WipEout HD Causing Seizures?

Last week we reported that as far as we could tell, Wipeout HD was still on track. Shortly after that, though, this appeared on Eurogamer, with David Reeves explaining that the reason we’ve not got a firm release date is that “there is a specific technical problem with WipEout that we have to solve” and that the problem is “a really, really tricky technical problem that no region has been able to solve at the moment.”

There has been much speculation over the last week about just what it is that’s causing the delay and lack of updates from Sony, from theories that the game isn’t making it’s 60fps target to problems with netcode. We’re not privy to the real reasons by any stretch, but every time we’ve seen the game it’s been as smooth as silk, so we’re fairly confident that the PS3 is more than up to the job and we have every faith in Sony Liverpool.

However, one possible explanation for the silence is that the game’s blisteringly fast 60 frames a second refresh rate coupled with the strobing background scenery and constant bobbing of the craft is causing electrical disturbances in people suffering from epilepsy. Certainly games of this ilk have been known to cause motion sickness, but the high-tec imagery used in WipEout HD and the flashing lights might well be adding up to more serious issues, and does go some way to back up what Reeves said last week.

Sony have been in touch with us on this, although we didn’t quite get the answer we were wanting. “WipEout HD is still in development for PSN and we are currently perfecting many aspects of the game, including the online multiplayer experience,” said a spokesperson. “We look forward to unveiling all 8 tracks in the single player game, plus the online multiplayer experience, which allows for up to 8 players on each track, along with all the other game modes.”

We’ve spoken to one expert on the subject of seizures who assures us flashing lights are fairly low down the list of triggers for epilepsy patients, but naturally if this is indeed a contributing factor to the game’s delay, we’re sure the developers are doing everything they can to reduce the problem. We’re hoping for more on WipEout HD soon, so stay tuned to TheSixthAxis.

Update: nice of C&VG to run a ‘similar’ story, eh?