If you have not been in a Fallout shelter counting caps or deprived from WiFi recently, then there is no reason as a gamer on why you have not heard of or have yet to see Hardcore Henry. STX Entertainment, the studio that produced the movie, made sure to market within a Gamers attention span on YouTube’s Video Game platform, YouTube Gaming. Finally someone has executed a first person action movie correctly to the silver screen and shooting game VR developers can learn a thing or two from the experience.
Now we’ve witnessed first person view of film, especially the horror movie that brought the video game Doom to life, or Cloverfield, and a some un-notables like the indie movie FPS to name a few, but they just didn’t capture the full First Person action or FPS experience to its fullest. If you fit the profile of a gamer and love the over saturated genre of First Person Shooters, then you are in for a treat with Hardcore Henry. Hardcore Henry is a first-person action movie from the eyes of the main character Henry, who’s resurrected from death with no memory. The premise is that he must discover his identity and save his wife from a warlord that has a plan to bio-engineer reanimated soldiers. The movie made by Ilya Naishuller, was shot with a specially designed GoPRO head device for a dedicated POV.
Watching the film I couldn’t help but to think how I was immersed into the action. The plot was a bit off at times but the action sequence just never let up. There was literally no gaps in which I felt like I was not being entertained. Then I realized how a lot of developers drop the ball when it comes to delivering this same experience in a shooting video games. I’ve been playing First Person Shooters since Quake, Doom, Duke Nukem, Counter Strike, Metal of Honor, Halo..I mean I can go on for days. The genre in itself has evolved into a monster, and has now morphed the perception of what the “western gamer” only craves for. This way of thinking it has deteriorated the overall experience you can gain from a First Person Shooter, which is feeling like you are living out the character you are playing as. The lost art of an FPS was the self immersion that was met automatically because of the ocular view.
Due to the lack of creativity with some FPS games, the category has fallen short and gone the coined “Call of Duty route” – short storylines, undeveloped characters, and non creative angles to the experience. Even Call of Duty had to self readjust when their following was playing Destiny more than their blockbuster franchise. First person shooters will never die out, but it has become a love/hate genre. Let’s not talk about mediocre endings with anti climatic boss fights that involve just a quick time event. So it is a shame when a movie can show how to deliver an experience in a fun way that some video games are not delivering to us in this 8th generation.
Here is where Virtual Reality comes into the equation. Watching Hardcore Henry period felt like a VR experience with a triple-A title. Virtual Reality is the booming trend, the wave, it is evolving every form of entertainment today with an actual live experience in a virtual world. While covering PAX East 2016, I had the opportunity to test various VR platforms such as the HTC Vive, Oculus, and PlayStation VR. What was observed in Hardcore Henry can be achieved in a VR shooting game. The dynamic of how the movie was shot was literally a living testament to every rich first person shooter that gave us an adventure in a kick ass and fun way.
VR developers can take the shooting experience to an extra level with a dynamic sensibility especially with action and story progression. Imagine a VR FPS with no loading screens but have short scenes of engagement with another/supporting character to give users a break. We are used to it with cut scenes but the cut scenes can be more live and engaging since you are virtually controlling an avatar. As the movie progressed the level of difficulty with foes did too for Henry, but self-realization of what he was capable of when fighting off evil cyborgs helped him battle them off quicker through a type of trial and error. This factor in a VR game could come to life more than a pop up notification we get in current games to let us know what to do next. Seasoned Souls vets would pwnd this type of gameplay in VR.
The possibilities are endless and VR can diminish how waves of enemies are delivered to the player. In the scene above enemies were coming in all types of areas and with his ally in the movie both were able to defeat them is a unique way.
VR may need extra developments as we are in the beginning of the era but I believe VR will be the future of immersing a player deep into the gameplay of what the game has to offer and the genre that is in need for nuances is out beloved First Person Shooter.
Let me know your thoughts if you would be in for a realistic FPS experience and if you seen Hardcore Henry let me know your thoughts.