Blue moon

Fun omen aFu nome na’ ss new fairy­tale is a ther­a­peu­tic place to play

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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.”

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