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VR Strategy Game Tethered Announced, Available at Launch for PlayStation VR

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VR Strategy Game Tethered Announced, Available at Launch for PlayStation VR
5 Author Replies

For over a year now, the team here at Secret Sorcery Towers have been sat in our darkened chamber around cauldrons bubbling with creativity all the while Weaving our spells and conjuring new prototypes.

As we make final preparations for our voyage across the pond to E3 in Los Angeles, the time has come to put secrecy behind us and share a first glimpse of our magical creation with you, right here on PlayStation Blog. We are thrilled to announce our debut title will launch alongside PlayStation VR this Autumn.

It’s called:

With the break of dawn, you awaken to find your Heavenly Archipelago ransacked by a plague of nocturnal creatures.

As a Spirit Guardian, you must return balance to your islands by seeking out precious Spirit Energy – an ancient life-force that will eradicate this blight for good.

Using daylight as your shield and wielding awesome elemental influence, nurture your flock – The Peeps – and build up their settlement for the night ahead.

And when darkness envelopes your kingdom, ensure their survival against waves of ravenous scavengers hell-bent on consuming all that lies in their path.

Only the first rays of daylight will banish these dark-loving denizens back to the Island’s underbelly – offering new hope and a chance to lick your wounds, rebuild and resume your quest for restoration.

Without your guidance your peeps will surely perish and without them you cannot hope to rid your lands of evil.

Your fates are Tethered.

For our debut title, we didn’t set out to create a facsimile of reality – we’ve done enough of that over the years with games like WRC, MotorStorm and DRIVECLUB – and with the exciting dawn of Virtual Reality, so much more is possible beyond that. We started with a blank canvas and allowed creativity to drive each and every decision along the way.

Designed and developed exclusively for Virtual Reality, “Tethered” takes the best parts of a sand-box experience you might expect from a great strategy game and combines them with gentle puzzle mechanics that help pull you through the experience, all the while wrapping you up in a beautifully immersive universe. With a simple premise at its core – gather and prepare by day, survive by night – our goal is to strike balance between comfort, simplicity, beauty and challenge.

We drew influences from Studio Ghibli and the kooky imagination of Miyazaki when developing an art style for the world of Tethered, opting for a lovingly hand-painted aesthetic and unique character design. We’ve been working with an incredibly talented concept artist called Espen (who lives in the mountains in Norway!), and our art team have been tirelessly replicating his incredible concept pieces and bringing them to life in VR.

But it’s not just visuals alone that truly “seals the deal” with immersive content – Audio plays a massive part of the experience. That’s why we wasted no time in bolstering the team with none other than Kenny Young of Little Big Planet and Tearaway fame. Kenny is at the top of his game and was the first phone call when it came to music and sound. His work on the soundtrack and audio presentation is bringing the world of Tethered to life in ways we never imagined!

For us, comfort and fun gameplay are paramount, and Tethered is the result us staying focused on what’s important. We want VR to be for everyone, and that’s why we set out to make a game that is as easy to pick up as it is hard to put down. During a typical play session, you can expect to spend around 30 – 40 minutes of building up your village, gathering Spirit Energy, discovering ancient artefacts and learning new skills for your Peeps, not to mention fighting off the denizens of the night!

We can’t wait to share more info with you over the coming weeks as we work towards our launch date alongside PlayStation VR. Check out the website at www.tetheredgame.com to stay up to date!

Who the hell are we? We founded our studio back in April 2015 with our eyes firmly fixed on VR, our small team included co-founders of Evolution Studios and Rage, between us we had over 100 years of game dev experience (what the…!) Collectively we’ve shipped over 50 titles on 10 different platforms. Our background in development, however sobering the numbers (yikes!) – combined with the fact that we’re just nuts for games has given us a firm grounding as we modestly step into the realms of indie development. Our team is now 15 strong and growing! Our little studio is full of passionate and creative people – Oh, and we have a lake!

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36 Comments

5 Author Replies

  • Looks very fun. I will add this to my list of VR games to get at launch. Boy is it gonna be an expensive few months coming up, lol.

