Polyarc’s debut adventure lends VR a different perspective
Leaving a hugely successful studio to work on a whole new medium may be the definition of leaving one’s comfort zone, yet for the former Bungie staff who founded Polyarc, comfort remains the cornerstone of the studio’s debut VR title Moss.
“That really formed the art style,” Polyarc art director Chris Alderson tells us. “You’ll notice when you’re in the game’s lush forest environments – it’s very open, and the colours are very warm.” That’s accentuated by the adorable rodent protagonist Quill, who we first hear from the rustle of foliage before she pokes out from the trees and notices our interloping presence. Unintimidated, she approaches and offers a friendly welcome. “It’s all to make you feel good and invited.”
A puzzle adventure may seem a departure for a team whose past credits include Halo 3: ODST, Halo: Reach and Destiny, but Moss was born of more than just a desire to start afresh. “When we decided to take the plunge into VR, we asked ourselves, ‘What makes a good VR game?’” Danny Bulla, design director, explains. “We quickly came to the idea of interacting within this space in front of you physically, and with a character that can react to you. Quick-paced action [in VR], even for us, would make us feel uncomfortable when we’re playing. It’s not enjoyable.”
Old LucasArts adventure games were an inspiration for the team when designing
Moss’ screen-to-screen traversal system
ABOVE Combat is fairly rudimentary, with a quickdodge available when pressing jump right after an attack, though the ability to physically get involved adds an extra dimension