Grave, by developer Tristan Parish Moore, asks its players to survive a hostile, desert environment teaming with creatures armed with nothing but light. It’s a surrealist twist on a familiar format and it ships with Oculus Rift support.
Update: Tristan Moore shares his thoughts on VR and it’s importance to gaming below.
Alone With No Weapons
Grave is an open-world horror with surrealist aesthetic and a stark approach to the survival horror gameplay mechanics. Where most games occupying the genre are content to throw weaponry into the world to assist in your attempts to stay alive, Grave supplies just a selection of tools. And, as if the setting and gameplay weren’t terrifying enough, Grave promises Oculus Rift support should its Kickstarter campaign hit its target of $30k successfully.
The gameworld begins initially as large, open expanses of beautiful and lonely desert, but the game promises to take every opportunity to defy your expectations by throwing up unexpected towns, city sections all of which really should be where you find them. Between this original approach to production design and the stark gameplay choices, Grave looks and plays like something out of the ordinary. Full day / night cycles mean you must hunt for provisions and makeshift weaponry during the day and plan your defence carefully at night, when eerie screams ring out signifying the approach of .. who knows what.
In a similar vein to Remedy’s Flawed classic Alan Wake, Grave’s enemies are vulnerable only to light. Therefore, your cobbled together arsenal consists largely of objects that burn or shine. Most objects have multiple uses or modes, the flashlight for example can be used to cast a pool of illumination or a focussed beam to inflict more damage on your spooky aggressors. Petrol and matches also provide a satisfying way to establish perimeters and surprise your enemies.
We asked Tristan to share his thoughts on the advent of VR, where it’s leading and why it’s important for Grave.
We feel that virtual reality does two really important things, that are going to be extremely valuable as we move forward into digital entertainment in the 21st century.The first, is that VR achieves the primary goal of a first person experience in gaming. We feel strongly that VR isn’t an “add-on” to first person games; it’s the realization of them as what they are truly meant to be. While certain elements like UI need to be altered to fit well with VR (such as UI), I can’t think of single first person experience that wouldn’t be enhanced in VR. It’s a logical extension and a really valuable one.The second thing that VR does is that it allows a whole new group of people to see the value in an experience that to them was previously alienating. VR is still early in its development, but we have shown Grave and the Oculus to hundreds of non-gamers at events over the past year, and it’s staggering how excited they are by the idea of virtual reality. The fact is that not everyone understands sitting in front a of a TV holding a game controller and shooting at enemies. A much larger portion of society can understand the value of moving through a simulated virtual space. Not only does that bring new people into gaming, but it opens up avenues for new concepts of interaction and experience.If you would like a comment in regards to the Facebook buy-out of Oculus, we feel it’s a move in the right direction. Although we can’t say for sure what Facebook plans for Oculus, we know that they have expressed their interest i using it as a social device, not just a gaming device. To us, one of the reasons mobile games became so prolific is that people were interested in buy smartphones for non-gaming reasons. However, once you have a device that you use often, it’s only natural to explore games on it. If Facebook can manage to build a market for non-gaming applications with Oculus, it could mean spreading immersive gaming to people who never even would have considered it.
Grave does show real promise and we’re looking forward to spending time in this dynamic, terrifying world – as bizarre as that might sound.