We’ve had Resident Evil in VR, and Silent Hill is currently unaccounted for in any capacity for the foreseeable future, so what about Project Zero, another big Japanese horror classic? When are we going to see a new Project Zero title, and will it also be compatible with VR? Because Project Zero VR really needs to be a thing.
Having crossed over from the PS2 and Xbox to the Wii and then the Wii U with the main titles, and even having a brief stint on the 3DS with spin-off Spirit Camera, the Project Zero series has always been open to having a stab at utilising different and exciting hardware. Should the next game be a continuation down that path, Project Zero VR is a very natural way for it to go.
VR would provide a take on Project Zero that isn’t as inherently bound by the hardware as, say, the Wii, but is still led by it. There’s nothing about VR as fiddly or fussy as trying to incorporate a nunchuk, and it would open the game up in many ways. Literally! Exploration has always been a big part of the series, and VR capabilities could definitely emphasise that. Project Zero‘s settings may sound like generic haunted houses on paper, but they have a lot of excellent details, and are superbly atmospheric. It would be incredible to get properly stuck into the game and look around one of the haunted locations. //wii u version?
Then there’s the matter of how it would impact trying to complete the Ghost List. Not only would all those optional ghosts to be found around be even creepier if you stumble upon them by just curiously looking around you, but it could also make finding some of them a little easier. It feels much more natural to look around with a headset than just a difficult fixed camera, and the wide scope of vision in VR would let you look in places and at angles you might not have tried or been able to before.
Ghosts could be hidden anywhere! It would be a great chance to totally freak the player out when they just happen to stumble across them! Subtleties and the little things you find on your own while looking for key items have always been a part of Project Zero’s charm. Finding newspaper clippings and documents that build up the individual lore has run through each game too, and VR would present the possibility of actually taking a look at the important texts rather than solely reading them in the inventory.
So what about combat? With some ghosts being able to move quickly or teleport, VR would also streamline battles. Turning around in battle with the ghost constantly popping up behind you is a real pain, but it wouldn’t be so much in VR, as you’d be able to direct where you’re looking a lot more smoothly.
You’d still be using the glowing filament on the Camera Obscura and eerie audio cues to guide you, but you wouldn’t have to wrestle with the camera as much, and responding quick enough to actually see the ghost when you can hear where they’ve gone would be a lot simpler. It wouldn’t make the battles easier, exactly, but less clunky, which is all they really need.
The Director’s Cut of Project Zero II aside, the games play primarily in third-person as you explore various creepy areas. You can move around in the first-person Finder Mode, so theoretically you could play the game in first-person, but it doesn’t feel nice. This is largely due to how the controls are laid out, as you are unable to run while in Finder Mode.
Just copying that setup over to VR wouldn’t change those issues, naturally, but it would make for a good opportunity to have the game played entirely in Finder Mode. You can always be on the lookout for ghosts that way, whether they’re ones that will attack you or not, so it would be a great opportunity to ramp up those and the many creepy little things that take place in your surroundings – things mysteriously falling over, dolls turning to look at you, and the like.
Of course, it wouldn’t have to be entirely in Finder Mode for it to still work in first-person either. Even if the Camera Obscura is still something that needs to be brought up to fight, in order to preserve that moment of panic whenever you run into a ghost unexpectedly, the transition between being in Finder Mode and being in Totally Helpless Mode would be a lot smoother if the rest of the game was in first-person too.
I appreciate third-person horror games a lot, but this would be a good time to test out a first-person Project Zero to see how well it works or just to do something a bit different with the series. With the last game in the series coming out 2 years ago, it’s about time we had another, and why shouldn’t it be Project Zero VR?
Horror games and VR are such a natural combination, but, with the exception of Resident Evil 7, the world of Japanese VR horror is still a pool of mostly untapped potential. The two should go so wonderfully together – it would be an utter shame to see the blend be treated as just a novelty and not get many games.
We’ve started strong with Resident Evil, and there are a few lesser-known Japanese VR horror titles in the works, but it’s unlikely many of those will come west just yet, so another classic could help bridge the gap and drum up interest. And, let’s face it, it’s not going to be Silent Hill. But that’s fine! Project Zero is a treasure, and it was made for this sort of thing.
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