The Witness VR Looks Unlikely Based on Comments by Developer

By   /   Feb 15, 2016
The Witness

There are many currently released games that would work well in VR, and you would assume that The Witness would be one of them. It appears though that The Witness VR won’t be happening anytime soon.

The reason for this was revealed by Jonathan Blow, a developer of The Witness who took part in an AMA on Reddit recently:

“VR is actually quite problematic for The Witness (outside of the broader issues that current seated or room-scale VR is just bad for navigating any huge open-world environment in first person) in that some of the alignment-puzzles (I won’t go into spoilers) can be “cheated” by crouching down, or tilting your head etc.

On the upside, The Witness’ geometry-heavy art style works really well in VR where a lot of traditional methods, like normalmaps, lose their magic.”

What makes this interesting is, as somebody who has played the game it is easy to assume that the first-person perspective used would make it perfect for Virtual Reality. While I can’t say much about the game because of spoilers, part of the enjoyment is the exploration of the open world and how beautiful it looks. If the immersion you feel in the game is damaged by VR, then it is understandable why Blow believes it won’t work.

Time will tell if this decision will stick, or a Witness VR will come in the future. He did go on to explain reasons for the game not working in that scenario:

“The Witness can be played in VR, but it’s far from optimal because it was very much designed to be a traditional non-VR experience. The VR games that will really convince people are those that’re designed for the format from the ground up.

Any kind of free navigation in VR is a hard problem. If you move around with a gamepad, but can move your head freely, what happens when you move your character up to an in-game wall and then lean forwards to stick your head through it? Should we disconnect the camera from the head tracking before it passes through the wall? Or do we move the collision boundaries in so you can’t get close enough to any object to do that? Both are pretty bad options.”

So with this in mind, what games will work with VR and what won’t? It will be interesting to see.

Would you have liked to see The Witness VR? Let us know in the comments section below.

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