Its great to see skilled game designers and developers exploring the different avenues of virtual reality. With the immersive nature of VR, people can exercise their empathy skill much more fluently, simply because we will be apart of the world, rather than looking at it through a distant screen, like the TVs most of us are accustomed to. VR undoubtedly provokes much more stronger emotions and interactions that no other media interface can do.
With this said, I want to point out a creative community of developers that go by the name of Funomena. The studio was founded by Robin Hunicke and Martin Middleton, with the goal of creating games that will have an positive impact on the world. Both met at TheGameCompany working on award winning PlayStation game, “Journey.” During this time, they got to learn each others values in life, work and having fun. After some time apart, they rejoined back in 2013 to start Funomena.
Since then, they have acquired other like-minded digital artists and programmers, as well as built a portfolio exploring virtual and augmented reality. One game to mention within their portfolio is “Woorld.” This unique game, is an AR experience built with Google’s Tango Technology. Within a sandbox-style setting, you can create your own colorful woorld by placing virtual objects and creatures on your own floor or tabletop. It also encourages friends and family members to exercise their own imagination for a shared experience.
If your looking for a virtual reality game with an compelling storyline, then “Luna” will definitely pique your interest. Luna puts you in a fantastical origami-like storybook, which follows the adventures of Bird, who is trying to find their way back home. After being tricked into eating the waning moon, young Bird gets blown away from the safety of it’s nest by a great storm.
With no recollection of a way to get back home, Bird must look to the stars to recover back memories lost. Bird must also travel out into the forest and interact with other animals. Through this, totems can be collected, which can be pieced together to re-ignite the beauty lost from the world, as well as discover the hidden fable of Bird’s daunting journey.
As explained by Funomena, “Luna is designed to be a highly tactile experience – combining aspects of gestural motion, imaginative play, creative exploration and musical improvisation.” They also had a strong focus towards people who are new to VR, by creating a unique comfortable and entertaining game that’ll appeal to a broader audience. With this, they’ve incorporated an interactive musical score, credited to Antoy Wintory, which slowly comes together as you build up the totem.
Luna has been showcased at PAX 2016 and they’re hard at work to make sure the game fulfills it’s true potential as an unique VR experience. Definitely look out for it when it becomes ready for your headset. Overall, Funomena is on the right track when it comes to being a leader in VR experiences and leveraging VR’s immersive nature to appeal to a wider audience through an emotional connection. You can keep up-to-date with Funomena on their blog or via Twitter @Funomena.
Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts on Funomena’s Luna with a comment below:)