Thunderbird's World of Wonder Will Satisfy Your Desire for Myst in VR - UploadVR
I’m standing on a cliff high up overlooking mountainous horizon of the Himalayas, the air swirling all around me. As I turn around, I see an iron door to my left and a golden statue to my right. No on-screen prompts, no instructions, I am simply thrust into the experience. Seconds tick by and as the beauty of the scene settles in, my mind begins to turn to the question: What is my purpose in this world? That question lies at the very heart of Thunderbird, a new game coming to the HTC Vive and PSVR from the father-son team at Innervision VR. “Virtual Reality has the innate ability to mimic reality,” says Tony Davidson, Innervision VR’s founder. “When someone first puts on a VR headset they are instantly transported to another reality where they are forced to reckon with their existential state of being.” That’s why games like Thunderbird, which takes inspiration from titles like Myst and Riven (a title that he was heavily involved with), work so well for VR. It forces you to seek the meaning for yourself, while appreciating the detail of the world that you are in. Thunderbird is based on myths that transcend multiple different cultures, from Native Americans to the people of the Himalayas. The game takes the player on a journey to find a mysterious secret hidden deep in the depths of a sacred caldera in the mountains. Davidson describes Thunderbird as a hybridization between a game and a cinematic experience. At the beginning, there is a strong emphasis on puzzles and interaction with the scenes, but that changes as the story unfolds. “At the core of the experience,” says Davidson “we are trying to carry the player from a more mundane reality to a fantastical one… [which will] culminate in a more cinematic and passive experience.” As you uncover the mysteries of Thunderbird the game will “lead you to the heart of the world for an encounter with mythological creatures of epic proportions” bringing these legends to life. Thunderbird might as well have been codenamed phoenix, as it rose from the ashes of Innervision’s previous VR project, Ethereon. “Ethereon was fundamentally flawed at its core,” Davidson admits. “What I was trying to accomplish with that I realized was not quite possible,” citing traversing vast landscapes as a major roadblock. “We learned so much [from Ethereon] and wanted to just start fresh,” he says. A lot of the original ideas and concepts from Ethereon have been found their way into Thunderbird but in a far more refined way. For example, locomotion in Thunderbird utilizes two different modes, a full room scale version with scenes designed to take place within the playable space, as well as a version with a point and teleport system for people with smaller play spaces or on the PSVR (which isn’t nearly as equipped for room scale experiences). The addition of hand-tracked controllers takes Thunderbird to the next level. Whereas experiences like Myst utilized a point and click mechanic, Thunderbird allows the player to interact with [...]