I cannot wait for an opportunity to try out VR for Minecraft. I know there are many out there who have and I would really love everyone's feedback on the experience from those of you who have already tried it. However, I think I will wait to check out VR Minecraft on the PS5 when it is released. With the speed of the Next Gen consoles, the VR experience as bound to be incredible....
Clear out the living room and put away Mom’s fine china
What’s better than being in Minecraft? Being in Minecraft! Or at least tricking your brain into thinking it is. Well, PlayStation minecrafters rejoice, because your beloved blocky game is now available in glorious VR! And that’s not all the good news – it will come as a free patch for the main game, so if you already have Minecraft on PlayStation, all you have to do is install the latest update! You’ll also need a PlayStation Camera and PlayStation VR headset, of course. No, surrounding yourself with a wall of screens like a comic book villain is not the same thing. Believe me, I’ve tried. Please ignore the trap door.
So aside from the incredibly immersive experience, what’s new? You’ll be able to choose between two VR modes – Immersive and Living Room – as well as tweak your VR settings for maximum comfort. As you may already know, not everyone can handle all types of VR. If you have a hard time keeping your lunch down on rides of the car, boat, plane, or rollercoaster variety, make sure you start with shorter sessions, try different settings, and stop immediately if you feel woozy.
It’s like training wheels for VR! Except the other kids won’t make fun of you.
Aside from that, Minecraft is the same game you know and love. Well, maybe a bit more terrifying in certain rissssssssssky situations, but on the other hand, the sunsets will soothe your soul in ways you’ve never imagined. But why take my word for it when I’ve already pestered Executive Producer Rog Carpenter and Minecraft Console Producer Damian Finn for their take on Minecraft for PlayStation VR? Check out my totally non-intrusive interview below:
Cristina: Was there a Minecraft feature that was particularly challenging to transition to VR?
Damian: Our biggest challenge was ensuring player comfort when playing Minecraft in VR. It doesn’t matter how fun your game is, if you make people feel queasy when they play then it’s not a nice gaming experience. So much of our focus was around player comfort and making sure that the VR experience was as enjoyable as it could possibly be. We believe we’ve managed to achieve this and the end result is a fully-fledged version of Minecraft with no compromises. Everything that you can do in Bedrock Minecraft on PS4 you can now experience in 3D on PSVR.
Rog: I think the most challenging thing is to not fall over while playing the game, I get too immersed…
Can't wait to be immersed in all that sand as it falls on me.
Cristina: Can you explain the difference between Living Room mode and Immersive mode?
Damian: Living Room Mode puts the player in a Minecraft living room as if they were playing Minecraft on a giant TV. If they look around the room with the PSVR headset on, then they see the Minecraft Living Room in 3D. However, if you play Minecraft on the TV in front of you, that image is 2D. So it’s just like playing Minecraft sitting on your couch at home, but instead, you’ve teleported your living room into Minecraft to sit on a couch there to play. Immersive Mode places the player firmly in their world, just as if they were looking through the eyes of the character they are playing with. It’s the full VR experience, and the one we expect 99% of players to use.
Rog: What Damian said. So in Immersive Mode, you can be playing Minecraft on your couch at home, sitting on your couch in the game playing the game. It’s a cool way of warming you up to a VR experience.
Cristina: Is there a setting that will help me deal with my crippling fear of heights?
Damian: Not really, the sense of height is quite real in Minecraft VR, but you never know this might help or test things for you… Start a game in Creative mode and create a 2x2 pool of water. Then build a tall, single block tower, ten blocks high or so, look down at your pool and jump into it. Now increase your tower block by ten blocks, get on top of it and jump again. Repeat, each time adding ten or so more blocks (no one is counting). I doubt it will deal with your crippling fear of heights, but anyone else watching you play will enjoy the spectacle.
Rog: Minecraft VR is not really going to help you, sorry. Maybe the things you do in the real world to help yourself might help with the fear? Like closing your eyes or looking the other way? Probably won’t end well for you in the game, though…
In hindsight, leaving the elytra at the base wasn’t a good idea.
Cristina: Did you encounter any funny or weird situations when testing VR in Minecraft?
Damian: Does Covid-19 count? Back in March, the whole team had to quickly transition to working from home, but we managed it with surprisingly little upheaval. I’d even go as far as to say that it helped us all to have challenging work to focus on. With things becoming difficult and concerning for everyone, this felt like a little piece of normality in a rapidly changing and complicated situation.
Rog: I shouldn’t be surprised at this but the VR experience does make encounters more real, so things like gravel falling down on you seem like a whole new experience, you find yourself actually jumping out of the way (and falling over).
Cristina: What's your favorite thing to do in the game?
Damian: I really enjoy flying. Using the elytra in 3D gives a real sense of freedom and it's just fun to soar around the sky looking down on your world.
Rog: He does really like flying! I think it just amplifies the experiences that I’m already a fan of. Cave exploration is just more engrossing than ever, who needs daylight eh!?!
Cristina: Speaking of scary environments, which mob do you find the scariest in VR?
Damian: Call me old school but I’ve always found unexpectedly running into a Creeper to be really scary. Add VR and a dark cave into the equation and hearing that ‘hiss’ of a nearby Creeper will make you jump out of your skin.
Rog: Yes, those things… Creepers!!!! Seeing an arrow whistle past you when you hadn’t spotted the nearby skeleton(s) can give you a bit of a surprise, too.
Cristina: Which biomes do you think look the coolest?
Damian: You really can’t beat swimming around underwater in VR mode. So I’d have to say a warm ocean biome would be my favorite. Swimming with dolphins or deep diving down to a shipwreck is great fun. It's just like being on holiday… but without all the sand sticking to your suncream!
Rog: Jungle! Massive trees, parrots flying around, pigs walking around in the branches, it’s a fab sight in VR!
Sounds like the perfect holiday! Special thanks to Damian and Rog for explaining how fun Minecraft in VR is better than I ever could. That being said, I can’t help but notice the utter lack of fab sights around me – time to find out how high I can climb in VR without fainting.
Roger Carpenter testing out the VR