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Posted November 8, 2016 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature
 
 

PAX AUS 2016: Kept Brings Surreal Adventure To VR


All three major VR headsets are finally available to the public, which means there were plenty of VR demos on the floor at PAX Australia this year for attendees. From huge companies like Sony and Origin, to indie developers in the PAX Rising area, there are a lot of interesting ideas being thrown around, including one game known as Kept, from S1T2. Their name stems from their ethos – Story 1st, Technology 2nd, although in this case the cool tech running Kept at PAX was room-scale VR on a HTC Vive with two controllers.

This is S1T2’s first foray into a completely independent game, based off their own creative concepts and ideas, as their background has been in developing games for corporate projects. Kept could be termed more as an ‘experience’ than a game, as it takes inspiration from point-and-click adventure games of the past and titles like Myst, but keeps its focus on taking players through an emotional journey, described as a ‘pilgrimage to say goodbye’.

kept2

The demo at PAX was quite short and simple – placing players in a small area in a twilit forest, without any real instructions on what to do. After looking around at the stones and tree that surround you, you can eventually provoke a swarm of fireflies, with your hands becoming a jar and cork to catch one. The firefly moves in and out of range pretty frequently, so you actually have to walk around the space provided to follow and catch it – it’s a small thing, but part of the appeal of room-scale VR is that it opens up the potential for experiences a little bit more. Once the firefly is caught, you actually get a bit of haptic feedback on your controllers as you tighten the cork in place, for added realism.

From there the realism gives way to some of the more surreal elements, as the stones surrounding you glow with mystic runes. By tapping each of them with your newly acquired firefly, you activate a trap door underneath you, filled with jars no doubt from previous ‘pilgrimages’, which you quickly fall into, ending the demo.

kept1

It’s a short but sweet look into the kinds of simple but meaningful interactions VR can provide – in this case, simply catching a firefly like a childhood memory. The full experience will be longer – although the game is still in development, the team is anticipating three chapters of around 25 minutes in length, providing players with opportunities to take a break in between. S1T2 are experimenting with open world elements, with a rowboat that will be in-game to navigate around the environment, but the focus remains on providing an engaging but open narrative that players can still follow.

The team is reaching the point where they have to decide what platforms to launch Kept on, as Oculus, HTC Vive and the recently-launched PSVR all come with their own advantages and drawbacks. At the moment, a mid-2017 release date is being targeted, so to follow the game’s progress – keep an eye on its official website.

 


Adam Ghiggino

 
Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.


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