Diving into a bushel of hay never felt so real; Ubisoft plans VR titles for 2016

HTC Vive
Jeffery Van Camp/Digital Trends

It seems like you can’t turn around twice nowadays without hearing something about “virtual reality” this, or “fully immersive” that.

Ever since John Carmack showed up to E3 in 2014 with a pair of goggles held together with a strap of duct tape, the push toward making virtual reality devices a reality for consumers has taken off like a runaway train.

But unfortunately, while the hardware side of the equation is already being handled by the likes of Oculus, Samsung, and Valve, until recently the storeroom of available games and software to back these devices up has been conspicuously vacant, or filled at most with tech demos and proofs-of-concept.

But now, Ubisoft’s CEO says the company is actively working on titles that will take “full advantage” of the VR experience, giving users an opportunity to dive into some of their favorite game worlds without getting too dizzy in the process.

In an analyst call with investors, Ubisoft head Yves Guillemot sounded excited about the potential these headsets could have for the gaming market in 2016, though he was still vaguely coy about exactly what the company was doing to take full advantage of the technology.

“We believe a lot in virtual reality because we see that it is really giving a chance for gamers to be more immersed in worlds, and we are developing a certain number of games that are going to take advantage of this new possibility,”

The (justified) concern here is that if you take a look at Ubisoft’s pedigree, you encounter a resume mired almost exclusively in third-person action titles, which by design don’t lend themselves too well to the kind of experience that virtual reality can offer.

Whether or not the company is planning to shake off that focus for a more FPS, first-person-centric development schedule remains to be seen, but that said it’s still exciting to know that one of the largest publishers in the business is adopting VR as a core part of its business strategy on the road forward.