Tears for fears

Hyper - - FEATURE -

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.

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