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New Battlezone trailer showcases the PS VR shooter’s epic transformation a year on

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New Battlezone trailer showcases the PS VR shooter’s epic transformation a year on

Rebellion breaks down how their PS VR launch title has improved since its unveiling

Nearly a year ago to the day I jumped into this very blog to announce Battlezone for PlayStation Morpheus, as PlayStation VR was called back then. What we took to E3 2015 was an exciting proof-of-concept on hardware that didn’t even have an official name!

Fast forward a year later and Battlezone is back at E3, and it’s come so far. The developments are too long to list, but here are some of the ways the game has changed since that very first reveal.

The visuals: Clarity, diversity

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So here’s a fun fact – did you know the film Tron was heavily influenced by the original 1980 Battlezone? We’ve had quite a few chuckles with all the comparisons players have made with that iconic Disney film, but yes, Battlezone shares the beautiful conceit of delivering a jaw-dropping cyber world. VR within VR if you will.

Getting technical for a second, the visuals have evolved significantly. They’re still faceted and retain this wonderfully distinctive polygonal style, but our engine team and artists have now had an extra year with the PlayStation VR hardware and absolutely gone to town on the fidelity, the clarity, and the visual effects.

This is the best and scariest thing about working in VR. There’s no benchmark to work to, you have to strike out in the dark and find new ways to deliver breathtaking art in VR.

The cockpit: Delivering state of the art

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When we first revealed the game the cockpit was deliberately quite compact and basic. It did a great job of grounding the player but at the same time we knew we wanted something that felt state of the art. Something tangible, spacious, simultaneously larger and more impressive but still increasing the player’s field of view rather than restricting it. There are now all sorts of amazing details, lots of additional displays and most importantly, it houses the game’s HUD in a way that feels natural and seamless.

This is almost the most important part of the game – making you, the gamer, want to live and breathe in the cockpit of a badass tank!

The controller: Power in your hands!

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We’ve watched a lot – probably thousands – of people play Battlezone at shows, and they all look down at their hands and feet as soon as they put the headset on. Obviously they can’t see their body, which made us ask ourselves, “Why don’t we show them their controller?”.

So we decided to map the Dualshock 4 controller into the cockpit itself. Tilt it, turn it, flip it, it’ll follow your exact movement in the cockpit – we’ve even overlaid a button map during the tutorial so you know which button does what.

It’s a subtle change but one that gets a surprising amount of smiles on the show floor, and makes everything more welcoming for first time PSVR players too.

Honed gameplay and a full-blooded campaign

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Far from the one level demo we had at E3 2015, Battlezone now sports a complete campaign blending random and procedurally generated content to deliver a mode you’ll want to come back to (we’ve already covered this in a little bit more detail here if you want to know more).

Our latest E3 build sports new weapons that now exhibit proper ballistics, and a super-powered EMP weapon that brings down all the enemies on screen in one beautiful wave of destruction! It comes in handy too because the demo can get very intense at times!

We’re not quite ready to show everything yet, but we promise there will be more environments, more tanks to drive, more special items and weapons to unleash, and more enemies to obliterate.

I’ll just leave you on this nice little trivia piece – the new flying “Hopper” enemies were added in to encourage players to scan vertically, not just horizontally, but what most people won’t know is that they were inspired by the comic book and Rebellion IP, Rogue Trooper!

One to keep handy for the pub quizzes, that.

Enjoy the rest of E3 and I hope you get to try Battlezone soon if you haven’t already!

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12 Comments

  • I’m not very impressed that all of this effort is going into VR. You know, there are many gamers that have a television. If Sony put this much effort into it’s games for the past two years maybe we wouldn’t be getting bored of silly indie games.

    • Oh please, do shut up. We’ve had TV games for over 30 years and now it’s time for something different. Why should those who have been waiting for VR for over two decades not get what they want because of selfish people like you?

    • No, U. Because I see a lot of games being advertised as VR only. When they’re releasing consoles with better graphics, why should we not want these games on our televisions too?

    • Can you honestly say that you’re happy buying like £400 of VR gear + a new Playstation 4 model and then seeing that many of the good looking coming soon gamers are listed as “Playstation VR Required”? I mean you can tell I’m a fan of Until Dawn, I was pretty excited to see Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. It sucks.

    • This is just like the time when Polyphony Digital wanted to make several episodes of downloadable content for Heavy Rain but instead Sony forced them to add Playstation Move functionality which didn’t really work anyway. I’d just like to be offered something good without strapping these things to my head. I’m just not into this VR stuff on any platform.

    • PSVR is not £400 though; It’s £350, and yes, I’m perfectly happy with that. I also spent £600 on a Samsung Galaxy S6 and Gear VR to bridge the gap to PSVR, and I’ve also been happy with that too. I also love Until Dawn, and I’m really excited about Rush Of Blood; looks like it’s going to be a really fun game. I’m going to assume that you’ve never actually experienced VR before, since you seem so ignorant of it.

      As for Heavy Rain… I’ve platinumed Heavy Rain using the Move controller on the hardest difficulty setting, and it worked perfectly fine and made the game even more fun than using DualShock. Just because you crap at using the Move, doesn’t make it bad.

    • Yeh if everybody had that attitude we would still be playing space invaders at the arcade and as for indies please keep them coming because we are allowed them and AAA games too.

  • This is what you’re buying kids. A spew simulator http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36550369

    • Except that I’ve played a lot of VR over the past few months (including PSVR and the very game in this article), and never felt sick. Yes, it affects SOME people; a minority, but that’s really no different from the fact that first-person games on TV make some people sick.

    • When you come out, Look at your smartphone for five minutes and scroll down a few web pages.

  • Really looking forward to this game; I played Battlezone last year at GamesCom and it was a lot of fun. I also did the “look down at my body” thing when playing it too. :)

  • This reminds me a lot of the original 1980’s TRON.

    Please put an easter egg of Bit in there somewhere.

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