Artist’s name: Firesprite

Bio on Artist: Firesprite is a Liverpool-based videogame development company who has collaborated with Playstation WWS Japan Studio on The Playroom for Playstation 4. Recently, they created Run Sackboy! Run! for PLaystation WWS XDev for iOS, Android, and Playstation Vita. They are currently developing new games for PS4 and other major gaming platforms.

Describe Artwork: The Persistence is a VR horror survival game based in 2521 when a space ship light years away from earth explores black holes. After experiments go wrong, the crew of the ship become victims of a murderous mutation that turns them into mean-eating monsters. You wake up as a surviving crew member and your objective is to get to the end of the ship and figure out a way to get back to earth. The most interesting thing about the game is that it is based on procedural gameplay, whereby the map, your character, enemies, and weapons change every time you wake up. No two gaming sessions are the same, thus providing a unique experience every time you wake up. The game also has a multiplayer feature in which a friend can download an app on their phone or tablet, and they can help you navigate the map and caution you when there are threats around the corner, or they can sabotage your mission by misleading you into harm’s way. You can also infect your friend’s device with a virus that takes away their XP, and so forth. There’s a dynamic of trust/betrayal that the developers wanted to invoke in this multiplayer structure .

Opinion of Artwork: I thought it was the perfect game for VR. It capitalizes on sharp lighting, deep shadows, and tight spaces — all contributing to an inevitable sense of fear, and claustrophobia. The procedural trait of the game was also of interest, because it insulated itself from becoming boring too quickly. The evolving map layout and game features creates a VR experience that retains its unpredictability. I think that one of this genre’s strongest traits is its emphasis on the fear of the unknown. As a player, you are immersed in a hostile world with unpredictable threats. 99% of the fear and thrill of these games are in the anticipation of threats, because they are so immediate in the players’ visual perspective. The Persistence effectively preserves this thrill by remaining unpredictable even after a player might have finished the map — it’s an entirely new and scary experience every time. I think that longevity in interest is a trait lacking in VR, and this game offers us a possible solution of creating procedural platforms to experience via VR.

Check out Firesprite’s work here.

Gameplay trailer of The Persistence.

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