Technology

Firmament: Cyan World’s Next Leap Towards Virtual Reality

Firmament. Image: Trailer

Holding the record for the best-selling computer gaming company in the 20th century, Cyan Worlds has still got its distinctive edge.

Within the proliferation of socialised gaming, Cyan Worlds is battling to revitalise immersive and introspective gameplay. The worlds they create still invoke the same vibe as their original best-selling PC games Myst and Riven, which both held the best-selling title for more than 10 years until The Sims was released in 2002. And with each age came better graphics, more evocative sounds and wildly sci-fi storylines. Three years ago we had a new contender on the market called Obduction, for which the gaming community had high hopes it would create a spark in virtual reality (VR) gaming. But alas, virtual reality is still biding its time. That is until this new game comes along…

“A gasp for air… a release of chilled breath… the crackling sounds of melting ice.

You wake in a glacial cavern — perfused by blue. It’s crowded with metal pipes and adorned with curious, clockwork gears.

Echoing machinery resonates in your ears as a massive metal door opens before you…

As you enter a dark chamber, warm lights flicker to life, revealing a frigid, yet intimate stone interior, supported by riveted iron beams. In the middle of this room is an ancient table – a tea cup on one end and a frozen body slumped over the other. The corpse’s hands hold an exquisite clockwork device — held out like an offering.

You reach for the device, and suddenly… a small whir… a blue glow is birthed from its core as it comes to life and lifts from the outstretched palms of the rigid stranger. It hovers above you, watching.

An apparition appears with a message from the woman that left this gift. She planned to mentor you… 

…but something has gone terribly wrong.

An immense, unexpected adventure now lies ahead…”

– Cyan Worlds’ developers

While you can still feel the underlying power that has emulated itself in all of their previous games, there’s something a little different in this one. No doubt, fans of the Halo series will likely hold feelings of contempt towards the floating metal ball in the trailer, thanks to 343 Guilty Spark going bonkers in Halo: Combat Evolved, but aside from that, it’s a fresh take on all the experience that Cyan Worlds has collected over its 30 year reign. There’s also a uniqueness which encapsulates what many fans love about the series: the unknown. Every storyline that Cyan Worlds has created reads like a plotless narrative, where curiosity is the hook.

Firmament – That’s not creepy, right? Image: Trailer

Perhaps having a floating metal “clockwork adjunct” – as they call it – is a necessary ingredient for the internalised world of VR. Especially when you’re playing a game that doesn’t involve in-game socialising and where characters are as foreign as their odd terminology and weird requests. But the expected proliferation of VR requires more than socialising. As many Cyan Worlds fans would know, gaming does not necessarily need a socialising aspect to be successful. But it does need playability, and that seems to be where VR hasn’t quite made it. First, there is the poor versatility of VR, meaning that certain games will only work on specific VR devices, which really cuts down the selling point. And then there’s the fact that VR is not an easy platform from which to binge, like the television or computer screen. The immersive worlds can have players feeling disoriented after 20 minutes, which doesn’t sound all that fun. The downside about these factors is that Cyan Worlds, nor any other gaming developer, has much control on the device side of things, which means the success of Firmament in VR rests entirely on how well VR improves in the next few months. That being said, Firmament will be playable on computer and other gaming devices.

Firmament. Image: Trailer

Firmament. Image: Trailer

Firmament is Cyan Worlds’ hopeful answer to the budding world of VR, much like Obduction in 2016. And just like Obduction, this “deeply immersive narrative adventure game” needs funding to see itself into fruition. To help back this next leap into virtual reality, visit the Firmament Kickstarter Page.

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