The Legend of Zelda is one of my all-time favorite video game franchises but I never thought the formula would really work well in VR. The older titles have a top-down third-person view that didn’t seem compatible to me. However, I’ve been proven wrong.
Gunfire Games has been at the forefront of proving me wrong as their Herobound games and Chronos have made convincing cases for the genre. After we played Robot Rescue in PlayStation VR’s (PSVR) Playroom VR, we were hungry for more games in that style. Now Polyarc just announced today at Sony’s E3 2017 press conference that their new upcoming game, Moss, channels a lot of what makes those games great and is releasing it exclusively for PSVR.
However, Moss has some major differences. “Moss came from thinking about what VR is good at and it came from thinking about the first principles of what would make a good game,” explained Tam Armstrong in an interview, developer at Polyarc. “VR can transport you places and offers you the opportunity to physically interact with things. We wanted a rich environment with a strong sense of place and let you manipulate objects. It’s so much more powerful in VR. Things came from that like the scale in the world and having a small hero so that all the interaction felt comfortable.”
Gameplay in Moss is similar to The Legend of Zelda with a top-down camera angle and gamepad controls, but with more of a focus on exploration and puzzles rather than combat.
“One of our core principles is that we want as many people to be able to enjoy it as possible so we are leaning on exploration and puzzle solving because those are in particular the moments you can take the game at your own pace,” said Armstrong. “We’ve seen a wide variety of play time in the game based on how much someone wants to be there and explore and solve puzzles on their own. The combat is a way to add some fun punctuation to the design and using enemies to solve puzzles.”
While playing the DualShock 4 is actually used for a lot more than just controlling your character, too. You can actually interact with the game world since the DualShock 4 is entirely motion tracked with the PS Camera.
“Some of the fiction of our game dovetails into the game design so every scene in the game is a page from the story you’re reading so there’s a new challenge or puzzle to solve,” said Armstrong. “That’s where the game came from, thinking about those things.”