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We’ve seen about two years’ worth of virtual reality gaming now, and already a couple months’ worth of augmented reality on mobile devices. Together, VR and AR make up the mixed reality medium — the hottest new thing in gaming, and something that, to many of us, represents the future. However, even with as much as we’ve seen in the early days of mixed reality gaming, major franchise adaptations have been few and far between.
This is understandable to a degree. It’s only natural that developers would be cautious in the early going, and focus on smaller and simpler games. There’s some experimentation going on, and there are some entirely new concepts being tried. We’re really only just seeing hints of major video game franchises making the move — namely, Doom, Fallout, and The Elder Scrolls (or Skyrim), all of which will be out in VR form by the end of 2017.
What other franchises might follow? In all likelihood, many! Particularly if those three titles find success, there will likely be a virtual stampede of major franchise developers and producers to imitate it. In the meantime, these are some of the series you should probably keep an eye out for.
Call Of Duty
More than three years ago, an article at GamesRadar looked at eight franchises that would be amazing in virtual reality, and the first title on the list was Battlefield. It may be true that Battlefield has more or less become the highest quality FPS game on the market, but Call of Duty is still the bigger name, and thus perhaps the best suited to an experiment or even a sort of mobile-style “mini” version in mixed reality. Shooters in general pose some problems where motion is concerned, but some indie games have already presented clever solutions — and Fallout could set a new standard. Whatever the case, Activision is both competitive and prolific with the Call of Duty franchise, and that probably means we should expect an attempt. Battlefield would almost certainly follow.
A full-fledged Tomb Raider game in virtual reality would be spectacular, and given the franchise’s successful console reboot, it might be on the table. But it’s actually the strength of this franchise in smaller games that’s most intriguing. For instance, you may not realize there’s an online slot title in this series. Slotsource’s preview of the game specifically notes that Lara Croft “has come a long way indeed from her origins” in gaming, speaking to her evolution in different genres and media. Perhaps even more relevant is the Lara Croft GO game put out by Square Enix for mobile devices — a progressive puzzle game with mystery and action elements. Both types of games — casino and puzzle — are among those people are keeping an eye on for augmented reality adaptation. A few geometric puzzles that are already available for AR on mobile devices even resemble Lara Croft GO. A Tomb Raider title could be a matter of time.
Building has already become a popular activity in both VR and AR. Minecraft is one of the more exciting gaming options on VR because of the boundless creativity it offers its users, and one of the first games to be released for Apple’s AR — Stack AR — is more or less about building the tallest tower you can. Organizing structures and building towers in any kind of mixed reality is simply exciting because it looks more like you’re composing a complex 3D model than simply manipulating a screen. And SimCity is the biggest name in this genre (insofar as building games are a genre). Earlier this year, UploadVR wrote that Kingdoms and Castles had raised $100k to “become the SimCity of VR,” and it may well be that other games more or less occupy this space before there’s an official SimCity adaptation. But we’re betting that at some point this franchise gets into the action — and probably has a lot of success doing so.
There are several more titles we could mention, but these three cover a pretty wide spectrum of games, and seem among the likelier possibilities.