  • DuoMaxwell007

    I hope thats not supposed to look appeasing for anyone over 6.

    • It looks fantastic. Who are you kidding?

    • DuoMaxwell007

      Umm yes it LOOKS fine there is nothing wrong with it graphically but that doesnt change the fact that it looks like k ids game and Im not 6. I mean sure Mario and SOnic are kids games but at least theyre FUN (not counting the new sonic games) that game doesnt look remotely fun for an ADULT

      I mean just look at em whack the little worm things with the sticks… those things look completely unphased by it lol, not to mention for them to be defending themselves they sure dont seem to be putting much weight behind those whacks lol.. Im like “Ummm if you want to kill the thing you should probably at least swing a little harder….”

      so yeah Ill let RIGs give me my vr fix

    • Alan McDermott
      Alan McDermott

      Hi DuoMaxwell007!

      Sorry to hear you weren’t as impressed as we’d hoped with our pre-alpha video.

      I remain hopeful that the charm of our game will start to shine through and win you over as we share more content in the coming days and weeks. Who knows – maybe by launch this fall, you’ll find a little time for Tethered alongside the awesome Rigs! :)

    • 36 year old here, game looks fantastic and very appeasing. Can’t wait to get it.

    • AizawaYuuichi

      Since I’m not upset, it doesn’t need to appease me. It just needs to appeal to me. And this appeals to me just fine on an aesthetic front.

      However, I’m not a huge fan of strategy games. I prefer direct control. So unless this has some other tricks up its sleeves, I’ll probably pass. But good luck with the launch, Alan and Sacred Sorcery. The game definitely has charm. *thumbsup

    • I’m actually very excited for this game and I am well of 6 years of age. I’m This game seems like it would be appealing to people of all ages and with an all-star team of some of the worlds be game developers behind Tethered, I know it’s going to be a wonderful experience. I will be picking it up at launch! October can’t come soon enough for me! Well done!

    • I am 56, and I am dead tired of gritty, brown on gray apocalyptic realism. I love anime and Ghibli in particular, and I am grown-up enough to enjoy colorful and cute art design. Adults take care of children, they have responsibilities, and sexual maturity makes cute-and-childlike attractive – because it must. You don’t nurture something you can’t stand to look at.

      Only prepubescent children find cute things offensive. Their sexuality is unformed, they don’t have the biological command to take care of, raise, and protect small, innocent beings.

      Give it time, child. When you pass puberty, suddenly cute little animals will mean something to you. Until then… don’t fuss when they make games with art for the grown-ups. And don’t sound silly thinking such art is for children – it’s not. Children tend to like gritty and brutal, because they don’t know any better, and such things seem ‘grown up’ from their tender years.

      Gritty is just ugly. It sells to the immature. It is tiring to people who have actually lived. You’ll learn that, as you get older.

    • ArturisDentalis

      Hah, well said Giniko.

    • Jisatsu_Kiddo

      + DuoMaxwell007

      You must really hate the world. You have what I call in young folks “I kill puppies” syndrome. Unless it’s bland and gore filled you hate it. I bet you wrote a huge I hate eyepet rant as well. To us older folks did it not only keep younger people happy, it reminded us of virtual pets back when they happen to just beep and came on key chains.

      Give yourself a few years and an’ open mind and you would be amazed what you would enjoy in any artistic medium.

    • It’s funny. At my age, I now associate games like Halo with kids and teens. While stylized games like these are “ageless”.

    • Don’t mind DuoMaxwell007, he’s certainly not speaking for the majority in this regard.

      I think it looks fantastic, and definitely sparks some familiarity among similar games in the franchise, which will make me feel right at home.

  • This game looks fantastic! Great job! I absolutely love playing 3rd person games on the Rift and this looks like it’s going to be a blast as well. The art style looks lovely and I can’t wait to explore around the game and look really close at the world (my favorite part of 3rd person in VR). I’ll definitely be giving this a shot on my day one PSVR. Thanks for showing this off!

  • This looks awesome!!!

