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Why Morpheus & Oculus game Loading Human changed its entire premise

Thursday, 22 May 2014 17:02 GMT By Dave Cook

Loading Human developer Untold Games recently re-announced its Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus game, along with a Kickstarter campaign, but why did the team decide to so radically change the concept? VG247′s Dave Cook speaks with the team, and we’ve got some exclusive gameplay too.

This is the brand-new Loading Human story trailer. Watch it before venturing on to get a feel for how the core concept has changed.

When we first reported on Loading Human, it was a first-person adventure game that combined VR and motion to evolve the classic point-and-click format into something tangible and engaging.

In it, the protagonist – a man suffering from alzheimer’s – had to travel through a virtual plane to record his memories, so he wouldn’t forget the life he spent with his spouse. It was a touching concept that sounded quite sad and unlike anything else we had seen these past few years. We were intrigued and eager to see more.

Yet, Loading Human was re-announced this month with an entirely new story, a tech shift from Unity to Unreal Engine 4, Project Morpheus support and a Kickstarter campaign.

It’s now an episodic, three-part tale set in the year 2185 starring a man called Prometheus. The hero has gone from a fading mind to a space expeditionary training for a deep space mission. That’s quite a significant change.

Eager to find out what happened to prompt such a seismic shift, I spoke with the game’s creator Flavio Parenti over email to learn more about why the concept changed, how the new Loading Human uses new Unreal Engine 4 to heighten the experience and more.

loading_human_4

On what prompted the switch in Loading Human’s premise

Parenti: “Telling a story within a virtual reality gaming experience became our main focal point. We were not convinced 100% about the Alzheimer’s plot from the original storyline… it is a sensitive topic and we felt that we were perhaps not quite ready to do it justice.

“We felt we needed a bit more experience before tackling this kind of delicate subject! Therefore we have created a ​​story more accessible for everyone, by playing with our personal dreams. We love astronomy and interstellar travel, so we gave the story an epic scale, but without losing the personal and intimate dimensions that we believe make an adventure game more than a game.

“We want the player to bond with the characters; we want you to support them.”

loading_human_screenshot_hd_027

On the new story

Parenti: “Dorian Baarick is old. To be precise, he’s 172, and he does not want to die. Dorian was one of the great physics geniuses in the 22nd century, he was the inventor of the interstellar engine and by selling it he built his empire. But his hunger for curiosity was such that he decided to steal the time he needed in order to understand the universe.

“To succeed in this venture, he spent all his time and resources to build Lazarus, a device that acts on its DNA, using quantum nano-machines and allows him to slow down the ageing of his cells. Unfortunately after more than five decades, even the impeded cells have reached their limits: Dorian’s body is now saturated with nano machines, and he’s going to die.

“And that’s when you come in.

“You will relive the memories of Prometheus, Dorian’s son, and your task will be to recover a source of dark energy called “the quintessence” which will serve to feed the device built by Dorian, reverse the ageing process of the cells, and restore Dorian’s youth.

“It all begins when you return to your father’s scientific base where you will have to prepare for the mission. Your father is now dying, while an army of robots are building the spacecraft Origin, scheduled to take you to the quintessence and bring you back to your father. There is only one human being in that base apart from your father: her name is Alice. Obviously, something will happen between the two, the flirting will become a love story, a love story that will change all of Prometheus’ plans.

“Prometheus will be faced with two choices. The first one is to go on a 10-year journey and risk losing the love of his life, whilst the second one is to continue to stay on Earth with Alice but sacrifice his father.”

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On how the concept of virtual reality drives the plot

Parenti: “In the three chapters, you will experience many exciting moments, you’ll get lost in the ice, you’ll travel in deep space where there will be a zero gravity scene, you will live the memories of a holiday with Alice on Easter Island, and there will be the scientific base. Dorian will gradually discover that Alice and Prometheus are plotting against him, and his vengeance will be terrible.

“About our VR “pink world” that you’ll have seen in screenshots and video, I’ll try to explain it to you without spoiling the story. During the game, while traveling from a memory fragment to another, you will experience reality bugs, things that don’t work as expected, loops and deja vu. Every time this happens, you’ll end up in our purple VR environment, which is a digital copy of the reality where you will be able to rebuild the broken reality in order to proceed the story.

