It got removed, for better or worse
It’s interesting to see where people will draw the line when it comes to VR technology and what we put players through. I really mean it’s interesting to see where ‘big companies’ draw the line, because we all know indie developers are arcane creatures without limits or reason, and will happily make all sorts of disturbing, sexy, and disturbingly sexy games once the tech is more widespread.
Boardrooms full of shareholders though? Not so much. At least not until Shareholder Sim 2017: The Stocks Aren’t the Only Thing Going Up comes out.
In an interview with Official PlayStation Magazine (and reported by GamesRadar), President of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida revealed that the option to commit suicide to end their Heist demo was removed. Yoshida explains, commenting:
“It can be quite scary. Originally, when the Sony London team was making the London Heist demo, they had the ability for you to shoot yourself… You could point your gun at yourself. And that felt wrong – it was too stressful – so they removed it. The medium is so powerful, so we need to be careful with what we provide.”
Heist isa tech demo never really intended for public release, it’s just being used to show convention-goers what the technology can do. Still, that’s quite heavy subject material to be faced with at Happy Go Fun Bucks gaming convention.
It’s also worth pointing out that this might not be as much a concern for the player’s safety as it is Sony avoiding controversy. The Morpheus is a piece of tech in an unproved space, having it even falsely linked to a suicide scandal wouldn’t bode well at all for a successful launch.
However, motivations for changing the demo aside, it does raise the question about what steps should be taken to protect players in virtual reality, if any at all? Do we currently know anything about the effects VR could have on people when featuring scenes of suicide or violence?