Who would have thought it worked? ‘Lucky’s Tale’ is an unexpected approach to 3D Platformers in Virtual Reality
Paul Bettner, co-founder of the game company Playful was part of the team that brought us Words with Friends. With the 3D Platformer Lucky’s Tale, Paul Bettner and his team at Playful try to bring platforming to the Oculus. After experimenting with a few prototypes, they decided to keep the traditional approach: Control the character from a Third Person perspective. Suprisingly so – but it seems like a legitimate choice.
‘Lucky’s Tale’ is reminiscent of Super Mario 64
If you watch the ‘Lucky’s Tale’ video below, you’re first reaction probably will be something like “Looks very colorful and nice, but why not from a First Person perspective?”. Apparently the Playful team decided to go with the traditional 3D Platformer approach, because the Third Person perspective does much more in ‘Lucky’s Tale’ than put you in the camera’s position. For the first time ever, you are inside of the world, thus acting more like an active spectator. You can look around steep cliffs and find treasures hidden behind rocks, just by turning around and leaning forward. ‘Lucky’s Tale’ looks and feels like Super Mario 64 or Jak & Daxter. Could playing a 3D Platformer in Virtual Reality be a lot more different, than we might have expected it to be?
A new layer of fun? The “active camera man” approach
In ‘Lucky’s Tale’ for Oculus you are no longer a slave to a fixed camera – you are in a sense an active camera man. There is still an invisible rope between you and Lucky, but you can choose to change perspectives any time simply by looking around. It’s more like you would be following the lead character with a camera and putting him into position at the same time with a controller. Seems to me this is the new kind of layer, that traditional game concepts need, in order to be revived for a Virtual Reality experience. Besides the obvious choice to make First Person games, we could find a lot of unexpected fun in games using the Third Person perspective. Making the player an active camera man, adds to the most important aspect of Virtual Reality Gaming: make the players believe they are actually in another world – not just a passive spectator with control over a playable character. Being able to look around in an otherwise very traditional game makes one hell of a difference – you will try it out yourself when the consumer version of Oculus is being shipped. ‘Lucky’s Tale’ will be available on the Oculus Launch from Day 1 according to Playful CEO Paul Bettner. Watch the ‘Lucky’s Tale’ video from GT to see the game in VR action.