Two weeks ago, we showed you a glimpse of Expanses – a then upcoming VR game all about exploring pretty low poly environments through your phone. Using a control method incorporating nothing but players’ eyes, the game has now stepped into reality with a brand new Kickstarter campaign.
In case you don’t remember, Expanses’ concept is kind of like a mixture between Myst and all those pretty interactive VR movies. The game takes place in an endangered world worried by extinction and ecological catastrophe, while players are given the power to restore a long lost natural balance. This is done mostly by possessing endangered animals and solving environmental puzzles, with the promise being that you’d be able to do all that simply by looking at objects through your phone.
Apart from the fact that the general premise sounds a bit similar to Lost Ember (another crowdfunded game about animals and lost worlds), the game differentiates itself greatly through its unique controls. Heavily focusing on VR, Expanses will feature several mechanics such as terraforming, object manipulation, animal shifting and environmental destruction. Even though I’ve no idea how the game would differentiate between all those actions through simple eye-tracking, I’m somewhat excited about the prospect of sitting down and delving into a relaxing, hands-free interactive experience.
So what does the campaign look like? For starters, it asks for $100,000, which might seem like a hefty sum for such a game. However, observing the Kickstarter closer reveals an incredibly fleshed-out project filled with tons of information. There’s already a short art test demo in addition to extensive information regarding Expanses’ VR technology and how it’s supposed to work. The campaign’s pitch video also does a good job of introducing the game’s developers (Shuographics) and their roles, with quite a few folks being responsible for marketing and business operations.
The Kickstarter also shows that the game is planned to feature three big environments (expanses), each featuring varied natural landscapes along with animals unique for each biome. Those seem to be the bare minimum, as three out of five stretch goals focus on bringing more expanses with their own set of wildlife and missions.
In general, I’d say this is one damn good looking Kickstarter. With the game already featuring stellar hand-drawn art, boring things like cost breakdown are represented wonderfully through vibrant (and often comical) sketches. I want to browse through the campaign just so I can stare at all the pretty pictures, and that’s certainly a good sign for a game which relies so much on its aesthetics.
As of now, Expanses is mainly developed with mobile devices in mind. In other words, that includes Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s upcoming Daydream as primary ways to enjoy the game (you can also use the good old Cardboard method). Shuographics also mentions Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and HTC Vive as potential devices depending on funding. However, I found it odd that there aren’t any stretch goals covering the potential development for said platforms.