Tears for fears
Horror games have a great deal to gain from the transition to VR, with extra immersion translating directly to better scares. But how scary is too scary? According to Warburton, it’s possible that realistically frightening VR scenarios may provoke a “fairly extreme fear response” in a small number of people, potentially resulting in psychological trauma. “Content that is very disturbing may cause some people to feel upset and disturbed for some time afterward, and some of these people may need assistance to overcome this.”
If this is true, it raises some troubling questions regarding the obligations and responsibilities of VR developers. Are developers aware that VR is potentially traumatic? Are they obligated to consider that potential when making games intended to scare people? While writing this feature, I reached out to a number devs working on horror games for VR platforms, but none were willing or able to comment.