Soulpix details the origins of their upcoming PlayStation VR adventure, which gets a free demo Thursday at PS Store.
Update: The demo will be available at PS Store starting Thursday, January 17.
Eden-Tomorrow is a story driven sci-fi action adventure inspired by classic science fiction films of the 70‘s and 80‘s, that also grapples with present-day fears of what could happen if an artificial intelligence gets out of control.
I don’t want to say more, as I don’t think there’s anything worse than having a story spoiled before you experience it yourself. And you’ll be able to do just that
today Thursday, as we’re releasing a free demo of the game at PlayStation Store.
The basic concept for Eden-Tomorrow was born several years ago, but as a realistic, fully CGI sci-fi movie. I knew that completing such a project was about as realistic as building my own space station, but that didn’t stop me from trying. We produced an elaborate trailer with the last of my own savings. The film wasn’t produced, but I couldn’t shake the idea.
At the same time I was, and still am, an enthusiastic gamer. I have been playing video games for decades, and from the beginning it was my dream to be in a game instead of just in front of it. Fast forward to 2014 as I slipped on a VR headset for the first time. The experience was a revelation, and the idea struck me like lightning: you could really be in this world and experience adventures yourself, instead of just looking at them passively.
Back then, we were just an independent animation studio for film and TV productions and had no experience with game engines. Creating and animating assets in 3D was our daily business, but coding and game design required completely different disciplines, and only one person from our small team of five was able to program.
Over the next two months, we set about creating a VR demo, which proved very popular. That gave us the motivation to continue down this path, even if we didn’t know exactly what lay ahead of us.
This was especially true of virtual reality: there was no rulebook to follow, no other work you could research to see how someone else solved a certain issue. Some things that sounded great as an idea in the script were either not possible or just not as cool as we thought. On the other hand, there were things that sounded totally unspectacular as an idea but proved to have a massive gameplay impact.
A good example is when you nod or shake your head to communicate with Newton — it felt wholly natural and increased the game’s immersion considerably. Everyone who tried it broke out in a wide smile on experiencing it the first time. The idea came about from a real world experience: I was at a sushi shop and the cook didn’t speak a word of German and I didn’t speak Japanese — he just pointed to the ingredients and I nodded or shook my head — bam!
We’ve also spent time developing multiple comfort settings so everyone can fine-tune the game to create their own perfect settings.
The Music of Eden-Tomorrow
One thing I’d like to mention specifically is the game’s music. Early in my career, I created the score for two games and initially planned to do the same for Eden-Tomorrow. But I quickly realized I would never be able to achieve the quality of the compositions I had in my head.
Fortunately, I found someone, Dirk Ehlert, who created pieces with the exact sound and emotional depth of the soundscape I’d imagined. While penning the game’s story, I’d listen to certain pieces to put me in the right mood. The game’s score means a lot to me.
To celebrate the work of our composer, we produced these two videos that went behind the scenes of the soundtrack’s creation:
The Extended Cut:
It’s true that Eden-Tomorrow’s three years of development sometimes felt like a journey into the unknown — just like what the player experiences in the game today. It was by far the most exhausting — but also the most beautiful — time in my life. I am very happy that we had the chance to realize my dream, my idea. Sounds kitschy, I know, but that’s the way it is.
We can’t wait to see PS VR players’ reactions to Eden-Tomorrow after playing the demo!