First debuted at Sundance 2019, Emergence is a short VR experience from indie studio Universal Everything that, with its unique crowd simulation, raises some interesting questions about life, society and how we connect to it all. You can now download the experience on Steam for free.
If you don’t take a few minutes to soak in Emergence, you might easily dismiss it as a quick, weird little piece about a glowing man that runs around an eerily barren wasteland, surrounded by shambolic hordes of people. It is that, but also a bit more.
Emergence serves up a short but pregnant message about how we’re the protagonists of our own stories. Like the little third-person golden avatar, sometimes people flock to you, run from you, mimick you, and even huddle together in undulating tribes, leaving you on the outside looking in. Sometimes you’re the objecct of red hot hatred and no one wants to touch you. Sometimes you only percieve those immediately around you, leaving everyone else on the planet to fade away to the literal size of ants.
Check out the promo below to soak up a bit of Emergence’s infectious, stylish weirdness.
Universal Everything says its about “visualising patterns of human behaviour and exploring the individual and the collective,” and that it was programmed to simulate intelligent behaviours whilst creating mesmerising patterns.
Although there’s no true goal or defined endpoint—it’s an art piece after all—it’s a nice reminder in a socially distanced world that we’re both individuals and a collective, even if we may lose sight of that little paradox every once in a while.
You can download Emergence for free via Steam, which of course supports your standard selection of SteamVR-compatible headsets.