Merchoid announces an official “4D candle” that adds another layer of immersion to the Resident Evil 7 VR experience by tapping into a player’s sense of smell.
Virtual reality is really hitting its stride, by providing new ways to experience video games with a level of immersion that can really mess with a player’s sense of what’s real or not. This is likely why horror games like Resident Evil 7 tend to be the peripheral’s bread and butter – they have the capacity to scare the pants off of someone in ways an ordinary 2D experience cannot.
Enter Merchoid, who wants to step up the immersion a bit by reintroducing an old technique made popular by good ole smell-o-vision back in the 60s. The video game merchandise retailer has created a Resident Evil 7 “4D” candle, which is meant to be paired with the game’s PlayStation VR version to add another sense to the experience.
The Blood, Sweat, and Fears 4D Candle was made exclusively for the much anticipated Resident Evil 7 and is meant to simulate the smells of the Baker Family home, which is the setting of the game. According to Merchoid, their house smells of “foisty, old timber and blood,” which shouldn’t come as a surprise given their basement is a slaughterhouse.
The scent is grim, and doesn’t add much to the candle’s versatility outside of the intended experience. No one will want to light it up for a social gathering or to add ambiance to their abode – unless blood is their idea of homey.
So, what would smell add to the game that a VR headset won’t? VG247 reports that Merchoid’s community manager, Jessica Adams, has some insight into that.
The virtual reality experience is incredible, but we want to take you one step further than that. While playing the game, imagine if you could smell everything you could see and hear.
The game becomes incredibly immersive as it tricks all your senses into thinking that you’re really there.
Most gamers will agree that they wouldn’t want to smell everything they see and hear in the twisted home of the Bakers. However, the small, muted sampling provided by the candle should suffice.
Merchoid has stated that the candle will burn for up to 20 hours, which could last through a good chunk of the game. At $16 a pop, that’s encouraging. While the website initially had the item available for pre-order, at the time of this writing its information page has since been removed, though its unclear why. Shipping was stated to begin on January 20, just a few short days before Resident Evil 7 releases.
Whether or not the candle will really add anything to the overall experience is debatable – the series’ shift to first-person perspective does a lot for immersion already – but a person’s sense of smell is awfully powerful. It might augment the game in a positive way that players might not expect. Here’s to the future of smell-o-vision.
Resident Evil 7 will be available on January 24 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, and Xbox One.