Every once in a while a developer comes along who tries to give gamers a different flavor to their experience. When sandbox games first hit the scene it completely changed the way a user envisioned the world they were immersing themselves in, shifting focus from linear checkpoint play to discovery. Though open world environments often give players a more complete sense of being a part of a story through the inclusion of choice, there is always an endgame. You can spend as many hours as you wish wandering the streets of massively detailed cities, but it won’t change the fact that the main quest missions are always waiting on you. So when a game hits the scene with intent to feed my wanderlust and roam aimlessly for hours on end, I can’t help but pine for the finished product. Following in the footsteps of Journey and Dear Esther, budding developer HyperSloth hopes to remind us once again that sometimes it isn’t the destination that is most rewarding. Check out the Kickstarter video for this endeavor into the transcendental world of lucid dreaming via the title simply called Dream:
It’s clear; Dream has big ambitions. The video opens with three radically different, yet equally beautiful environments that are all wonderfully detailed. You can cut the anxiety with a knife during the labyrinth segment as the camera tilts and a miasma leaps out towards the player. There is no shortage here of artistic brilliance either. The contrast between the outdated technology against a post-global warming tundra in the subsequent footage is more than a promising glimpse to what imaginative scenery we’ll be stumbling upon.
HyperSloth also aims to deliver a holistic narrative to further deepen the feeling of immersion. There is no set order in which players are required to explore. Any one of these levels can be played in any sequence, and dreams may be replayed on a whim. Secrets will be dotted amongst the levels and there are plans for a plethora of collectables that players can gather to contribute to the story, though the developers are saying that none of these are necessary. In fact, theoretically, a player can reach a version of the ending and miss entire levels. Each ending will be based on the experience of the player, rather than the pre-scripted choices we see in most open world games. Just looking around a little less or a little more could alter the final chapter.
The focus here isn’t objective or competitive, but just for players simply to lose themselves, and with boasts of Oculus Rift support at launch, I look forward to doing just that. Head on over to their Kickstarter page for more information. And if you’re as intrigued as I am, show their wallets some love.