E3 2017 Game Preview:
Moss for Playstation VR
At this year’s Sony E3 press conference, the debut of the VR-adventure game Moss from Polyarc served as a calm intermediary amidst the whirlwind of violent and intense gameplay demos which were on display. Featuring lush locales, elements of storybook fantasy and classic action-adventure gaming mechanics, Moss is built from the ground-up for Playstation VR and is attempting to tread some unique ground in the up-and-coming VR genre.
Moss follows the adventures of a young mouse named Quill, whom the player befriends upon being transported into a fantasy world during the opening scene of the game. Quill has come to inhabit this world as a result of finding a mysterious stone in the woods and, through magic, becoming linked with the player. Together they will help each other in navigating obstacles and discovering the hidden secrets which characterize this strange world they have discovered.
The game is unique from a VR perspective in that it takes place in third-person, with Quill and the player existing as separate characters. Typically, the immersion factor provided by VR is manifested through first-person gameplay, with the player acting as a character who is physically present in the world, but Moss is presented in such a way that players are simply viewing and following Quill as she moves around. This means that players don’t have to constantly turn their heads to view their surroundings, allowing for an overall more conformable experience.
The player’s character is manifested as a magical blue orb which tracks Quill and has the ability to interact with certain parts of the environment. Common adventure elements which players can expect to encounter include puzzle solving and environment manipulation via the Playstation gamepad in order for Quill to reach her next objective. Combat will also be present in some capacity, although based upon impressions from those who tried the game at E3, it will be secondary to the core exploration mechanics. The overall aim and what the developers hope to convey from Moss is the formation of a special bond between the player and Quill as they navigate this strange new world together in an adventure that will supposedly take around three hours to complete.
“In gameplay, [Quill’s] skills are complementary to yours,” said Polyarc co-founder Tam Armstrong in the game’s official press release. “You’ll guide her actions through familiar action-adventure controls, while also directly manipulating the field of play as your own character. Mutual communication and shared victories will only strengthen your connection to each other and further your joint resolve.”
Moss will be released for Playstation VR later this year. Polyarc has said that the Moss universe is potentially expandable and that more releases could happen in the future. They are also considering options to bring it to other VR platforms which could be announced at a later date.
Casey Hawkins is a senior religious studies major at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.