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Why are some of Oculus' biggest new games going third-person?

Some major new virtual reality games were revealed at Oculus' pre-E3 press event yesterday, but one trend stood out to us. Where many people think of VR as focusing on immersive first-person experiences, many of the games discussed yesterday were third-person.

For his part, Insomniac Games CEO Ted Price says choosing third-person for its upcoming Oculus game Edge of Nowhere was a no-brainer.

"We have been making third-person games for a long time," Price says. "We've definitely developed an expertise in that area, when it comes to camera and controls. Third-person in VR absolutely presents challenges, but I think every genre does. All of us are learning what works and what doesn't work in a very different paradigm."

Though first-person may be the first thought when many people imagine virtual reality, Insomniac believes there's a lot to get out of the technology in other perspectives as well.

"VR gives you that sense of presence," says Insomniac community lead James Stevenson. "It doesn't matter if it's first- or third-person; that presence is really the thing. You can play a third-person game and still have that sense of presence, of being in that world."

Over at Gunfire Games, David Adams and his team already had experience working on VR projects before making a deal with Oculus. Gunfire created the game Herobound for Samsung's mobile-based Gear VR. This project changes the team's conception of what works best in virtual reality games.

"As a team, that really opened our eyes to the fact that you can just make a regular game in VR," says Adams. "It doesn't have to be gimmicky. You can just make cool games. We came up with this idea. We love fantasy, we love RPGs. It's kind of our wheelhouse. So we put together a pitch for a game, gave it to Oculus, and they wanted to do it."

Despite the switch to an ambitious new technology, Adams says fans of Darksiders — a series that many of the developers at Gunfire worked on previously while at Vigil Games — will find much to love in Chronos, its Oculus Rift project.

"We have a certain style to the stuff that we do," Adams says. "It's a little different just because of who your character is. In Darksiders, you're this badass horseman of the apocalypse. In Chronos, you're much more vulnerable. You start as just a young guy, 17 years old. Tone-wise, it's a lot different. But as far as the fact that there's a cool world with a bunch of stuff to explore? Yeah, absolutely, I think that will appeal to the same type of gamer."

Chronos will launch alongside the Oculus Rift in early 2016, while a release timeframe for Edge of Nowhere has yet to be revealed.

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