Friday afternoon, Austin and I left PAX and attended Adr1ft’s screening hosted by IGN. I want to emphasize the fact that it was a “screening”. Thanks to IGN and 505 games we were treated to viewing the current Adr1ft trailer and gameplay in a full sized movie theater! The sound quality – amplified in the movie theater – was astonishing. After hearing the projects that the some of the team members were a part of prior to working on this game, it is no surprise how well the game introduces ambiance.[Editor’s note: I’ve included my own impressions at the bottom as well] [iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/hzOvI2cdaWk” align=”center”]
After the viewing of the trailer, Adr1ft’s game designer Adam Orth spoke a bit about what he hopes to achieve with this game. He discussed how incredibly proud he was of the sound. It is immediately evident during the gameplay portion of the presentation that the surrounding music and sound effects it going to be integral in storytelling and progression in the game. Orth, being a ex-creative director at Lucas Arts, stated it was mostly Skywalker sound tech in Adr1ft and it showed.
The presentation then shifted to a short Q&A with Adam. From the start of the session one can hear how humble and nervous Orth was showing off this project. The debacle that led to him being let go from Microsoft was unfortunate, but this game is his way of getting over the past and starting anew. Orth was very adamant on how the loneliness and emptiness of space perfectly represents his personal struggles, but that the story will not be a one to one comparison in terms of the emotions. He stated the story will start with the protagonist waking up and seeing disaster all around and you as the player will slowly discover what led to the destruction.
During the gameplay, we learned that part of the sense of discovery will be presented to the player in the form of audio logs. Very reminiscent of Bioshock Infinite’s audio story telling, Adr1ft hopes to inform you that your crew all had very different lives. Orth stated that diversity in the rest of the crew was important. Through these audio logs one will learn the past and current predicaments of a diverse crew that will push forward the story. However, the audio logs were just one component of the gameplay that stuck out.
Once attendees got their hands on the game one could tell that at least during the first part of the game, oxygen will be a daunting and exhilarating way to influence game mechanics. The player’s oxygen tank level serves both as a meter of health and movement. As one reaches low levels of oxygen you can hear the desperation in the breath of the protaganist as the player scrambles for the closest floating oxygen refill. I am curious as to how this mechanic will be balanced in the final game. Collecting audio logs and a depleting movement/health system could seem contradictory, but we may not have the entire picture yet. Orth did state that the game is about discovery, but that it will have some sort of puzzle solving that he has not yet revealed. The puzzle solving could prove to be the missing link in terms of game mechanics to make the game seem less contradictory.
For being a game that is all about “drifting” in space the surroundings do differ compared to your generic space shooter X. There are moments of the gameplay walkthrough where players are presented with cherry blossoms trees that directly contrasts the destruction and metallic feel the rest of the environment has. All the foliage in the footage seems to be intact after the destruction which just helps with the contrast. These untouched rooms may give the player a sense of hope which I believe is totally intentional.
The last thing to mention was what Adam Orth had to say about Oculus Rift. Orth stated that Oculus development was key from the start and not an after thought. Though I have not tried Adr1ft in the Oculus it is not hard to imagine how immersive that experience would be. With the recent announcement of Sony to release the Morpheus in 2016 it will be it interesting to see if Adr1ft becomes one of the first titles for Playstation’s VR experience.
Austin’s impressions: I’m in complete agreement with everything Chris has said above, but I felt the need to point out the immense amount of immersion this game had me in. During the periods where the protaganist was low on oxygen, I actually caught myself holding my breath in anticipation and suspense. This was, of course, amplified by the fact that I was watching things play out on a humongous movie theater screen, but no doubt this will be one of the most cinematic experiences to hit the gaming space. The team at ThreeOneZero and 505 Games undoubtably have the making of a hit on their hands, and it’ll be incredibly interesting to see how the industry reacts to the surefire hit that “Gravity: The Game” is going to be.
Adr1ft is currently planned for a Summer 2015 release worldwide.
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