In an interview with MCV, Develop’s sister site, Rebellion CEO Jason Kingsley reflected on Rebellion’s first VR title, Battlezone.
"VR continues to be something that we’re very interested in," says Kingsley. "I think the business side of it has been a very rapid start and very successful. I think everybody’s pausing for breath and going, "Right, what’s next?"
"Battlezone has been a huge financial success for us, it’s been absolutely brilliant, and commercial success. It’s won tonnes of awards but it’s not as big as a non-VR title."
Kingsley posits that we’re so early in the virtual reality life-cycle that we don’t yet have the language to talk about it properly. "It’s exciting, because as a creative person, new frontiers are always opportunities. They’re threats, but they’re always opportunities as well."
We’re just at the end of the novelty phase," says Kingsley. "VR is this novelty, and it’s great, and what can it do? We have to learn new words. We have to learn new ways of telling a story. We can’t, for example, edit the same way we could do with linear media, with film and television."
Kingsley talks about the literacy of VR, comparing it to the language of television: "If something fades out, often it means a transition of time. If it’s a straight cut, it’s the same time. If it goes all wobbly, it’s a dream sequence. If it changes colour, it goes into flashback. We know the language of film and TV, and, to a certain extent, computer games.
"We sort of know if we go into a big room and there’s health packs and potions and stuff and it’s a big chamber you think, "Shit. Boss fight." You know it’s a boss fight, which is fine, because that’s all part of the shared experience, and game designers can play with that. So you can subvert it: make people think it’s a boss fight and it’s not, or something else that plays with expectations."
Rebellion has its 25th anniversary this week. A full feature on the company will be in the next issue of MCV.