Until Dawn developer, Supermassive games is giving it another go when it comes to virtual reality games.
Pretty much no one cared about their earlier efforts this year (The Inpatient and Bravo Team), but now people are starting to pay attention because the company is doing what it does best – something weird and cool.
A game that UploadVR calls “experimental,” Shattered State looks like a return to form for the development house and offers a concept that is understandable but wild in practice. The game comes exclusively to Google’s Daydream VR platform and is a Hollywood thriller.
Simon Harris from Supermassive had this to say of the game: “This was an opportunity to take some of the learnings we got from The Inpatient in terms of VR storytelling, an opportunity to go into a new genre in terms of a political thriller, and the market’s very different…When we’re building stuff for PlayStation VR, the PlayStation VR consumer has certain expectations. With something like Daydream, because it’s much more about people trying VR for the first time, there’s experimenting with new experiences. There’s a lot of things that are less ‘gamey’ for that sort of audience, so it was that perfect match.”
Some are pointing out that Shattered State’s heavy emphasis on narrative comes at the expense of a semblance of gameplay. Playing out more like a visual novel than a VR game, Shattered State really leans on its story – thankfully it is up to the task. The premise is simple. It takes place in a newly formed country that could be facing a coup. It is your job to head this off and stay in power. Short – a little bit longer than a television episode – Shattered State is nonetheless gripping.
A member of the team on Shattered State that spoke with UploadVR added, “VR has a completely different storytelling experience; you are present but, in the case of Shattered State, you don’t have a voice…So rather than being a character, it’s more of a role that you fulfill. I think that was one of our big impulses, trying to find a really interesting role that a lot of people identify with.”.
Basically, the game is a distillation of the tension and narratives found in shows like 24 or Homeland. That might not be for everyone, but, then again, neither is every video game. What Shattered State is demonstrating with excellent clarity is the potential for VR to be both an interactive and storytelling medium on a new level.
Goss continued, “We’re looking for a new audience, all of our games try to look for a new audience…We learned so much from the engagement of Until Dawn and every game we’ve made since. We’ve not stepped away from the people who our games but we think this will bring us even closer to, hopefully, a new group of people. And they can teach us new things about what they want from an experience, how they want to experience it.”