Fated: Release Window And Game Demo Availability
Fated: Release Window And Game Demo Availability
Taking a look at Fated, the narrative driven adventure title for Virtual Reality
It is often difficult to precisely articulate the true sense of immersion that can be captivated from a satisfying, virtual reality experience and Fated, the compelling narrative based VR title from the 12 strong team at Frima studios, is most definitely no exception to this rule. We recently had a chance to check out a short demo of Fated, as the guys at Frima were kind enough to send us one over, and it has to be said that this is a wonderful example of what virtual reality looks like when it is done well. The art style employed in the game serves well to effectively deliver the user in to a wonderful and magical world. The vibrant textures and detailed NPC’s characterize this environment in a way that makes you feel immediately absorbed in Norse Land. When speaking about influences for the games art in a recent interview with VRRelated, Vincent Martel, Executive Producer at Frima Studios, told us
“We tried different things during pre-production and decided to go for a more stylized art style. First, it looks great in VR and it really helps with keeping the FPS high and to reduce the uncanny valley effect.” Vincent also went on to say that “The Witness, Brothers: A Tale of two sons, Fable were some of the games that inspired us.“
So what is Fated? and what makes it such a good experience? Firstly its important to give a bit of context to the mentality of the team behind the development of the game. The guys at Frima devote a lot of time and effort to experimenting with ways to overcome nausea and motion sickness in VR. Some of their discoveries have been documented and shared over at the Fated blog. With interesting articles detailing the teams trials and tribulations, and sharing lessons they have learnt along the way. In an introduction to one of these pieces, Philippe Dionne, Games Designer at Frima explains that “As we were looking for the cause of the sickness, we found that it was mainly caused by the inner ear and the eye sending different messages to the brain at the same time.” adding, “By following a few basic rules, your level design can make a big difference on your game’s level of comfort.” –source
While It could be said that most developers in the VR field are currently striving toward the same goal, I have seen few examples, thus far, where these ideas are as immediately apparent. The focus, that the team behind Fated, have put into developing a virtual reality experience that is not only exciting and immersive, but comfortable and user friendly at the same time, is something that definitely comes across in what we have seen. As an individual that is extremely susceptible to motion sickness, in real life and VR, I feel that I am always a good gauge for testing such things. With that being said, Fated really hits the nail on the head for me when it comes to delivering a smooth, unhindered experience. Especially given the fact that it amalgamates itself in a first person style.
One of the key USP’s of VR, so to speak, is its ability to create a feeling of empathy in the user. This is an idea that is resonated in most facets of the development community in the VR field, and is touched on by Chris Milk, creator of the 360 VR Documentary about a family of Syrian Refugee’s, in this TED talk about the subject.
One of the interesting things about Fated, is how this idea has been used to reinforce the narrative of the game. To interact with NPC’s in Fated, you are required to use head movements, shaking your head for no, and nodding your head for yes. Pretty straight forward stuff in terms of human communication. However, simply adding this rudimental platform for interactive dialogue between the player, and the inhabitants of the virtual world, creates a much deeper connection between player and game. I’ll try and give a brief synopsis of the demo we played, without giving away any spoilers, to try and give this some context.
You start the demo on a horse drawn cart, with passengers on board. Your character begins at the head of the cart with his hands on the horses reigns. As you travel up a winding mountain pass you are slowly introduced to the NPC’s that are accompanying you on your journey. You are presented with the character of a small girl, that is introduced as your daughter. The dialogue is used cleverly to give context to the lack of vocal communications available to the player. You get to the end of this short dialogue, however, and even though the art style isn’t centered around hyper realism, you feel like you are right there along side the other characters. You continue on up the mountain, basking in the tranquility of Norse, until a significant event begins to unfold. At which point, the pace of the game changes, and the rapport that you built with the NPC’s earlier in the journey suddenly kicks in. All of sudden, you find yourself with a feeling that resembles an emotional obligation, which ushers you to protect the passengers onboard your horse drawn cart. This is a testament to the empathy machine that is Virtual Reality, driven in this case, by the vehicle that is Fated.
Fated Release Window and Demo Availability
Fated will be released in Q1 2016, and will be available on PlaystationVR, HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift. There will alsobe a demo that will be made available to the public in early 2016, so there’s not to much longer to wait. We also asked Vincent, in our recent catch up, how many episodes we should expect when Fated is released, and he told us that “we have two episodes planned for this first ‘opus'”, and the episodes will be between 45mins/1hour long. When discussing future content for the game Vincent explained that “we also want to explore other characters within Fated’s universe. For example, I would really like to be able to re-live a scene from a previous episode, but with the eye of another character.” Which gives the feeling that the possibilities are endless in terms of gameplay and narrative, and we cant wait to see more from these developers. Vincent also went on to say “The norse mythology is so vast and inspiring, there’s so much cool stuff I would like to experience in VR.” We are definitely right beside him on that point. Frima studios are unable to announce a price point for the game at this time, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are already sold on the idea.
We look forward to bringing you more news and updates about Fated and the Frima Studios team. Meanwhile check out this slideshow of still’s from the game, and head over to this link to find out more about Fated’s amazing soundtrack.