Sony has unfortunately confirmed that PlayStation VR on PlayStation 5 won’t be able to use the console’s upgraded camera. Instead an adapter will allow users to plug in the original PS4 camera for use with the headset. New PSVR bundles in Japan will include the adapter to ease the transition to PS5, but so far there’s no word on how existing PSVR owners will get their hands on it.
It’s been confirmed for a while now that Sony’s existing PSVR headset will be compatible with its upcoming PS5 console. But the new PS5 camera can’t be used to track the headset which unfortunately means PSVR will continue to rely on the original PS4 camera and won’t see upgraded tracking like we had hoped.
In order to make the leap to the new console, PSVR owners will need an adapter allowing them to plug the existing PS4 camera into PS5. Less than a month away from the release of the new system, there’s no word yet on how existing owners can get their hands on the adapter.
However today Sony Japan announced two new PSVR bundles, both of which will include the PS4 to PS5 camera adapter so that PlayStation VR will have smoother transition to the new console. In the announcement the company also clearly confirmed a handful of details regarding PSVR and PS5 compatibility:
- You will need the PS4 to PS5 camera adapter to use PSVR with PS5
- The PS4 to PS5 camera adapter will be provided free of charge to existing PSVR owners (details on how to get one are still forthcoming)
- PSVR on PS5 apparently won’t support DualShock 5 controllers. Supported controllers are DualShock 4, PS Move, and PS Aim.
As for the bundles, it’s the usual two-tier approach we’ve seen from Sony: one includes the headset, camera, and PS Move, and the other includes just the headset and the camera. Here’s the breakdown:
PSVR Variety Pack Bundle – ¥40,000 (~$380)
- PSVR headset
- PS4 camera
- PS4 camera adapter
- PS Move controllers
- Astro Bot Rescue Mission (physical disc)
- PlayStation VR Worlds (physical disc)
- Everybody’s Golf VR (physical disc)
- Blood & Truth (physical disc)
PSVR PlayStation VR Worlds Bundle – ¥35,000 (~$330)
- PSVR headset
- PS4 camera
- PS4 camera adapter
- PlayStation VR Worlds (digital download)
There’s no word if these bundles will be released in other territories, but the odds seem high that something similar will crop up in time for the holiday shopping season.
Repel the Decepticons in Arcade Co-op Transformers: VR Invasion
During the 2019 IAAPA Expo, virtual reality (VR) developer Minority Media debuted Transformers: VR Battle Arena in collaboration with Hasbro. Now, the studio has unveiled its next title in the franchise for location-based entertainment (LBE) venues, Transformers: VR Invasion.
While Transformers: VR Battle Arena was a PvP experience where you could play as an Autobot or Decepticon, Transformers: VR Invasion puts you into a more human-sized role. This latest experience is a co-op adventure for up to four players, fighting as a squad alongside well-known Autobots like Optimus Prime and Bumblebee, with Dinobot Grimlock also making an appearance.
The task is simple, destroy the Decepticons, battling Megatron and Soundwave as well as repelling non-stop swarms of Insecticons. This all takes place within Minority Media’s small footprint VR arena, containing HTC Vive Pro headsets and force feedback guns to aid immersion.
“Now in addition to playing as a Transformer in VR, your guests can join Optimus Prime and fight alongside his allies the Autobots against the Decepticons and Insecticons,” said Michael Zaidan, VP of business
development and global sales for Minority Media in a statement. “Since lockdown began, we’ve been busy working on new partnerships, new installations, and this innovative new game, which is the VR experience Transformers fans have been waiting for and one that will be a great addition to any location-based entertainment mix.”
Initially, Transformers: VR Invasion will premiere at select locations worldwide including US family entertainment centres Kalahari Resort (Poconos, PA), Airway Fun Center (Kalamazoo, MI), and Compass Entertainment (Irvington, VA). Through a partnership with TEEG, Minority Media will bring the videogame to multiple Kingpin bowling locations in Australia.
