Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder. As part of the human condition, we all have our demons. We’ve all been down some dark paths. Though we’ve also had those moments of clarity and extreme emotion. Anamorphine is a PS4 and PSVR game that seeks to explore what these broad ranges of emotions would feel like in-game. Over on the PlayStation Blog, Samantha Cook, Co-Founder and Producer at Artifact 5 gave an introductory look into what Anamorphine is trying to evoke in its execution.
Have you ever been so sad you couldn’t get out of bed? So transported by a piece of music, you felt like you could see into the heart of the composer? So guilt-ridden you never wanted to see the sun again? Of course you have – or at least something like that. You’re human, and you experience a wide range of emotions, some minor and some paralyzingly major.
Maybe, like many other humans, you have additional layers of anxiety stirring these feelings into their own unique patterns. Perhaps you suffer from depression that lurks in the background, sanding down the edges and dulling emotions you used to experience. Maybe you’ve experienced trauma that jumps out from around corners like the world’s most sinister prankster, dragging you back to places you don’t want to go. These demons all deeply affect our main character’s psyche, and you’ll discover how they contort his perception of the world as you explore his painful memories.
Games that explore tough issues like alcoholism and mental health have been growing in popularity–notably with the success of Hellblade—so now seems like the perfect time for Artifcact 5 to release a game that explores typically taboo subjects. Anamorphine will use visuals and 3D sound to guide the player through not only the game, but their own emotional journey.
Anamorphine centers on Tyler, a freelance nature photographer, and Elena, a cellist. The couple goes through both good and bad times, which we see from Tyler’s point of view. They’re Americans who have recently relocated to Montreal so that Elena can join a notable quartet. An accident triggers Elena’s depression and strips her of her livelihood, emotional outlet, and passion. Things get dark for the couple – not horror movie dark, but the type of dark that we all feel in our most isolating moments.
…the game borders on hallucinogenic. We don’t use the usual text, voice-over, or UI to tell the story. You won’t be clicking buttons to navigate. Instead, we lean into visuals and evocative 3D sound, guiding you where you need to go to work through the life events and emotions that feel like they’ve sculpted themselves into a cage. They’ll show you how to look back at your past – only to have it shatter around you like a torn-up Escher painting. You’ll see yourself get stuck in a nihilistic self-fulfilling prophecy of alcohol abuse and denial. You’ll have to face the future, when living in your past may seem like a vastly more tempting option. By the end, your glass can be half full or half empty, and it’s your choice that determines how Tyler deals with his past and moves into his future.
Cook calls Anamorphine “one of the most mind-bending narrative-driven games you’ll play this year,” which is quite exciting for anyone looking for more emotional and introspective adventures in games. Are you looking forward to delving into the depths of the psyche with Anamorphine?
[Source: PlayStation Blog]