We’ve noticed a bit of a trend in the last few Indie VR Spotlight posts, The Gallery and CTRL were featured over the last few weeks. A narrative focus is emerging on the horizon of virtual reality development, particularly the titles being published by independent developers. Kept is no different, and is perhaps the pinnacle of such story focus in VR.
Described as an “interactive VR journey where you are the story”, this adventure title has been built for the HTC Vive from the ground up by creative digital media company S1T2. Given that their name literally stands for Story 1st, Technology 2nd it’s no wonder this magical journey places such emphasis on its narrative.
Players use their bodies to adventure through these fantastical lands with full motion tracking at work with smooth VR technology. Your aim is to rescue a celestial soul that has been forsaken in the magical world that surrounds you by completing physical based puzzles throughout the environment. Character actions are mapped to realistic and natural human interactions so players can look forward to jumping (quite literally) straight into the action without having to learn any controls. This intuitive control method will either make or break the immersion in Kept.
While on first glance a control scheme mapped perfectly to your own movements seems like the pinnacle of immersive technology, however it comes with a curse. If the player is able to interact with the game world in such a natural way it would make sense that they would be able to interact with anything they see. This would make for a massive game however, and a lot of development time. So when players find something they can’t interact with in the same natural manner as before, the illusion of full immersion is shattered. It’s make or break with this level of immersion, but I really hope Kept makes it.
We all know I love a good narrative, and my love for Everybody’s Gone To The Rapture attests to such. So Kept‘s focus on storytelling is an exciting prospect, and they know it too:
“In this new storytelling format the line between games and films are obscured as Kept delivers an entirely unique concept that we hope will challenge what it means to create a virtual reality experience in the future”
With stunningly artistic visuals recalling a sense of traditional paint on canvas, the ancient caves, magical clearings, and winding rivers are shown off in beautifully stylised images. I’m so excited that developers can see the narrative potential of virtual reality, and are brave enough to venture in this direction when most big-budget developments are headed straight for the action shooter. Recognising the immersive potential of VR and pushing it forward with a player-focussed story and motion capture mapped to innate human movements means that Kept may just be at the forefront of a new generation of player-focussed VR narratives.