Even with the pandemic raging on and lockdown varying across every country the LBE VR industry is managing to fight on regardless. British studio Blackwall Labs launched its rhythm-action videogame Rhythmatic out of beta and VRFocus’ recent The Virtual Arena examined how theme parks were embracing more augmented reality (AR) technology.
For further content updates on the LBE market, keep reading VRFocus.
Review: ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos
When MyDearest Inc. released visual novel Tokyo Chronos in 2019 the expectation was that it would combine classic anime aesthetics with virtual reality (VR) interaction for a visually impressive experience. Well received in its native Japan, the response was more muted from western audiences for a number of reasons, mainly the lack of anything to do and a lot of subtitle reading. Now the studio has returned with a sequel, ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos, creating a visual novel which improves upon the original whilst still appealing to both audiences.
ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos isn’t quite a direct roll-on sequel as its set 200 years after Tokyo Chronos, so there’s no need to worry if you’ve not seen it. In this futuristic time, chaos has been wrought on mankind by giant alien beings called Meteora, laying waste to the Earth, forcing everyone into giant underground cities. You play as Chloe, part of a team called Prometheus which battles the Meteora in giant mechs called Makhia, aided by an AI called Noa, a quirky scientist called Julie and a couple of other secondary characters to fill out the slightly ragtag crew.
As Chloe you get to pilot the main Alto Makhia, offering railgun firepower which effectively nukes any enemies it’s pointed at. But before you go thinking you’ll be running around a desolate Earth kicking some alien ass, remember this is a visual novel, not a videogame. As anime fans will likely know, Japanese content of this sort not only has a very distinct visual style it also lays out and delivers a narrative in a different way to western cartoons/comics. So there’s a massive amount of dialogue, especially when it comes to monologues and self-reflection. It’s one of the genres best aspects, giving the sort of depth you don’t always get in the west. That being said there are times when it can go a little too heavy and long-winded.
But where Tokyo Chronos suffered because all of the voice acting was in Japanese meaning everything had to be read, ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos rectifies this massively. While a lot of the main background scenery is fairly plain and uninspiring, the overall production has taken a notch up. English voice actors have been brought in so you can switch the subtitles off, which makes viewing the experience not only easier but you get a better sense of the cast’s personalities. The only slight caveat to that is you do need to turn ‘auto-play’ on to cycle through the dialogue, annoyingly turning itself off when you’re asked to select something.
With the localised voiceover actors ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos gains a lot more soul, and you’ll easily become annoyed or fond of the cast, helping add that much needed emotional connection. As Chloe is a ‘Designed Human’ her monotone voice and expressions are on point but they do tend to drag after 10 hours of it. The cybernetically enhanced Professor Julie – the mad scientist of the story – has, without doubt, the creepiest hands of any VR character whilst also having the best lines performed by the excellent Asia Mattu.
What ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos continues to get right is the interaction. Now it is basic – you’re not going to be scavenging or crafting anything – generally revolving around either highlighting points of interest in areas like the underground Shibuya Scramble, selecting dialogue options through a system called ‘Libra’ or activating highlighted buttons inside the mech itself. Yet in comparison to the previous title that’s a huge amount, and most importantly, connects you to the world. VR should envelop and make you feel part of the experience, a factor MyDearest Inc. has clearly worked on to ensure its project does just that.
If you’re wondering about comfort then don’t worry, there is literally no movement in ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos apart from the occasional steps, the Makhia makes. Every scene is static, you can look around as much as you want and the other characters may move – no smooth animation, they switch between different stances – but that’s it.
Because of all the new interaction ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos also boasts branching narratives which add sizable chunks of new content – and of course multiple endings – depending on particular choices taken at certain moments. Nothing new there, plenty of videogames have multiple endings, yet going through the visual novel even a couple of times isn’t nearly enough to see the various story arcs. The initial playthrough was about 3 hours yet that’s just the tip of a very big iceberg, easily hitting double figures.
