Last year, Teotle Studios released its sci-fi thriller The Solus Project for Xbox One and PC, including support for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR platforms, but Sony’s PlayStation 4 and PSVR were left out in the cold. Today, The Solus Project made its debut on Sony’s console and VR platform, and the description page may reveal a new input configuration for PSVR players.
The Solus Project is a free-roaming first-person experience that requires joystick input to move around, and it also supports using the PlayStation Move motion controllers to add hand-tracked input to the game. If you’re not intimately familiar with the PSVR platform and the limitations that it has, you likely won't notice the conundrum that combining those two input methods poses.
Presently, you can play PSVR games with a Dual Shock 4 controller or a pair of PlayStation Move controllers. Games that offer scripted locomotion, such as Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, work well with PlayStation Move controllers to give you tracked hands within the game. Games that require input for locomotion, such as Resident Evil 7, aren’t compatible with the Move controllers, though, because of the absence of a joystick or d-pad.
When the PlayStation Move controllers were in demand for PS3 games, Sony developed a solution for locomotion input--a controller called a PlayStation Navigation Controller, which resembled a Move controller without the colored ball for motion tracking. The Navigation Controllers include a thumbstick so that you can play games that require locomotion input, though.
Sony’s Navigation Controller didn’t live long on the PS3 platform, but it appears the old device is coming out of retirement. The Solus Project’s product page lists the Navigation controller as a compatible input device. We don’t know much about the Navigation Controller implementation yet, and we aren’t certain that it would work with the PSVR version of the game, but it would make a lot of sense if it did. The HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and upcoming Windows MR platforms all support motion control with thumbstick input, so adding Navigation Controller support to the PSVR platform would make it easier for developers to bring content from other VR platforms to PSVR.
Something Altogether New?
Of course, it’s entirely possible that the Navigation Controller that Teotle Studios supports isn’t the same Navigation Controller that we’re familiar with. Sony could be preparing to announce a new peripheral, and we’ve found one developer reference that reinforces that notion. VR Visio Games is building a VR first-person shooter for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and PSVR called Special Forces VR, which also features free locomotion. The developers said that Special Forces VR would support Sony’s PlayStation Aim Controller, which includes thumbsticks for movement, but then they posted a message on their Facebook page last week that suggested they recently received a secret PSVR-related device.
It's possible that the secret device is a new version of the Navigation Controller that features both motion tracking and joystick/d-pad input.
A motion controller with a locomotion input would be a great boon for the PSVR platform. Currently, every other premium VR system offers both features at once, and as a result, PSVR can’t support all the same content that you can get on a PC-connected VR system. Navigation Controller support would be a good step in the right direction, but we’d prefer to see a new Navigation Controller with a tracking bubble attached to it.
Sony’s PlayStation Experience conference is coming up in early December. Perhaps Sony will have new hardware to announce.