My Dev Note: Consider Resident Evil 7 as a successful hit in VR market
Resident Evil 7 is one of the biggest titles to hit the market at the beginning of 2017. It is remarkable that re7 might just be the most welcome one among all the other monster titles like the Last Guardian, Nioh, and Gravity Rush. 85% from Metacritic, 7.7 from IGN. These scores reflects the sanctification we as critics and console users have been granted from this game.
That being said, Re7 might also mark, if not the first, one of the first VR killer apps/games coming into the market. It has been reported that so far 10% of the its users are playing in PSVR. That is a tremendous amount of people considering it's released on multiple platforms and millions of copies that have been sold. And the development cost has been reportedly recouped.
To be honest, I was being extremely skeptical about this 7th installment when I first heard of it. It was shocking to everybody in the resident evil community that Capcom decided to make it into fps with puzzles and jump scares. It is a huge turn in term of the consistent style of the franchise and it's user base. It was well known to everybody in the community that Resident Evil, before 7, was slowing becoming less interesting, dull, losing the original fun that we could find when we first played Re1,2 or 3.
Thus this fps styled game was seen as save move, a hit or miss from the development company.
Luckily for everybody, Capcom nailed it once again, but not in the coffin this time.
Here I will share my analysis about RE7 as a developer.
What are the reasons that made RE7 as so popular and successful, especially praised by VR users?
Let's talk about this from the margins to the center.
1. Born in the spotlight and fed with commercials and controversies. RE7 was announced back in E3 2016. And back then everybody knew that RE was dying from its boring horror elements. The communities was shocked and flooded with rumors and conversations when it was announced as a FPS style. Expectation and skepticism from there undoubtedly contributed to its popularity of now.
2. Twitch. I have to say that all these streaming big names in the recent years can have a huge impact on the revenue of games. I remember the night re7 got released, everybody on twitch was playing it.
1. Community base
RE as a series of 6 installments have an incredibly large player community and have tremendous amount of enthusiastic and supportive gamers to back it up. Turning it into VR experience is really nothing but an encouragement for anybody who hasn't tried VR in the past and an excitement for those who have already got a VR platform/console like PSVR.
There are no big titles or franchises except for RE currently that made a step into VR. What the market and players got are either fresh new titles from all those small companies or independent developers or some big companies VR remaking one or two of their released titles.
When we talking about the dynamics of video game industry, we should know that it is the small independent developers push the edge of market but it is the big ones elevate the realm into another level.
It is a uplifting move from RE developer. And I hope after seeing the success of it, the big companies should have more determination when it comes to investing potentially major VR titles and risk evaluation.
2. VR teachniques and tricks to reduce motion sickness and discomfort
A substantial part of my admire to RE7 comes from the developer's effort on reducing VR discomfort and motion sickness. There are tricks or techniques that VR developers have been talking about for ages that might work towards this issue and it is just so satisfying to see the developers from these big companies finally deploying them, putting them in use.
One of the primitive examples I have found from RE7 VR is that when the character runs in the game, the FOV on screen gets deducted and sorta shrinks to the center. This is one of the most well-known techniques in the VR dev community to treat discomfort resulted by first person locomotion. And now it proves that it worked pretty well with the game without undermining the gamplay elements.
Also, in the setting screen of the game,
With all being said, it is fair to call RE7 the first VR generation killer app. Nevertheless, it's not perfect. The game itself, though fascinating to play, also have a considerable amount of flaws.
One of the very first things I found RE7 is lack of is no support for other VR platforms like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, which supposedly have a larger share of market than PSVR.
It is the exclusives that kills the market and competition dynamics.
Also I found that some of the animations and plots are not well suited for VR experience. There is the case that the character falling off from the floor and kneeling down. These are not ideal for a platform that has not room scale tracking.