Moss: Book II, a direct sequel to the lauded original, was finally announced earlier this month. And it hopes to answer what was perhaps the original game’s biggest problem: it was too short! In an interview with the game’s Design Director, Josh Stiksma, we learned that, this time around, the second ‘book’ in the series is set to be thicker indeed.

Polyarc’s Josh Stiksma spoke recently to Road to VR about the anticipated Moss: Book II, which doesn’t have a confirmed release date but is due to launch first on PSVR (likely coming to other platforms in the future).

If it wasn’t clear already, Book II will pick up right where the original game left off. And just like the original—which had a giant snake as the primary antagonist—Book II will be centered around another animal foe, this time of the avian variety.

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And while Stiksma says that the gameplay will be more of an evolution than a revolution, he confirmed that the game has been in development for two years already, and expects it will have a suitably larger scope than the original.

There’s a few reasons why: for one, the game has a larger dedicated team. The original game, Stiksma said, was developed when the studio was just 15 people total; a handful of them were only part-time on Moss, and some weren’t working directly on the game (like HR, finance, and marketing). Polyarc has since grown to 32 people, and this time around there’s 15 people working full-time directly on Moss: Book II, he said.

Beyond having more hands on deck, Stiksma also explained that there’s significant gains in efficiency when working on a sequel compared to a brand new game. Much of the creative overhead—like art direction, level design, character design, tooling and much more—has already been ‘figured out’, which makes it quicker to build on top of that work compared to creating an entirely new world, characters, and gameplay.

Image courtesy Polyarc

But Moss: Book II won’t just be more of the same, Stiksma said. While the core gameplay remains in tact, the game will add some new interactions and a sort of progression that will deepen the game’s mechanics.

Players familiar with the original game will recall that while they control the main character, Quill, from a third-person view, they themselves are present in the world as well. The game requires that players actually reach out and interact with certain parts of the world to open new pathways and help Quill in other ways.

Stiksma gave an example of one new interactions in Book II, in which players will connect magical vine bridges from point to point to help Quill navigate the environment.

Image courtesy Polyarc

And then there’s what Stiksma called “progression,” which takes the form of new weapons that Quill will find throughout her journey, opening the door to new attacks and abilities.

In the Moss: Book II trailer we can see Quill discover a large hammer, and see the player touch her sword to power it up for a dash attack that crosses platforms. It isn’t clear yet if the player will get to swap weapons freely or if each section of the game will be built around one specific weapon.

Image courtesy Polyarc

Stiksma wouldn’t go as far as saying whether Moss: Book II will launch in 2021—though the announce timing seems about right for a holiday release—but he did confirm that it will launch first on PSVR. The studio could try to time the game’s release date with the launch of PSVR 2, though it also doesn’t have a specific release date (but is expected in 2022).

Like the original Moss, it’s unlikely that the sequel will stay exclusive to PSVR indefinitely. Stiksma stressed how important porting the game to other VR platforms has been to Moss reaching the platinum sales milestone, and we expect the studio will want to follow a similar timed-exclusive path for Book II.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Personally, I’d like it to be less puzzle based and more adventure based. The puzzles are what ultimately stopped me from ever bothering to finish the first game because at some point I just couldn’t be bothered having to solve them to progress further. But, if there was less puzzles, or at least less puzzles that are going to stump me or require a lot of wandering doing the boring stuff, then I’d be far more inclined to just enjoy playing in and through this world.

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    • Totius

      I think I understand what you mean.. You would like a more explorative game.. maybe llike a free roaming game like Oblivion or GTA or Fallout or LA Noire.. I think that those games are very different in the end, a fully detailed game like that its extremely expansive to develope.. there is no way that Moss can be a game like that. It will nevertheless have some beauty

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      • Well not open world like any of those games you just mentioned but more exploration based and sandboxy rather than a series of puzzle progressions. Think more like this and you’d be on the right tracks:

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  • mirak

    Good games but the narrated story sucks, I just wanted to skip it, and finally did at some point.

    • xyzs

      Maybe you like to just game and finish the fastest possible, good for you.
      I and many like having the story parts in between, so that Moss is more than just a puzzle game with a mouse.

    • User_Name_24601

      I really enjoyed the narrative. It was a wonderful diversion of the gloom from last year.

    • John

      Seriously? The book parts take like a minute and a half and pop up like 4-5 times total. Lordy, how much gogogo you gotta be it isn’t a speedrun? OK, so you don’t like it just turn the page when it lights up but the narrative IS THE WHOLE POINT!!! You are the “reader”, the reader helps the mouse from the book your are reading in the library like “The Neverending Story”. It’s fantastic. Stick to Fortnite.

      • mirak

        I like Myst series, the narration does block the flow of the game.

        And the story in moss is uninteresting.

  • Krozin

    This was definitely one of my favorite experiences. Makes me want to revive some of the third person oculus stuff. Can’t wait for more.

  • Romulo de Castro

    The first “chapter” was so good and creative. Exclusive for the old PSVR, even for 6 months is a real bummer.

    • Elite-Force_Cinema

      And why do you think PC VR is still so much better and that you think it will always be better? Is it because you think you love AAA and photorealistic graphics as a whole just so that you can pray that Oculus Quest 2 and all of the other standalone VR headsets die as a whole right now just so that you can make PC VR the only place to play VR games simply because you think all you care about for VR gaming is AAA and photorealistic graphics and not the gameplay of the experiences, length of the experiences, craftsmanship of the experiences, and many more? Cause it sounds like you are!

      • Romulo de Castro

        Just try Half Life Alyx…

        • Elite-Force_Cinema

          And why would I? Just to see how much you care about AAA and photorealistic graphics and nothing else?

    • Elite-Force_Cinema

      Also, you wasted money on a bigger storage variant for Quest 2 when you’re supposed to use it to store bigger games like Myst on a standalone product, not only use it for PC VR just for AAA and photorealistic graphics and nothing else!!!

      • Romulo de Castro

        I know

  • John

    I waited 47 years for VR and this game. It’s simply amazing, it’s unequalled IMO. I’m not sure people realize how friggin amazing we got it. I grew up playing “Kangaroo” on Atari that went beep-beep and hade probably 48 pixels on-screen total.
    I don’t pre-order games but I absolutely without hesitation will for Book II or anything this company wants to put out. PSVR kinda hurts but I’m patient. Take my money.

    I never knew 3rd person games for VR would end up my favorite. Shootin zombies on space stations is great but games like moss really work for me, wish there were so much more then the few we have. It’s like playing with toys inside a crazy made up world, what more do ya need?