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Cult Classic Space Channel 5 Is Getting The VR Treatment

Ulala, ready to dance in Space Channel 5.

With Tokyo Game Show right around the corner, announcements have already started to trickle out for new game releases. For instance, Space Channel 5 VR is coming to PlayStation VR! Now for the real question: will it launch outside of Japan?

Tokyo Game Show might not kick off until Sept. 20, but Sony hosted a pre-show event last night to get the hype train rolling early. Yesterday was also the 19th birthday for the Sega Dreamcast, making this Space Channel 5 news perfectly timed.

Reporting from the event, Game Informer picked up on this announcement that the VR edition of one of the earlier rhythm games is heading to the PlayStation VR. It turns out Space Channel 5 VR has actually already been available in Japanese arcades for a while now, with the game planned to arrive on PC-based VR headsets at an undetermined point in the future. Last night's announcement confirms that the game will also be heading to the PlayStation VR, so color us surprised that the leading VR platform wasn't part of the launch plan from the very beginning.

As for Space Channel 5, it launched on the Dreamcast just three months after the console arrived in 1999, making it an early and beloved hit alongside other games heavily influenced by music like Jet Set Radio and Samba de Amigo.

In Space Channel 5, players take on the role of journalist Ulala in a future where television networks are battling for ratings. When aliens invade and force innocent bystanders to dance, Ulala uses her super-sweet moves to defeat them. In the Dreamcast version of the original game, players pressed specified buttons to the beat of the music. That formula has been transferred over to the VR version, where movements by the player are necessary to complete the various songs. It's one of those VR conversions that makes a lot of sense, since the game's button prompts typically had the player stepping to the left or right, ducking or shooting the invading aliens with, I don't know, space-dance-magic or something.

We're sure the announcement that the game is now heading to PSVR will excite plenty of Japanese fans, but we're still curious if Sega will be bringing the dance-a-thon to the West as well. I figure a lot of folks have fond memories of Ulala, especially since the game grew popular enough to make the jump to other platforms when the Dreamcast died its premature death. The game and its sequel were also later ported to services like Xbox Arcade and Steam.

Given Japan's love for PSVR, we're curious to see if even more virtual reality games will be announced for the device before or during Tokyo Game Show. The platform isn't receiving much promotion from Sony here in the U.S., even though games (and some pretty big ones, at that) are launching for it constantly.

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.