Whether video games are displayed on a handheld device or computer monitor, there’s currently no issue when it comes to perspective or immersion. Virtual reality (VR) has changed this, making perspective a far more important consideration for both gameplay and story.
What is perspective?
Essentially how the player view and interacts with the world, perspective is a highly important consideration for game design. Third-person games feature the camera set in an ‘over the shoulder’ configuration, while first-person games mimic reality, having the player inside the character’s head.
Perspective impacts both gameplay, and serves the connection between a player and the character.
There are arguments for both perspectives, but it’s generally accepted that the player cares more for the characters in third-person games, acting as a kind of ‘guardian angel’. First-person games see the player become the character, and as a result first-person games also commonly feature less dialogue.
How does VR impact this?
The first person perspective is arguably better suited to the medium, creating true immersion for players. If virtual reality is the future of video gaming (and maybe even display technology altogether), could third-person gaming end with VR?
Maybe not. Playing a VR game in a third-person perspective is certainly a different experience, but it’s one that many players prefer over first-person. Third-person gaming allows players to see character customisation and animations rarely see in a first-person perspective.
In addition, there’s often a more cinematic quality to third-person games, with effects appearing on the screen that reflect what’s going on within the game environment.
Over the next few years, as VR becomes more established and gaming adapts to the medium, developers will likely continue to focus equally on third and first-person games.
It’s possible entirely new ways of experiencing virtual worlds will come about as a result, with hybrid perspective games a possibility.