Thankfully, the studio has also employed a system to navigate all these various paths; Ariadne. Set out like the constellations in the night sky, major events in the storyline can be selected so you can choose a different path, as you do so it’ll expand with new areas whilst closing off others. Refreshingly, this means you don’t have to play through the entire narrative each and every time, essentially time travelling around the ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos universe.
ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos is the interactive visual novel Tokyo Chronos needed to be. It definitely can’t be classed as a videogame but there’s now enough player input to make you feel like part of the narrative, rather merely looking on. It still won’t appeal to everyone and there aren’t enough mech battles, however, fans of the genre should love it. Currently, when it comes to Japanese VR visual novels ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos is the new standard to beat.
3D Object Library Google Poly is Shutting Down
Launched back in 2017 to help virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) content makers by providing a library of 3D objects, this week Google as announced that Poly will be closing next year.
Google informed all Poly users by email yesterday, saying that: “Poly will be shutting down forever on 30 June 2021.” The ability to upload will be disabled on 30 April 2021 with users advised to download their entire library or individual assets by that final date, as they’ll likely lose all their work otherwise.
Integrating with apps like Tilt Brush and Blocks, Google Poly became an easy way for any content creator, from students to professional artists to upload and share their work. Free to use, the platform has thousands of free 3D objects to download with the ability to remix a model should someone need to make slight adjustments to fit particular requirements.
Rather than highly complex models which can be resource-intensive which isn’t great for mobile applications, Google Poly was all about keeping things simple and lightweight. With the platform now closing, creators will have to turn to rivals like Sketchfab.
One of the early pioneers of VR thanks to initiatives like Google Cardboard, Daydream, Poly and more, Google has been on a cull of late with few projects left. Last year sales of its mobile-based Daydream View headset ceased and it was back in October that Android 11 was confirmed to have dropped support for the Daydream platform entirely.
The company is still keeping popular apps like Tilt Brush and Google Earth VR alive, whilst on the AR side, ARCore is still going strong. As and when Google either cancels more immersive projects or even announces new ones, VRFocus will let you know.
Animation Spice and Wolf VR 2 Slated to Launch Next Week
Fans of virtual reality (VR) anime are in for a treat this month with ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos launching today and now Spice and Wolf VR 2 has a release date it seems, scheduled to arrive next week.
As spotted by Gematsu, over on the Japanese Nintendo eShop there’s a listing for Spice and Wolf VR 2 with a launch date of 10th December 2020. There’s been nothing official from Spicy Tails just yet but that does match up with the release window VRFocus was expecting.
That assumption was purely down to the Oculus Go version of Spice and Wolf VR 2. While the title will support PlayStation VR, Switch and PC – including Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – as previously reported, because Oculus Go is being discontinued no new apps will be added to the store after 18th December. There’s also the small matter of Oculus Quest lacking native Spice and Wolf VR 2 support – Oculus Link will still work – because the title didn’t meet the Oculus Store’s technical standards. Oculus’ new distribution method in 2021 may change that.
Spice and Wolf VR 2 continues Isuna Hasekura’s original novel of Holo and Kraft Lawrence, one a 600-year-old wolf-deity and the other a 25-year-old travelling merchant. The sequel sees them both settling down, opening a bath house together and welcoming their daughter Myuri into the world.
But as the synopsis explains: “However, the beautiful wolves have a weakness for delicious meals and their food expenses are a source of headaches for Lawrence. One day, as Lawrence is going about his fur side business to further fill the family’s coffers, a slight incident occurs. To further complicate things, Holo saunters in with quite the feast.”
Spice and Wolf VR 2 isn’t a videogame as such, providing a 30-minute story alongside a mode where viewers ‘can watch part of the anime alongside its characters in the style of Japanese paper street theatre.’
A collaborative effort between Spicy Tails and Gemdrop Game Studios, Spice and Wolf VR 2 will retail for $24.99 USD. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus.
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