Josh Stiksma, precept engineer and design director at Polyarc, has sat down with NME to debate the studio’s upcoming VR game, Moss: Book 2.
Now that Polyarc has confirmed that Moss: Book 2 is about to launch on March 31, the workforce has been in a position to share a bit extra on what it’s been engaged on.
In a preview of the game seen by members of the press, the game was revealed to be a good bit less linear than its predecessor, and – in Metroidvania trend – some areas would require objects gained later within the game to entry.
On the choice to open up the world of Moss a bit extra, Stiksma shared that “this was a big goal for us. We know that the world in Moss One was very much “I can go to this chapter, play this chapter,” and that’s it. One of the issues that we began exploring early, after we had been growing Moss: Book 2 in pre-production, was “are there ways that we can explore the world more?””
Stiksma added that the workforce wished to land on a less linear playstyle that was “compatible with the way that we want to tell our story, and also compatible with the diorama setting that we want for all of the other rooms throughout the world. We did a tiny bit of that in Moss: Book One which got us excited about it. In Moss: Book 2 we’re doing a lot more.”
According to Stiksma, for gamers that may contain “returning to areas that you’ve been to before but now things are different, or the plot has advanced so [you] can now branch out and access more. Players will discover…that castle that you’ve been working towards in Moss: Book One ends up being a bit like a hub that you can spoke out [to] these different areas throughout the game.”
“We want it to be compelling. So we want to give players a reason to want to do that exploration and want to do that backtracking and engage with the nonlinear elements,” defined Stiksma, who added that older The Legend Of Zelda and Metroid video games had been a large inspiration for him.
Discussing the game’s story, Stiksma mentioned Polyarc has labored on a “powerful, meaningful story” for Moss: Book 2. Laughing, he added that touchdown on the precise narrative “took [Polyarc] a long time,” and there was “a lot of time iterating and trying to figure out how these beats of the story are going to land the right way”.
Within the game itself, gamers can anticipate “quite a lot of environments” to discover.
“We want to have a lot of variation, and then some unexpected variation. From the art side, we want to keep things surprising to players with some very cool environments that are just amazing to be in. We’re really excited for players to jump in and experience those new areas that we haven’t shown yet,” teased Stiksma.
Developing a game for VR has its personal challenges, and Polyarc was “mindful” of points like queasiness and luxury early on in growth. “There’s a lot of potential ways to get sick in virtual reality, and we have to be on guard for that,” mentioned Stiksma, who added “we aren’t creating a barrier to VR by having players potentially feel sick or queasy”.
On what else Polyarc has improved upon from the primary game, Stiksma mentioned the studio wished the sequel “to have more interaction with Quill, which I’m excited to see how people react to.”
“We wanted to have more varied types of interactions as you go through the game, and then one of the things we really wanted to do is try to tell a bit more of the story in the world versus just strictly in the book. I don’t know how we pulled it off but there’s quite a lot of in-game cinematic experiences that I think are just really powerful when you’re seeing it in the game.”
Finally, we requested Stiksma if Moss: Book 2 would mark the top of Quill’s story. Though he couldn’t say an excessive amount of, he revealed that Polyarc is “extremely excited to continue telling stories in the world of Moss.”
“For us, as long as people keep wanting to play the games, we’re excited to keep making them.”
Moss: Book 2 launches for PS4 and PS5 on March 31.