After an extremely well-received release for Sony’s Playstation VR, French developer Pixel Reef has just announced that they will be bringing their colorful surrealist VR title Paper Beast to PC Virtual Reality platforms.
This studio is headed by Éric Chahi, a game developer with a rather interesting career behind him, where since the massive success of his iconic adventure game Out of this World from 1991, he’s only ever worked on a handful of new games, with sometimes more than a decade between releases. Each new game he works on does something special and unique, whether that’s the fluid and physics simulation powering the tectonic shifting of From Dust, or the extremely detailed for the time animations from Heart of Darkness. This new game shifts into the realm of VR experiences and invites players to a world filled with magical papercraft creatures.
They describe this game as:
“An exploration and adventure game about wildlife sprung from the depths of the internet. An unknown power seems to upset its balance. Join forces with exotic creatures to unravel the mysteries of this universe.”
The big inspiration for the game was how real-world animals move and explore the world, and the goal was to create a convincing world full of magical creatures made out of many tiny pieces of paper. In order to animate in a convincing manner, whilst navigating an ever-changing environment, each creature in-game has a physics-based dynamic algorithmic animation system. This gives the creatures a real lifelike quality, as they move around in natural but not entirely predictable ways. It’s a really impressive accomplishment, that results in the different creatures in the game feeling like they are moving intelligently, and able to react to changes around them..
You can even interact directly with the creatures, playing with them as you pick them up and drop them. Or you can use the game’s rich physics simulation to use water, sand and even storms to interact with the world and creatures.
It’s a really unique title that doesn’t quite fit into any existing traditional genres of games, but it is a beautiful experience that might appeal to some players. It’s beautiful, it has a visual style unlike anything else I’ve played, and it’s a use of VR technology that does something that feels new and fresh. It does require a VR headset, there’s no option to play with a traditional screen, but it’s hard to imagine how exactly this game would translate to non-VR formats.
Paper Beast launches on PC some point this Summer, although a precise date has not been set yet. It’s going to be available on Steam, Oculus Store and Viveport, it will support the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift/Rift S, and Valve Index headsets, and it supports seated, standing and room-scale play setups. The Steam page is already live.