Well-known VR studio shuts down after rocky PSVR 2 game launch


Well-known VR studio shuts down after rocky PSVR 2 game launch

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Firewall Ultra was one of the most hyped PSVR 2 games. And disappointed. Now the VR studio has announced its closure.

First Contact Entertainment is best known for the tactical shooter Firewall: Zero Hour, which was released exclusively for the first Playstation VR in 2018 and quickly gained a loyal following. The studio also developed the multiplayer shooter Solaris Offworld Combat, which apparently had a second installment in the works.

Like its predecessor, Firewall Ultra has been developed exclusively for Sony’s VR platform and has been hyped as one of the biggest upcoming PSVR 2 games through blog posts, trailers, and press events. But after its launch in August, the VR game failed to live up to the expectations, disappointing with an old-fashioned VR design, an unfair progression system, and a multitude of bugs.

A flood of patches apparently couldn’t save the VR game: just before Christmas, the studio announced its closure on social channels. CEO Hess Barber wrote on Facebook that the “lack of support for VR within the industry has eventually taken its toll”. It is currently unclear what will happen to Firewall Ultra.

The burden of a PSVR 2 exclusive

First Contact Entertainment had played an important role for Playstation VR and was therefore closely connected to Sony. A relationship that may have been damaged by the bad reception of Firewall Ultra.

At the moment, however, it is difficult to achieve success on Playstation VR 2 alone. Launched earlier this year, the VR headset is apparently struggling to get off the ground. Sony exec Eric Lempel recently said that the VR system is not Sony’s core proposition and described the headset as a “challenging category”. Meanwhile, Sony has repeatedly been accused of doing too little for its software lineup.

The success story of UK-based VR studio nDreams, another Sony VR protégé, proves that against all odds, things can turn out differently. Earlier this summer, the studio released Synapse, a PSVR 2 exclusive that received good reviews from gamers and the press. The studio went on to secure a major funding round of $110 million.

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