Fun omen aFu nome na’ ss new fairytale is a therapeutic place to play
Funomena’s VR fairytale Luna is a therapeutic place to play
Despite its charming jewel tones and tiny feathered protagonist, Luna has quite a painful premise. “It’s a game about mistakes,” Funomena CEO
Robin Hunicke tells us of her new VR adventure, which is due later this year for PC and Rift. “In our cultures, a lot of the dialogue about mistakes comes in the form of shaming or blaming oneself, or others, for having done what humans do – which is try things and fail.”
Luna aims to challenge that. The story starts with Bird, who is tricked by wily Owl into swallowing the last piece of a waning Moon and upsetting the balance of nature. The rest involves putting the pieces back together: reassembling constellations, arranging terrarium-style levels and helping fellow animals who have also been fooled.
Physical interaction using Oculus Touch is designed to be therapeutic, down to the softened appearance of Bird’s firstperson talons. Tracing environmental elements produces wonderful shivers of sound, scored by Journey composer Austin Wintory. It’s a memorial score, we’re told – Wintory’s father passed away shortly before the beginning of the project.
Luna not only offers a portrayal of emotional turmoil, but also a way to physically engage with and work through it – whether the trauma is fictional or personal. Like Wintory, Hunicke has recently lost a father figure, and Luna is a reaction to her grief. “As you get older, you see the same kinds of pain over and over in people’s lives,” she says. “It makes you want to build things that help.”