'Star Wars: Battlefront II' VR Almost Had Flight Stick Controls

Developer is very open to new VR games, maybe even X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter

The team behind Star Wars: Battlefront II’s virtual reality experiences says that creating Battlefront’s Rogue One X-Wing VR mission also created a lot of interest in the VR technology in the studio.

But that doesn’t mean that the team is going to be recreating one of the most anticipated Star Wars-themed space combat games anytime soon.

After a GDC panel discussion the process of creating the X-Wing mission and some of the tricks used to make it less nauseating and more fun, someone in the audience asked a question that’s on a lot of people’s minds: Do the Criterion Games developers think they might make a X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter in VR?

“There is a huge pass for creating VR in the studio,” said Criterion Games’ Kieran Crimmins. “We finished Battlefront II, but we also have three other projects going on at the studio. Are we going to do more VR in the future? I’m certain we are. But it’s not something we’re working on right now.”

Another audience member asked if the team had thought about creating a way to use a real-world flight stick controller in the game’s cockpit.

“Absolutely,” said Criterion Games' Mark Bridges. “We found sitting in the same position created a greater resonance, so any thing that added to that was considered. At one point we tried using the controller on its side and using the six axis. But the other priority was accessibility and making it possible for for people to pick up and play this game. We assumed most people were coming from the main game and the controls had to be translated from that game, so you weren’t learning a new set of controls to play.”

Other things the team did while working on the VR game was quickly reworking the AI for enemies.

In the reworked AI, the enemies would fly head-on toward players for new misses, making it feel like the player was the one sort of threading the needle. They would also sit out in front of players like fish in a barell.

“When you did shoot one down and the conditions were right,” Bridges said, “we tried to make it spiral longer and toward you to deliver those epic moments.”