“How will you rebuild it? Well, for an example, let’s say that you are walking around the kitchen and you take a teapot with a tea bag and some hot water inside. Then, the teapot starts to behave in a weird way, as if it had a bug: it disappears and reappears, changes colour, loses its texture, etc. In this moment, the whole world will stop and go VR, and you will have to fix the problem.

“To do so, you will have to rebuild the history of how the teapot got in this particular state. So, by using your hands, you will have to create a link from the teapot to the cooker, and then link the teapot on the cooker with the hot water tap and the tea bag. By doing so, the teapot story will be established and reality will be able to go on.

“It is a quite a unique gameplay, that merges pure text adventure with motion controllers and VR. Why does all this happen? Well you’ll have to play the game to find out.”

loading_human_screenshot_hd_022

On Project Morpheus and how it compares to Rift

Parenti: “It really sounds like PlayStation has nailed it, but it is still too early to make comparisons. I think it is safe to say that the real deal will be the mass marketed versions of both the systems. In the end, I think everything will come down to the software. Who will bring the best games? Who will provide the best eco system? It’s going to be a very complicated challenge and we’ll do all we can to deliver the best VR gaming experience.

“We don’t believe that it has to be ‘one or the other’, as we’re pretty sure both platforms can coexist and both provide a great experience for their users. About the content: in our opinion, the ball is actually in the developer’s court.”

On how Loading Human uses Sixense motion control (seen above)

Parenti: There are many options to play virtual reality games, but for us the only plausible and long term option is the motion controller. As we’ve said before, when you wear an Oculus Rift or a Project Morpheus headset you cannot see the controller you’re using, that’s why you need a direct visual feedback of your controls INSIDE the virtual world.

“So when you come to this conclusion, the solution seems obvious. We are ahead of the curve, and we need to make some bold choices, but we are sure that the gamepad or mouse+keyboard are not the viable options for the future of “full VR”. We do not want to spend our limited resources on something that results in an impaired version of the game experience we envisioned.”

On how the switch to Unreal Engine 4 has enhanced development

Parenti: “Unreal 4 is a charm. The physics of the engine are solid and it is exactly what we needed to make the experience very real. It has greatly improved not only the appearance, but also the gameplay, which is what interests us the most. In regards to motion control, some SDKs are still a WIP, so we’re still experimenting with that, but we expect it won’t be too problematic.”

On how Untold Games’ discussions with Sony

Parenti: “We can not answer this question in depth, for many reasons, some of which I’m sure that you can guess. However, what we can say is that Sony has proven itself very friendly towards indie developers such as us, and we cannot wait to see what will happen in the coming years for virtual reality. This is so exciting”

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1 Comments

  1. jessicaloddo

    In the next days our press agency will explain everybody why Flavio Parenti has changed the story of Loading Human. Stay tuned.

    #1 10 months ago

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    Major League Gaming has announced the full schedule for the 2015 Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare MLG Pro League. The eSpots firm revealed two more seasons of Pro League, a live Relegation tournament for Season Three, and a season ending World Championship with $250,000 up for grabs You can watch all the action on MLG.tv […]

  • Happy Birthday PlayStation 2, you are almost old enough to drive

    Amidst all the GDC 2015 hoopla today, we forgot to wish PlayStation 2 a Happy Birthday. The system turned 15 years old today, going by its March 4, 2000 launch date in Japan. It was released in the west that autumn, and had shipped 100 million units in less than six years post launch. PS2 […]

  • Here’s what the final version of Valve’s Steam Controller looks like

    A look at the updated Steam Controller has surfaced via a hands-on post from Polygon. Valve said what you see in the images below is the final version of the controller. The controller has gone through numerous revisions since it was first revealed, but it seems Valve has decided on two touch pads which work […]

