One of the genres that will benefit from the upcoming release of virtual reality headsets is horror. The immersion made possible by VR can actually put players in the experience and lead to a whole new level of terror when used correctly. Trust me. But how far is too far? Ryan Bousfield, a developer at Wolf & Wood and creator of VR horror experience A Chair In A Room, believes that caution might be in order.
Speaking with VRFocus, Bousfield remarked that jump scares in virtual reality had the potential to be dangerous:
“Yeah, I think scaring people, especially with jump scares, in VR is pretty dangerous. I think overall with the design it’s got to be satisfying as the build-up, the tension with the audio, with the story, everything needs to be there. And then, every now and again, just drop something in there that relieves that tension a little bit, maybe gives you a little bit of a jump. But, overall, in the game itself, there’s only really– without putting the spoilers in there – there’s only a handful of jump scares.
These remarks follow on from Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey revealing that the company is discouraging developers from using jump scares in VR games. During an AMA on Reddit last month, Luckey said “we are strongly discouraging developers from using jump scares” and that they are “such a cheap way to get a reaction in VR.”