Bringing PlayStation VR Worlds to Life with Incredible Art

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Bringing PlayStation VR Worlds to Life with Incredible Art

Hi everyone. My name is Joel Smith and I’m the Art Director on PlayStation VR Worlds. I’ve been working on the game since the very beginning, and as we finally approach the launch, I’m excited be able to tell you more about the project and how it was brought to life.

In virtual reality, art really comes into its own: it’s engrossing and compelling and it allows us to push the boundaries of what art can do. In VR, the art direction is about much more than simply what the game looks like — it’s about how it makes the player feel.

With this in mind, I wanted to dial the artwork up to 11; to make it more exciting and compelling than simple reality. Instead of a strictly “virtual” reality, think of PlayStation VR Worlds as an exaggerated, “theatrical” reality.

Like all good drama, the result has to be a believable, engrossing world, but one that’s also more dramatic and exciting than real life. This exaggerated reality allows us to shape the player’s experience in a number of ways:

Firstly, it leads the player on an emotional journey. To take Ocean Descent, for example: a schematic chart was developed in pre-production and plots not only the player’s physical journey, but also their emotional journey. The artwork plays a key part in shaping this.

In the shallows — the beginning of the journey — the shapes, color, and lighting are soft and painterly, making the player feel calm, relaxed, and allowing them to wonder at the new world they’ve entered.

But as the player dives deeper, their descent and their emotional journey becomes — both literally and metaphorically — much darker.

The soft, painterly aesthetic becomes increasingly angular, dark, and twisted. Sharp aggressive shapes, dramatic lighting contrasts, and violent bursts of red punctuating the darkness: all the things combine to increase the tension and set the player’s nerves on edge.

In Scavengers Odyssey this journey is reversed. The world around you is fractured and destroyed to begin with, colors are vivid and punchy before the world becomes harmonious and structured towards the end.

Having said the artwork should be theatrical, it might seem contradictory to say it should also be believable. But think of Pixar’s animated features and the worlds they create. They’re definitely not realistic — but they’re absolutely believable.

VR Luge’s more simplistic, pared down style contrasts with the detail found in The London Heist, its strong silhouettes and bold forms aiding the exhilaration of a downhill race. Looking at the composition as a whole, at high speed, it becomes a believable world.

DangerBall is the most arcade-style game in the suite, but it too still exists in a believable world.

Its real world materials with physical properties give you a sense of being totally immersed. For example, when the ball hits the wall, the wall breaks up.

Despite its arcade style, the theatrical sense of excitement is also maintained by placing you within a colossal future sport arena — a dynamic environment, where bright colors burst against the dark space beyond.

I’ve enjoyed looking back on the project in order to share this brief insight into the art direction of PlayStation VR Worlds.

Our aim was to give you an extraordinary reality, that gives you experiences like no other. As an art director, it’s been a great experience and I’m certain the end result will be a great experience for players.

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  • Interesting… maybe.
    I am interested in knowing what if a person wears glasses. Do they use this with or without glasses.
    Also, if glasses are not needed, can a person view the scenery with no loss of vision. I can see where this might be an added benefit for those with vision problems.
    If someone needs reading glasses, will they be able to see the scenery with no loss of vision.

    • @Kid_Fleetfeet I have tried Playstation VR and I also wear glasses (near sighted) I had no issues wearing my glasses. I also tried it without my glasses and again no problem. I would imagine if you are far sighted you will need to wear your glasses when playing VR.

    • I’ve used PSVR 3 times with my glasses, no issues at all, was actually pleasantly surprised, I have decent sized glasses and not using them isn’t an option (severe astigmatism). I’ve demoed Eve: Valkyrie, The Deep, Battlezone (twice), and Super Hypercube (twice), was great and definitely put me from excited (yet a little nervous about buying vr), to completely sold and happy I managed a preorder :)

    • @Amnalehu and @krztov thanks for your replies. Appreciate them. With my eyesight not the greatest they may not help but they likely won’t hurt.
      Thanks again.

    • If available in your area, go to Best Buy for a test drive of the PSVR. I wear glasses for nearsightedness and it was comfortable (much more than the Oculus IMO). I’m not sure how well it would work with reading glasses. Put your zip into the link below to find the place and times available near you.

    • I used with glasses. The headset is very comfortable to wear over the glasses. Very well designed.

  • I love the art direction, especially Ocean Descent. I had a chance to try it recently and it was a very amazing experience. I am very anxious to experience the other titles. Great job!

  • Okay let me first start off by saying I was gone for a week on vacay and I come back to this destiny game and while on vacay I got new psn cards for my ps3 and now I can’t buy silver for destiny on ps3 what the heck now I have to buy a ps4 now oh hell no Xbox one maybe instead . thanks bye you guys shouldn’t let the destiny game take away silver what the heck man i m sorry for this I wish I didn’t have to say this I don’t know if I’m wrong for yelling at you guys I’m just mad at you or bungie I don’t know who to be mad at lol?

    • OK. I understand. See, this comment section is for the artistry of Playstation VR worlds, and if you came in here by accident, before you leave you should take the time to read the article. It is very informative, and interesting. I hope VR is on your radar. I bet everyone in this post section will have theirs within a few months, so join us dude!!! The more the merrier. If you like Destiny, perhaps we could meet in VR, and instead of watching a game, we could be in the game. See ya dude, and I hope you find what you are looking for!!!!!

  • Thank you so much for portraying your vision for these new gaming experiences! Can’t wait to try themy out! :)

  • Ocean’s Decent is what sold me on VR 2 years ago at PSX in Vegas. Been preaching VR ever since.

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