Moss developer Polyarc is recognised for its charming, diorama-like platformer adventures – but its next project will be something of a departure for the studio. Still being developed exclusively for virtual reality headsets – although PSVR2 is not explicitly mentioned in the press materials – its next game will aim to “broaden the appeal of VR” by offering a competitive multiplayer experience.
“Doubling down on the VR market, Polyarc’s next game gives new and existing competitive gamers something to look forward to in the VR space,” reads the official press release. “Players can now sign up to participate in the closed playtest taking place the weekend of 14th April through 16th April, 2023.” As alluded to above, it looks like the playtest will take place on Meta Quest 2 for now.
“We are happy to see that the audience for VR continues to grow, now counting in the tens of millions of players, with more user-friendly and accessible headsets being released every year,” said co-founder Tam Armstrong. “As a game development studio that aspires to create games for everyone, we want to find ways to reach more of the audience within VR and even create space for new folks to join us there. With that in mind, the greater number of players gives us the opportunity to try ideas we have for multiplayer gameplay that can offer more to competitive players.”
Essentially, the studio’s had the idea for this game since it was founded in 2015, but it believes only now the install base is big enough to support it. There’s no real mention of what the game will actually entail, although the artwork is strikingly similar to Moss, so we’re going to assume it’s set in largely the same universe.
Armstrong added: “We are excited about this opportunity, as VR offers interesting considerations for multiplayer games. The ability to read the other player’s focus and intention as they move their head and hands are some of the elements that make playing games in person so compelling. We are looking forward to sharing what we’ve been working on and the fun we’ve been having playing it.”
Multiplayer games are definitely elevated in virtual reality, but we’re sure most fans would have preferred a hypothetical Book 3 in the Moss series, as opposed to a multiplayer spin-off. Nevertheless, we respect the developer’s ambition, and clearly it’s been sitting on this idea for a while, waiting for the medium’s market to be in a strong enough place to support it.
The last thing I personally wanted to hear. VR’s great strength is putting you in unique and wondrous worlds; you can chat to your mates in any tedious online multiplayer sandbox.
And now they lost me as a costumer.
I'm sure a lot of people will love this (if the amount of chatter about Pavlov compared to other games is any indication) but I'd definitely prefer another single player VR platformer, which is still a rare thing.
That's really disappointing. Not only is Polyarc a uniquley suited studio for single player content, but VR also has a fair amount of online games going for it with the new air combat game also being just online, Swordsman being online oriented, Pavlov being an online game, Zenith being online....Even NMS has a huge online component. In some ways it feels like VR games are being made in two flavors: "Social" and "Minigame."
I feel like there's a cross purpose here, and a few that "the only thing popular in gaming with the masses is competitive online, so that's the next big thing to make VR popular", meanwhile the reason online is popular is as a social hangout space among very casual players who are probably the least likely to be buying VR kits.
VR is life. But if it all swings into social repetitive gaming that'll push me back to flat gaming faster than anything.
But...then...if you figure the bulk of VR is Oculus and it's largely going to be a mobile-oriented market...I guess it makes sense?
But I do see this rising effort to push multiplayer multiplayer multiplayer both because that's what dominates flat games. I hope VR doesn't go through a PC gaming metamorphosis that it shifts to being about nothing but repetitive competitive games, and the escapism aspect is lost to being nothing but an input device for competitive play. I haven't played Pavlov online yet, but even just playing the bot rounds reminds me of why I got fed up with PC gaming in the day. Quake 3 was never a "real game" in my eyes. And around that time that's all every game was.
I understand that Moss 2 didn't sell well. It's a shame cause Moss is amazing. But hoping to strike lightning in a bottle with a VR multiplayer game seems to be a risky proposal. It's far more likely for that game to fail and servers shut down in a year than that game actually being profitable.
What a shame, imo they have just lost their uniqueness.
Of course I could be wrong and this is better than Moss, unlikely as that may seem.
