Scanner Sombre is coming to VR

The latest game from Prison Architect's developer will be playable on both Oculus Rift and Vive in about six weeks.

Introversion Software surprised us recently by releasing its first-person adventure Scanner Sombre just a few days after announcing its existence, an interesting move considering Introversion's last game, Prison Architect, spent about six years in Early Access. Now comes the news that Scanner Sombre will soon be available to play in VR, which Introversion's co-founder, Mark Morris, didn't formally announce but simply mentioned to me during a conversation at PDXCon this week in Stockholm, Sweden.

The news arrived when I asked Morris and fellow co-founder Chris Delay if they were still experimenting with VR, since the developers had expressed excitement about VR on our podcast in 2015 and released Defcon VR back in February of this year. While Morris is definitely a fan of VR technology, he also admits it's still a bit of a niche market.

"I think about seven people downloaded [Defcon VR]," Morris told me. "That's the reality of VR. So, we're not doing exclusive VR games, I think that would be just nuts at the moment."

Hence Introversion's decision to release Scanner Sombre for PC first, and hold off on making it a VR compatible game until later.

"We deliberately didn't want people thinking Scanner Sombre is a VR game and then not buying it thinking 'I've got to have a headset.' It's a PC game, but if you happen to have a headset you'll be able to play Scanner [in VR]."

It seems like a good strategy: I don't own a VR headset, and so when browsing games on Steam I pretty much ignore  anything labeled as a VR game. Even if a game says it can be played both with or without a headset, if it's made for VR I usually assume that's the optimal way to play it. And so I don't play it.

As for when it's coming, it won't be long, as Introversion plans to have the game VR-ready in approximately six weeks. It'll be compatible with both Oculus Rift and Vive. I expect Tom will certainly be happy to play it again in VR, as he called Scanner Sombre "tense and captivating" in his review.