After many attempts and false starts, virtual reality is now a real thing that we all, assuming we can afford it, can experience. This may have all been a terrible idea. Ubisoft has announced a new VR peripheral which will allow you to smell your game. More specifically, it will allow you to smell farts while playing South Park: The Fractured but Whole. We've double checked the calendar, it's not April 1st. As far as we can tell, this thing is real.
At first glance, we assumed this Ubisoft product was some sort of promotional joke, but that really doesn't appear to be the case. The Nosulus Rift appears to be an actual device that you strap to your nose in order to smell the gas that your player character will be letting off in the upcoming South Park title. Apparently, farting is the character's primary ability, and as such, you'll be able to truly experience the...um...power, of those farts via this device while you play the game. According to Ubisoft Senior Producer Jason Schroeder:
In South Park: The Fractured but Whole you are playing the new kid in town, the hero, and one of your special abilities is really the power of your ass. The only way to really help people experience that strength, is to really make sure that they can feel it and that means getting really close.
I'm seriously looking for evidence that this is a joke, but I'm not locating it. IGN says they have a demo planned at Gamescom in Germany which is coming up next week. A press release from Ubisoft says the Nosulus Rift will also be available to demo at PAX West on Labor Day Weekend. I'll be there for Cinema Blend, so, if I can work up the nerve, I guess I'll check it out.
For their part, Ubisoft at least understands how ridiculous this thing sounds. The promotional video is done far too seriously to not be funny.
It's happened. We've officially taken virtual reality too far. Being able to see, and even, to some extent, touch things in virtual space, is all well and good, but this is just wrong in so many ways. Scent is actually one of the human bodies' strongest senses. Studies have shown that smells can trigger memories better than any other sense. This is not a thing we ever need to remember. Ever.
Is this the greatest achievement in the history of man or proof of the impending downfall of civilization? Cast your vote in the comments below. No price points or release date were announced for the Nosulus Rift, but we assume it will launch alongside South Park: The Fractured but Whole on December 6.