talented team at Insomniac extending their two decades of expertise into VR headsets is one that has our spider senses tingling.
Until Dawn 2
Even in its infancy, there’s no shortage of jump-scare games. From Resident Evil to Outlast, developers big and small have turned VR into Saw-style creepshows for a few years now. But what about campy horror? Until Dawn was an overlooked gem that meshed gorgeous visuals with an 80s style slasher theme, and a follow up with another group of hapless teens is a great candidate for even better graphics via 4K or with a scarier take in VR.
The next Naughty Dog project
Naughty Dog has been making top-tier PlayStation games for two decades. From Crash to Jak to Nathan Drake to Joel and Ellie, Naughty Dog’s work has produced best-looking and best-playing games of every console generation. Problem is, Uncharted and Last of Us have had pretty conclusive endings, and while we surely haven’t killed our last infected or surveyed our last vista, VR presents a great opportunity for Naughty Dog to return to their cartoony roots with Jak or Crash, or create a new world that will once again capture the public’s attention as they’ve done with every new IP.
Bloodborne 2 / next From Software project
As great as Uncharted 4 is, many folks point at Bloodborne as this console generation’s greatest game. The deep rewarding gameplay and beautiful gothic visuals made Bloodborne the PlayStation 4’s killer app, and From Software’s brand of brutal yet addictive gameplay would benefit greatly from a boost to 4K. In the world of Bloodborne and Dark Souls, you need to be aware of traps, enemies, and shortcuts at every waking moment, so seeing it in even higher-definition would be a godsend.
Quantic Dream’s Next Project
Beyond: Two Souls may not have set the world afire, but few developers shoot for the stars as frequently as Quantic Dream. Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain may be a bit rough around the edges, but they also provide cinematic gameplay like few developers do. Heck, even their Dreamcast debut (Omikron) was a fourth-wall-breaking sci-fi epic starring David Bowie, so seeing David Cage’s strange cinematic style play out in VR will be memorable at the least and potentially a killer app for Sony’s VR headset.
MLB The Show 2017
Of course, there’s potential at putting every major sport in first-person, but baseball is a great introduction. For one thing, the slower pace of pitching, hitting, and fielding is a little more pleasant than getting tackled out of your cleats or cross-checked into plexiglass. There’s also the fact that the Sony-exclusive MLB: The Show series has been one of the top-rated sports games for years now, so a VR-exclusive first-person mode would be a nice cherry on top of The Show’s delicious baseball sundae.
Jumping Flash! 2
Yes, it’s been two decades since we’ve seen Robbit in action, but the first-person platformer that dominated the original PlayStation’s early years is a perfect fit for VR. After years of 2D sprite-based hopping and running, Jumping Flash’s insane jumps and large worlds were a revelation, and we’d love to marvel once again at this series’ wondrous heights with a headset on.
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