I’ve been keeping an eye on Valve’s new venture since it’s troubled launch a couple of weeks back. It’s an exciting take on the crowdsourcing concept, applied to gaming. Quite frankly, I can’t think of any company better placed to bring such a platform to the masses, either logistically (Steam duh!) or artistically (they freakin’ made Portal innit!).
And, not surprisingly, there’s an enormous amount of guff lining Greenlight’s pages but there’s also a surprising amount of potential Gems too. Furthermore, a fair few are claiming to offer Oculus Rift support on launch. One such title is Dream.
Dream claims to be a first person ‘experience’ title, taking inspiration from one of the most successful non-game-games ‘Dear Esther’. So, in other words, a narrative driven ‘interactive’ adventure with bags of atmosphere and player immersion. You may not have heard of Dream’s primary inspiration though, Yume Nikki, a community built RPG that seems to have quite a cult following.
Outside of that, details are a little skimpy at present, although the developers do promise multiple endings and a non-linear ‘holistically delivered’ narrative (which would fit with the aforementioned Dear Esther nod) and Rift support. The synopsis reads:
Dream is a first person atmospheric exploration game that has you assume the role of Howard Phillips, a young graduate with no direction in life who develops an obsession with his dreams. Discover dreams and nightmares filled with puzzles and secrets to help Howard find the meaning to his life.
The narrative is split into 3 acts with multiple endings that are possible based on how much you as a player have explored. Each act immerses you in new worlds that help to decipher Howards past, emotions and ambitions. Confront Howard’s mislaid concerns in the form of nightmares and reconcile the loss of his uncle.
Now, one of the reasons I’m so excited about this title is because I’m a huge fan of Dear Esther (although applying the term ‘fan’ seems to denigrate it’s memory somewhat), and although I played through said game in stereoscopic 3D, throughout it all I was trying to imagine just how incredible the experience would be through the Rift HMD. It’d be as if you’d been dropped directly into the visual narrative rather than observing via a monitor sized diorama. Dream’s trippy, surreal landscapes and engaging art design could well make for some intriguing out-of-body gameplay experiences once encompassing your entire field of view. Another example perhaps of a game which might possibly be a ‘hard sell’ experienced via traditional media, becoming a ”must see’ via the Rift.
For me, it’s one form of emergent interactive entertainment that could flourish now that effective VR is within our grasps at last. For that reason, I shall be following the progress of this title very closely indeed and, to keep myself amused, harassing the makers of Dear Esther for a special ‘Oculus Edition’.
You can catch more of Dream at their Steam Greenlight page here.