    I’ll definitely be picking this one up. It looks like something my wife would enjoy as well. :)

    • Alan McDermott
      Alan McDermott

      Hey glassmusic! Glad our game has piqued your interested! Our goal at Secret Sorcery is to make VR games that appeal to everyone, so great that you’ll be sharing the experience of our beautiful worlds with your wife!

      I hope you guys enjoy it when it comes out this fall!

  • This looks pretty great! I’m very much looking forward to playing this on PSVR! It is only a few months away!

  • I dig the strategy elements in VR. Super cool.

    • Alan McDermott
      Alan McDermott

      Hi Tinye310!

      Just so you know, we’ve got our heads down making great strides on the strategy elements of Tethered right now! We can’t wait to show more gameplay.

  • DuoMaxwell007

    Also someone mentioned 3rd person… unless Im blind that looks more like top down view to me >.>

  • I wonder when Sony is going to tell us we need to buy a new ps4 to play VR?

    • AizawaYuuichi

      Considering that the current iteration of PSVR includes a dedicated box to help run the headset, they aren’t.
      There might be a future release of PSVR without a box that can run off a more powerful system, but that is not the way they currently have it set up.
      Also, doing that would immediately reduce their install base to 0. That would not make any business sense. It’s not happening. Simple.

  • loadstone007

    Ummm… don’t know, looks too kid-ish for my aging mind…

  • Im still not sold but i hope to see more soon. Maibe at E3? :D

  • Slavery? God complex? Cuteness? Sign me up!

  • MailOrderNinja

    What a gorgeous aesthetic. Makes me sad this is VR as I certainly can’t afford it for a while, but this looks fantastic. Great reveal guys and gals!

  • Uh yeah… why make a facsimile of reality for virtual REALITY. It’s not like that would make perfect sense or anything. Much better to make cheap phone game for it instead…

  • this game looks soooooooooooooooooooo cutesy whootsy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!kinda reminds me of Dark Cloud!!I Like it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!lbuilding your town like Dark Cloud’s “Georama RPG” style,and it’s like magical and mystical!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I like it,l like it!!!!!!!!

  • Partridge19

    Are there reasons you decided to make this a VR game? Not trying to be rude, but I can’t see why this would be for VR… I don’t really want this game (sorry), but if I did, I’d be kinda mad I had to spend $500 to play it when it looks like it should be on a system I already own. I think you are limiting your market, unless it will be available on PS4 too? Hoping you show more and I change my mind, but right now I just don’t understand the reasoning for this in VR?

    • Alan McDermott
      Alan McDermott

      Hi Partridge19 – Why did we want to make this a VR game? Well, beyond the fact that we are super enthusiastic about supporting new platforms and technology, we’re also nuts for the idea of truly immersive content. For the first time ever, we are able to physically put you inside our beautiful world – not just through a 2D screen – but all around you, enveloping you completely… and when you choose to do something to a character, that character can look right back at you and react! The opportunity for emotional engagement is enormous and we felt that VR was the perfect medium through which to weave our magical universe.

      Hopefully as we share more content in the coming days and weeks you’ll be swayed to take a look at our labour of love – who knows – once you start to wield your awesome powers in Tethered, you might not want to stop! :)

  • jah_92_rastafari

    This looks really nice, will definitely be picking it up on launch, I thought strategy games would be amazing in vr, glad someone’s getting on it early, best of luck guys, roll on October!

  • ArturisDentalis

    I love how in the trailer it just looks like the Peeps are beating up helpless & harmless slug things XD.

  • Glad to see such a different approach to VR. Many folks are focusing on first person experiences, for obvious reasons, so it’s neat to see more emphasis the tilt-shift / dollhouse effect here. It’s amazing how much more tangible/compelling the experience can be when it feels like it’s right there in front of you.

    At least that’s the effect I get from this trailer. Good luck leading up to launch! :-)

  • Looks very interesting, and as a huge fan of Evolution’s stuff in the past, looking forward to something pretty awesome from this.