Everyone seems to be chasing that multiplayer dream which can result in failure, even more so in the VR space imo.
As long as their next game is not online only, I don't mind. I hate buying games that I can't play because no one is playing them at the moment.
I'm not a fan of multiplayer either but will still keep an eye on this and hope it does well for them as loved both Moss games.
Just said this on another site, but I was actually thinking an Uncharted/Tomb Raider/action game might work quite well in Moss-style VR. Though admittedly my brain is a bit weird.
It may sound obvious, but make a game that's good, really good, and people will play attention to it. Single player, online, doesn't matter as long as it's worth it for the player.
@Jayslow Moss 2 didn't sell well? That's hard to believe, it's one of the definitive VR series, and there aren't many definitive VR series. Critically it was VR GOTY. It seems strange to me that in the already small niche, the sequel to one of the best known VR titles around would flop.
I wonder what is selling well in the VR space then? I'm sure Pavlov is selling well, but I don't necessarily think that translates to "online multiplayer is where VR is at" like they think it is, I think that's because Pavlov specifically fulfills a precise niche of Counterstrike/Rainbow6 but in VR, which is an appealing specific title for its demographic. Particularly in the PC space.
On the flip side I happened to check out Cave Digger 2's online panel yesterday, really because I wanted to see how to set up a closed 2 player room for coop which is as much multiplayer as I'm likely to do (spoiler: Looks like you can't you just create open rooms up to 4 players can join) and there was exactly ONE running lobby for the US region...
Obviously Zenith, Pavlov, even Altair Breaker have more populous lobbies as online-focused games, and NMS' Anomaly is loaded, but I'm pretty sure that's cross-platform with the flat version, same as GT7.
If Moss2 really sold poorly I can see why they'd switch, but I don't understand HOW that could sell poorly relative to the VR niche size. Moss selling poorly for VR seems like the equivalent of GoW selling poorly on PS. And I'm not sure their bet on the future of everything being competitive in VR is the right bet, but I could see Meta of all companies re-marketing VR that way for their market which could cause an ugly sea change in VR. Online games are cheap to make unless it's a GaaS.
Lame. I was hoping for more single player titles from them.
@NEStalgia while I don't have specific numbers, and this is just an assumption on my part, I believe it's a safe assumption. We have the PSVR2 game sales charts and it was only #5-6 depending on territory. Also what's jarring is looking at PSN Profiles. While the game owners stat isn't accurate (as it only includes members of the site) it is a useful tool when comparing other games. Moss 1 has 26,000 game owners listed on the site combining NA and EU versions. Moss 2 only has about 700 game owners.
Also I'm aware Moss 1 was eventually given for free in 2021, but I'm confident that number was still much much higher regardless.
Is #5 or 6 actually a bad position though? Out of 50 launch titles it's behind only a cheap, super popular tech demo that's not really a game but a "must try" sort of experience title, Pavlov, the one big multiplayer title at the top, Horizon, the big AAA first party bundled title/system seller/tech demo, STAR WARS, and pistol whip, a fairly cheap game that kind of virally caught on. Being just below the obligatory tech demo/first party system-seller and a Star Wars game and above the other 45+ games seems like a pretty darned good place to be, at least on PSVR2. Though total owners, it's hard to tell, the platform itself isn't even a month old and in key regions isn't even sold at retailers yet, so it might be low sales volume but doesn't say much about how popular it is on the platform overall.
Though obviously it's PC and Occulus sales that steered their direction to multiplayer, not the past month of PS sales. And I don't know what the sales charts and tastes there are running like. That's probably the only numbers that actually matter here.
But it's still stunning. Moss is one of THE flagship VR brands among few....how could it possibly sell poorly on PC and Occulus?
Moss is absolutely amazing, then I read this. The dreaded multiplayer word raises its head!! For God's sake just to stick to single player experiences.
@motorik6 surprise surprise hey!! Can't upset the multi player crowd.
Its for sure in the Moss universe but honestly...I'd rather have them working on Moss book 3...
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