  • The Sims, SimCity developer closed down

    The Sims 4 developer Maxis has been shuttered, EA has confirmed. The Sims, SimCity and the rest of the Sim franchise has traditionally been helmed by Maxis, which had its flagship studio in Emeryville, California. Now EA has confirmed with Kotaku that this studio is being closed. “Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to […]

  • Gigantic MOBA coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One with cross-play

    Today during GDC 2015, Microsoft announced that the new IP from Motiga called Gigantic will be cross-play enabled. Slated for Windows 10 and Xbox One, the five-on-five third-person battle arena game allows the player to select from an array of heroes with distinctive powers and play styles. Players will then make their way through areas […]

  • Here’s a look at Unreal Tournament DirectX 12 gameplay

    Epic Games is creating Unreal Tournament using Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, which Microsoft says “sets a new bar for visual fidelity.” DirectX 12 is a single API developers can access across Windows devices, which can result in a 20% improvement in performance over DX11 running on the same machine. The Unreal Tournament […]

  • Wireless adapter for Xbox One controllers out later this year

    Microsoft announced at GDC 2015 today it will that all wireless Xbox gaming accessories will be designed for and supported on both Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs moving forward. Later this year, a wireless adapter will be released, allowing current Xbox controllers and future devices to be used wirelessly on PCs. This will […]

  • Microsoft offers up more details on Spencer’s GDC 2015 talk

    Microsoft has provided more details on Cross-Buy functionality between Windows 10 and Xbox One as well as the Xbox Live SKU and other announcements made during Phil Spencer’s talk today. During the session, the head of Xbox shared “the next step” in the company’s plans for a unified platform across all Windows 10 devices which […]

  • Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 this summer

    Wasteland 2 is coming to PlayStation 4 as a Game of the Year Edition. inXile Entertainment announced the news on the PS Blog, noting the edition contains enhancements and improvements. The game has been ported to Unity 5, which was announced over the weekend, providing upgraded visual effects, “improved character models, upgraded environments, and Unity […]

  • Cross-Buy detailed for Windows 10 and Xbox One; Elite: Dangerous coming to Xbox One

    During Xbox boss Phil Spencer’s session at GDC 2015 today, it was announced Elite: Dangerous would release on Xbox One. Spencer also outlined cross-buy functionality across Windows 10 and Xbox One. Spencer’s talk started off with Frontier Developments announcing Elite: Dangerous for release this summer as a console debut on Xbox One, suggesting the Elite: […]

  • Longbeards Culture Pack available now for Total War: Attila

    The Longbeards Culture Pack is now available for Total War: Attila and it comes with three new playable factions. The Langobards, the Burgundians and the Alamans can be played in both single and multiplayer campaign modes as well as custom and multiplayer battles. A new feature called The Lay of Ybor is also included. It […]

  • Nvidia unveils Titan X as world’s “most advanced GPU” – video

    Nvidia revealed Titan X as “the world’s most advanced GPU” during Epic founder Tim Sweeney’s State of Unreal session a t GDC 2015 today. Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang took the stage during the panel stating it contains “8 billion transistors,” and has 12GB of RAM. Pricing wasn’t announced, but it was rumored back in January […]

  • Steam sale discounts titles announced for SteamOS

    With many of the year’s most popular games heading to SteamOS, Valve has decided to host sale in celebration. Here’s a short list of titles on sale. The full list of PC, Linux, Mac and SteamOS discounts can be found through the link. The Banner Saga Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Batman: Arkham […]

  • PayDay 2 announced for SteamOS, celebrating with franchise sale

    PayDay 2 is coming to SteamOS, Overkill has announced. Still under development, a release date will be announced at a later date. “Making sure PAYDAY 2 is available on SteamOS felt like a no-brainer,” said Bo Andersson Klint, CEO of Starbreeze in the press release. “With PAYDAY 2: Crimewave Edition coming to the next generation […]

  • Magicka 2 has a release date and a crazy new trailer

    Magicka 2 has a release date for PC and the PlayStation 4, and Paradox Interactive has released a trailer featuring “Vlad’s latest lyrical triumph,” which is his rendition of the Game of Thrones theme. Magicka arrived on PC and PS4 May 26 and the game can be pre-ordered on PC beginning today, with PS4 pre-orders […]

  • Nintendo eShop schedule: Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone, others

    Nintendo has sent over a list of titles heading to the eShop in 2015. The schedule contains titles such as Affordable Space Adventures, Runbow, Swords & Soldiers 2, Don’t Starve: Giant Edition, Never Alone and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars. Below a preliminary list of games scheduled to launch in the Nintendo eShop on […]

  • Week 8: Can you win the weekly VG247 GTA Online playlist? Play tonight at 8pm UK time!