    One thing; your write-up explains your approach to visuals and sound nicely, as well as the general gameplay/genre. However, what I feel it doesn’t do very much (at all?) is explain what VR adds to the game, which I think is pretty critical, no? The video is nice, but one could see it and surmise that you *could* play the game without VR.

    Of course, it’s hard to convey the VR experience without having people actually try it out, but could you explain a little more about how VR is used to interface with the world, the sort of effects it provides to the players that would not be possible otherwise, and so on and so forth? I think, as we approach the PSVR launch, a lot of us are looking for indicators as to what we can expect from VR games, and as a launch title, would be great if you could get that across.

    • Alan McDermott
      Alan McDermott

      Hi Siriusbee!
      You’re right! VR is a tough cookie to explain without VR! It’s a little like describing what a Rollercoaster feels like to someone using only words. I’ll do my best though (in 1250 characters!)
      With Tethered its emotional engagement and total immersion. I can’t begin to describe the sense of belonging you feel as you look upon your beautiful sky islands, not to mention The Peeps! When they look up at you, there’s a natural, ethereal bond. It’s as though they know you exist and that you’re part of their world. Beyond that, there’s the sense of being “powerful” that VR brings. We’ve given the player some unique abilities such as wielding elemental powers to command the weather. When you provide much needed rain for a crop field, the feeling is immense because you’re physically there! Not to mention the fact that providing rain helps crops grow and the sense of purpose that the Peeps get from that is really rewarding. It’s not just rain either, there are several types of weather you command in the game, including the power of lightning which can be used for good – to power buildings and smite foes – or for malice. Spirit energy can come from the souls of peeps too!

    • Alan it sounds like you’re kind of avoiding the question and beyond “you’re part of their world ” there isn’t really anything there to justify this being a VR title other than the novelty of VR itself. The mechanics seem so basic that if the graphics were turned down completely this could be marketed as a mobile game. I mean drag drop basic clone minion to assign task, weather effect spells, drag drop clone minion to whack enemy. If that is all there will be to it then it is a very poor attempt.

      “The Peeps! When they look up at you, there’s a natural, ethereal bond”….now i get that the video is not of the final version of the game but you can’t really go around selling that as one of the important points for VR in this title when all the Peeps have the same blank stare expression in the video no matter if they’re farming or running away from monsters.

      It’s difficult to argue how the final thing will look if this is only alpha but it really needs a lot of polish still and gameplay mechanics to justify VR beyond just looking at it in 1st person. Perhaps it was a bad marketing decision to show gameplay footage of such an unfinished project.

    • Thanks for the reply, Alan, appreciate it.

      @sanzokun: I didn’t feel Alan was avoiding the question. I personally have some experience using VR and also have a couple of friends who are game devs doing some VR projects, and they too have a little difficulty conveying the actual experience in words. I was pretty happy with Alan’s description–it expands a little on what the effect(s) they are going for with the game are, which is all I was really looking for and felt was missing from the OP.

      As you say, this is alpha footage. I don’t personally think it’s a bad marketing idea to release alpha stuff–in fact, I am totally for it and encourage it. But I’m also a software developer (not a game one though), so I am perhaps more familiar than most with unfinished product builds and the way they should be taken in and such.

  • VinsanityV21

    Awesome! Finally, a genre I’ve wanted to see tackled in VR since the Oculus DK2 shipped out. The lack of strategy games (also God games) has been baffling as heck. I guess there’s just been a decline in the genre as a whole; I remember looking for a game sort of like this awhile ago on Steam and only finding “The Mims Beginning” and “Stonehearth” in Early Access. Boy am I glad to see a new one, and in VR! This looks adorable and super intuitive to play! Stuff like this is why I want I want to get a PSVR.

  • Personally, I dont want to put on a VR headset and go to disneyland. For many this will appeal, I personally would rather be dropped in the middle of a war zone or an alien planet or piloting a fighter jet. An awesome FPS with real world environments would be ace but i think the technology is a way off that yet. Developers will learn to use the tech better and I can see (assuming this takes off) a huge market for gaming periferal hardware. Exciting times.

  • This says nothing about vr!!

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