Odd Bug Studio’s debut title The Lost Bear arrives exclusively on PlayStation VR this month. Described as a “2D cinematic platformer”, the player controls Walnut, a young girl who sets out to save her teddy bear from the Toy Snatcher
It’s a curious move to bring a ‘flat’ side-scrolling platforming game to VR, a medium which excels at first-person immersion, but we’ve definitely seen exceptions to that rule. In The Lost Bear players will see the game action on a sort of stage in front of them, and experience the story inside of a 3D diorama which changes to match what’s going on in the game. Using the motion-tracked PS4 controller, players will be able to interact in a number of different ways with the 2D game before them (more about that below).
Daniel Robinson, Game Director at Odd Bug Studio, posted an entry on the official PlayStation Blog to confirm the news of the game’s forthcoming release and to offer a few details about the title, which began as a side project while Robinson and two friends were students at Norwich University of the Arts. Robinson explains that the story was inspired by his little sister’s antics and bravery, who “always wandered off to the woodlands with her teddy bear by her side”.
Despite the game’s lengthy gestation period, The Lost Bear was only officially revealed on July 10th, following a six-month partnership with publisher Fabrik Games. The announcement trailer (above) showcases the ‘Eastern European puppet show’-styled environment, which evolves to the reflect the story, the charming, hand-drawn art, and some of the platforming mechanics. Towards the end of the trailer, Walnut is chased by one the Snatcher’s hounds, in a scene reminiscent of Playdead’s Limbo and Inside platformers. Robinson cites these games as inspiration, alongside classic franchise Oddworld, in this interview with PS4Blog.net.
The Odd Bug team’s recent ‘AMA’ on Reddit revealed a few more details, including the game’s European pricing (€10) and its estimated length of “just over an hour,” with lead designer Jack Bennett explaining that they aimed for “a shorter polished experience.” Their second project, another 2D adventure, will be longer. They also confirmed that The Lost Bear will support PS4 Pro, providing a “higher framerate and better resolution”.
Sensibly, the basic platforming is controlled by the Dualshock 4 gamepad inputs, but also uses its motion tracking technology (and the PSVR headset tracking) for certain gameplay elements. “We wanted to create mechanics that didn’t intrude on Walnut’s story, but would give the player control of the 2D environment using the 3D space,” says Robinson.
Some of the mechanics are shown in this additional footage (above) released by Fabrik Games, with more to be revealed soon.