A Fisherman’s Tale was one of our favorite VR games from last year. It was charming, intriguing and featured some mind bending puzzles. This week, game designer Alex Morozn, who worked on the game at InnerspaceVR, shared a behind-the-scenes proof of concept video that goes through a very early version of A Fisherman’s Tale, demonstrating the key puzzle elements in their earliest form.
Fair warning: the following video contains major spoilers for A Fisherman’s Tale — not in the way of the story, but in that it will spoil almost every major puzzle and ‘a-ha’ moment in the game’s campaign. If you haven’t played the game already, this video will explain all of the game’s unique mechanics and we highly advise not watching if you have any interest in playing the game yourself.
The video shows a room that very vaguely resembles the first room at the bottom of the lighthouse from A Fisherman’s Tale, albeit with no art, color or true design. Instead of progressing through the areas of the lighthouse, this early prototype simply presents versions of the same room with new puzzle variations in each. To progress to the next puzzle, you have to locate an in-game VR headset and put it on, unlike the final game where you work your way through the lighthouse to get to the final lantern room at the top.
Perhaps what is most amazing is that all of the most unique and inventive puzzles from the final game are present in this early prototype, which was made some 3 years before the final release. What’s missing is any kind of narrative, artistic direction and style — the titular fisherman and his lighthouse are nowhere to be seen! Despite that, you can easily identify the final puzzles in this bare bones concept — the glass model variation became the game’s final lantern room section and riding the lady bug to grab the key became the section with the fish’s mouth.
In a way, highlighting that the puzzles were conceptualized so early on in development makes me appreciate everything else in A Fisherman’s Tale — the story, the animations, the art style. It’s all so lovingly crafted, and that becomes even easier to appreciate after seeing it striped down to just the puzzles themselves.