Hello! I’m Balthazar Auxietre, the co-founder and creative director of Innerspace VR, the united team behind Maskmaker, tomorrow a spell-binding PS VR adventure game launching.
We’re excited to dive in to the making of the overall game, and the experience awaiting players in the mysterious mask realm.
From studying cinema to exploring VR
While I was still in school, I had taken a far more traditional course in cinema, but after graduating I came across that I wasn’t very wanting to join the cinema world, when i felt there have been a complete large amount of stories that had recently been told through the medium. I recall as a kid, I was intrigued by the potential of video gaming to tell different types of stories, so after creating a few short movies, I moved onto using game engines and exploring that potential.
I had found out about this post-graduate art center, where artists were tinkering with new technology to go storytelling beyond the original language of cinema, so that it was an ideal fit for me personally. I could get and started working VR for the very first time there. Immediately I spent the vast majority of the grant I had on buying this really primitive headset, which had an answer of only 800 x 600 pixels and tried to accomplish all kinds of things on it to create it work. It had been how VR was this year 2010!
… pretty underwhelming. But when i began to dig more in to the potential of storytelling in VR, also it was clear to me, with the limitations of the technology at that time even, that there have been so many possibilities to inform these amazing stories through this medium.
The philosophies and DNA of Innerspace VR
Our studio was founded in 2014 in Korea, through the very first stages of the rise of VR. On early, we started with a little team that grew organically really, project by project, and moved back again to Paris eventually.
These past couple of years we have done all sorts of VR projects, and also have been recognized for the sense of innovation and our artistic approach. A Fisherman’s Tale was our first game, but besides games we focus on a great many other experiences such as for example VR art installations still.
Our DNA is both narrative and artistic, we’ve always followed closely where gaming in VR was headed however. Our goal hasn’t changed much through the years: we make an effort to explore the medium artistically, the storytelling potential through interaction especially, and make an effort to make great VR, whatever that’s! Among our mottos is that when VR cannot bring something significantly transformative to whatever it really is that people are creating, whether it’s a gaming or narrative experience, we have to rethink our approach then.
Learning from days gone by
Our first game was A Fisherman’s Tale, that was a genuine blessing for all of us as it is currently recognized as among the best VR narrative games. But needless to say, as a studio, there’s room for improvement and evolution always.
With Maskmaker, we wished to challenge ourselves and expand beyond the tiny world we’d created inside our previous game, and obtain from the linear structure of storytelling away. We also wished to develop a longer experience – that was probably the most critical feedback we heard with A Fisherman’s Tale.
So we started considering how exactly we could make that happen and create this rich adventure that occurs in a far more open ended world. Maskmaker is our biggest game up to now definitely, and it’s definitely not a simple task, for a VR game especially.
A desire for masks
I was raised surrounded by masks as my dad is really a collector of these. As a boy, I used to invest a complete large amount of amount of time in his workshop, imagining their purpose, the spirit in it, and thinking about what types of people round the global world had worn them, their environments, their lives – all that was peppered with the magic of childhood imagination and its own fantasies.
Nonetheless it was only once I later discovered VR and its own capabilities that I fully realized the potential of masks as a topic for a casino game project, and I needed to explore what which could look like. Then quickly came this idea of using magical masks as portals to some other global world. Whenever we started considering Maskmaker, we were looking to explore something more mysterious and dark than what we’d previously done inside our projects. What I like about masks is that there surely is something really wondrous and whimsical about them, but something a little spooky also, therefore the project became this dark fairytale about masks and the magic they hold.
We carefully designed the masks and the environments in the overall game in order that each could have a definite identity to provide the players a solid sense to be immersed in various cultures and being almost section of this world.
Learning to be a craftsman in VR
In Maskmaker, the core gameplay is based on crafting the masks that you’ll use to visit within the mask realm then. So it really was very important to us to generate an event that helps players feel just like they are really crafting the masks themselves in the overall game.
The designs of the mask start simple initially pretty, but as players progress, they’ll should get creative and discover the correct materials and blueprints to be able to unlock more regions of the mask realm. With the magic of VR, we’re in a position to mimic these real movements – sculpting the masks utilizing the chisel, painting with brushes and much more – and make sure they are really precise to generate a few of the more intricate designs of every mask to create them feel just like they’re experienced craftsmen-women!
Designing immersive puzzles
Compared to our previous work, Maskmaker is more of an adventure game when compared to a “puzzle game” in the strictest sense. Puzzles are occur the players’ way over the different levels – the biomes of the mask realm – and they’re more a way to challenge the exploration of the users to allow them to grab new crafting components, and learn the reality behind the complete story of the planet and its own king, Prospero.
We designed the puzzles in the type of environment and background story of every biome, so for the reason that sense, also, they are more linked to the particular level design than individual puzzle set pieces inherently.
Players will undoubtedly be challenged by different types of puzzles: you can find puzzles that provide usage of crafting components to create new masks, enabling players to go to various areas of the global world, you can find puzzles that allow progression in each biome by mending some elements of the magic realm that is damaged or abandoned by Prospero way back when. And you can find puzzles associated with what we call rituals, which derive from gestures players need to reproduce to perform steps of these apprenticeship.
We really tried to intertwine the sensation to be challenged by the puzzles, being moved by the story and being amazed by the environments visually.
It’s been an unbelievable journey creating this game with the support of Creative Europe, MEDIA programme of europe and the Ile-de-France region, and also the publishing team at MWM Interactive. We’re so excited for players to step in to the magical adventure of Maskmaker, and hopefully they’ll fully go through the magical atmosphere of the planet and find a sense of freedom and discovery in wearing those masks and traveling through them.
By PlayStation Official blog (blog.playstation.com)