'Sparc:' A Quick History of PlayStation VR's Next Sports Game

The game will be released on August 29th

Ahead of its release tomorrow, developer CCP Games has delivered a short history of its upcoming virtual reality sports game Sparc.

Sparc is a 1v1 sports game, pitting its competitors at opposite ends of a virtual reality court. Each player has both a ball and a shield of sorts to deflect incoming objects. The object is to get your ball in the goal behind your competitor, all the while stopping your opponent from doing the same thing.

The game was conceived by the VR Labs at CCP Games, known for the popular space flight simulator Eve Online. Sparc came about after the team was tasked with trying to conceive of an interactive multiplayer experience in the then-upcoming VR landscape.

"In our early days, we were working with a Frankenstein’s monster of hardware, hacked together with code, extension cables, and many rolls of gaffer’s tape," Morgan Godat, executive producer of CCP Games Atlanta, said in a post on the PlayStation Blog. "We created a VR prototypes for spinning virtual EVE ships, kicking over stacks of blocks, and throwing fireballs at targets. From that early exploration, we knew we wanted to make an experience centered around player-to-player interaction in virtual space. And when we put two players in the same virtual room and let them throw stuff at each other, it got really interesting."

The team ended up coming with a playable prototype called Project Arena. When it took it to CCP's annual Fanfest, an Eve-focused event held every year in Reykjavik, Iceland, the team noticed interest. Not only that, they noticed attendees lining up multiple times to play the game over and over. This, in part, influenced CCP to make Project Arena a full-fledged product.

"We liked the social dynamics of a 1v1 sport, but instead of translating a real-world sport into a VR version, we decided to try to make a sport for VR, a virtual sport, one only possible in a virtual world," Godat continued. "While we’ve tried to have some fun and funky character customization options, your avatar in the game is meant to be a representation of you, not some fictional character. We think of your VR gear as your sports equipment, just like you’d need a tennis racquet or a baseball glove. If you get tired from playing a particularly intense game, we have 'Courtside,' where you can take a step back and just watch others play for a bit while you recharge."

Sparc will be released tomorrow, August 29th, exclusively for the PlayStation VR, which recently got a $50 price cut