BURBANK, Calif. – Insomniac Games is ratcheting up its work in virtual reality.
The developer best known for the “Resistance” and “Ratchet & Clank” franchises is set to release three VR games for the recently released Oculus Rift system in 2016.
After four years in development, the Oculus Rift began shipping to consumers March 28. Despite the technology’s untested position in the marketplace, Insomniac Games is moving full force into the emerging 360-degree interactive medium.
“We went in with open eyes,” said Insomniac Games President and CEO Ted Price. “We knew, at first, that the install base would be low. At the same time, we have a lot of passion for and faith in the growth of VR looking ahead to the future.”
Insomniac’s VR games set to debut later this year include:
— “Edge of Nowhere”: A moody third-person title inspired by H.P. Lovecraft set in the Arctic that recalls “Tomb Raider” and Uncharted” adventures. The game mimics a player’s head movements in VR to cast a flashlight in different directions when exploring unnerving virtual caves.
— “The Unspoken”: With the handheld Oculus Touch controllers, players’ hands are capable of casting spells in seedy corners of Chicago, where members of an urban magic fight club meet to duel. The spells range from spewing fireballs with a wrist flick to waving crows to attack.
— “Feral Rites”: An adventure brawler featuring shapeshifting protagonists that’s described as a cross between “The Legend of Zelda,” ”God of War” and “Altered Beasts.” The game is inspired by adventure novels from such authors as Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells.
Price estimated that Insomniac Games is dedicating about 30 to 50 per cent of its workforce at both its Burbank, Calif., and Durham, N.C., studios to working on VR games.
Oculus has not released initial sales figures for the Rift but acknowledged its struggled to ship systems to consumers. The current orders for Oculus Rift systems aren’t expected to arrive until summer.
Jason Rubin, Oculus’ head of worldwide studios, said titles from proven developers such as Insomniac Games will increase awareness and provide legitimacy for the VR medium.
“We want bigger games at launch,” said Rubin. “We think that helps push the industry forward in terms of technology and consumer excitement about the business. We all learn from each other as we’re doing it. Our goal was to seed the marketplace with a lot of capital to create a race forward.”
While Insomniac’s VR games will first launch for Oculus, Price said he hasn’t ruled out releasing them for the other VR systems, the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Rubin noted that Insomniac and other game makers are not forced to only create games that work with the Oculus Rift.
“We really are in this for the benefit of VR,” said Rubin. “There have to be other considerations. Otherwise, it makes no sense to do this. That’s why these relationships are so important.”
Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/derrik-j-lang .