The Oculus Rift has undeniably spawned so many new ideas and innovations in the way we explore virtual 3D environments. Japan also has its fair share of ideas for this VR headset, and here are a few of the notable ones that might just have the potential to take those current ideas even further.
Coming first on this short list is the realization of the space launch sequence from the Japanese comic series Sidonia Knights (Shidonia no Kishi). The presentation of the concept is part of the Anime Festa event that is currently held in Tokorozawa, Saitama. As for the look and feel of being inside a cockpit in space, it is very reminiscent of the previously unveiled EVE: Valkyrie, which has the same fantasy sci-fi setting and also lets the user play as a space pilot (though this time you’re riding mechas instead). Sadly, the demo isn’t even playable, as it is simply a launch sequence. The short experience is nevertheless still quite exciting however, especially when the unit shown in the sequence starts to accelerate faster and faster.
The next one is Hanzo, an upcoming arcade-style game for a shop attraction in Osaka. The basic premise of the game seems to let the player jump around and travel through ancient Japan as a ninja. There is very little information about the game right now, but the introduced mechanics suggest that you’ll be flicking away shurikens to hit targets via Kinect-like controls, while looking at your 360-degree environment with the Oculus Rift. As it is still currently under development, in-game screenshots are still quite scarce.
Another interesting Oculus Rift innovation in Japan is the Unity Engine-based indie game Titan. The game is partly inspired by the massively popular comic/anime series Attack on Titan. The same titan slaying action is there, however the player uses chains to swing around buildings instead of the iconic 3D Maneuver Gear. It is also set on a rather unique and modern landscape, instead of the pre-industrial-esque environment that the series is originally set on. The game is still largely unfinished however, and the only version available for download seems to be a very short demo. It looks very promising in terms of game mechanics, but beware; swinging around buildings might be very disorienting to the eyes.
Tonari no Totoro Oculus VR
On a final note, Red of Paw’s Tonari no Totoro Oculus VR experience also takes special mention here. The concept isn’t actually Japanese, but the characters used in the concept are from one of Studio Ghibli’s most famous Japanese animated films. The idea presented here is simple: a recreation of one of the scenes in the movie can be explored by the user in full 360-degrees. It is quite notable because reproducing scenes this way somewhat makes the comparison of Oculus Rift to a certain more futuristic VR tech a whole lot more understandable. Both are still very far away from each other however, and for now, we’re going to be stuck on whatever’s visible on the headset’s screen.