Virtual and augmented realities are quickly gaining a foothold in modern times. But are we sure that's a good thing? The upcoming dystopian cyberkpunk adventure VirtuaVerse by Theta Division Games promises to be a cautionary tale of the misuse of technology and power – albeit with a distinct pixel art presentation and rocking chiptune soundtrack.
VirtuaVerse is set in "a future not so far away" ruled by one dominant AI. Governments have "become obsolete and society is migrating to a permanently augmented world managed by a global neural network." Players control an "outsider" named Nathan, who refuses to submit to the new system and is "making a living off the grid as a smuggler of pirate gadgets and cracked software." One morning, however, he awakens to find that his girlfriend Jay, an "AR graffiti writer whose drones have been bit-spraying techno-color all over the augmented space in the city," disappeared during the night and "broke his custom AVR glasses leaving just a mysterious message on their bathroom's mirror." In his attempt to find Jay, Nathan soon finds himself getting "tangled in an unexpected journey involving technomancers, AR graffiti rebels, digital archeology, epic cyberwars and virtual reality debauchery."
While the game's setting and technology are clearly futuristic, its presentation is decidedly retro. So too is the gameplay, as VirtuaVerse is inspired by the point-and-click genre classics. Promising "story-driven puzzles and dialogues," the game will also include some additional elements like an AR system that you can turn on and off once you've fixed your broken glasses, as well as other unusual puzzle-based mechanics to provide some alternative approaches to problem-solving. The hard-driving synth music in the trailer should come as no surprise, as the game is being published by Blood Music, originally an "extreme metal record label" now branching out into their first game production.
In development for over a year already, there's still another year to go before we'll see the release of VirtuaVerse, hopefully in the first quarter of 2019. The plan is to launch for Windows, Mac and Linux at first, with a mobile port to follow and possible consoles later on.