    We’re hotdogging tonight. I don’t even know what that means. Eight weeks of ridiculous death. Such a brave, true milestone. We’re going to celebrate two entire months of playing weekly GTA Online playlists with VG247 readers with Hotdogging, a set of six jobs I named completely at random. This one ends with a straight-up border […]

  • Puzzle platformer Four Sided Fantasy coming to PC, consoles in early 2016

    Curve Digital and developer Logan Fieth’s studio Ludo Land are bringing puzzle platformer, Four Sided Fantasy, to PC all major consoles in early 2016. Ludo Land are developing the PC version, with Curve Digital handling the console and Vita versions. Four Sided Fantasy tasks players with venturing across “dreamlike levels” by controlling and manipulating the […]

  • Tropico 5 arrives on PS4 in April – video

    A release date for Tropico 5 on PlayStation 4 has been announced. This is the franchise’s first foray onto PlayStation consoles. It arrived in Europe on April 24 and in North America on April 28. A Limited Edition has also been announced, and it includes The Big Cheese DLC and the Bayo Del Olfato sandbox […]

  • Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain Limited Edition PS4 releasing in Asia

    A limited edition Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain PlayStation 4 system will be released in Asia. The system and its DualShock controller were designed in collaboration with Konami Digital Entertainment and targeted for the Asia region, per Gematsu. It will be released as part of PS4 Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain […]

  • This video shows Sid Meier’s Starships being played on iPad

    Sid Meier’s Starships will be released on iPad alongside Mac and PC, and to give you an idea on how it plays on the tablet, a new video has been released. Watch below as Pete Murray and lead producer Stuart Zissu show off the iPad version. The 4X space-strategy releases on March 12.

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood announced as standalone prequel to Wolfenstein: The New Order

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a standalone prequel to The New Order, will release May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The game takes pace in 1946, and and players take on the role of B.J. Blazkowicz as he embarks on a two-part mission in Bavaria. Part one, Rudi Jäger and the Den of Wolves, […]

  • Observer Mode coming soon to Evolve as a free update

    Observer Mode will be released for Evolve as a free update for all platforms, 2K and Turtle Rock have announced. The community feature was designed to give Evolve players the ability to observe and add commentary as well as livestream, allowing a sixth user to “passively enter a custom game” with the ability to switch […]

  • Dragon Quest Heroes and PS4 top Media Create charts in Japan

    The PlayStation 3 and PS4 skus for Dragon Quest Heroes were the top sellers on the Media Create charts in Japan, moving a combined 594,749 units. Elsewhere on the chart, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was in third place with 39,751 units moved, and last week’s top seller, God Eater 2: Rage Burst, […]

  • Watch Hideo Kojima answer lots of your burning Phantom Pain questions

    What’s better than learning the official release date of MGS5: The Phantom pain? Hideo Kojima talking more about it, of course! Hideo Kojima has decided to answer a few fan questions about Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, to help boost everyone’s hype to insane levels. He talks about the game’s story, his relief […]

  • MGS5: The Phantom Pain Day 1 and Collector’s Edition revealed

    Konami has officially revealed the release date of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain alongside the game’s Day 1 and Collector’s Edition. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will release September 1, worldwide, as previously leaked. It will be available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The PC Steam […]

  • EU Club Nintendo: Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soundtrack back in stock

    Club Nintendo members in Europe can once again pick up The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds soundtrack. For 3000 Stars, members of the program will receive the double-CD soundtrack which features 89 tracks with liner notes from Ryo Nagamatsu and 12 sheet music excerpts. It also comes with 16 Milk Bar Musician pieces. […]