Visiontrick Media recently unveiled a mysterious game called Pavilion. The independent development team is describing it as a “fourth person exploratory experience about guidance, influence, and subliminal control.”
Beyond that, details about the game are scarce. To attempt to shed some more light about what Pavilion is, I talked to Visiontrick Media’s Henrik Flink.
“The premise very much came out of us experimenting with how you interact with and influence an AI driven character,” Flink said, describing the game. “After further exploration within this area and everything boiled down to a couple of subjects that we felt were strong enough to build an experience on. At this time, we were also intrigued by the desolate beauty and mystery of many 19th-century landscape paintings and soon found that a similar visual appearance would suit both the mechanics and the context we had settled on.”
The term “fourth person experience” sounds interesting, if a little unclear. I asked more about what exactly this term means. “The ‘fourth person’ idiom sprung out of the fact that we were looking for a way to describe the standpoint of the player towards not being in any direct control over the main character,” Flink answered. “The ‘no direct control’ idea we found is rarely used in gaming and generated some new interesting aspects of how one interacts and develops a relationship with an in-game character, especially when the player is not in any commanding position. AI and interactivity is something unique to games so we wanted to try to make the most out of it within the walls of Pavilion.”
Pavilion takes place in a surreal world unknown to the player and to the character. The game’s main driving forces will include investigation, observation, and exploration. Players will journey across mysterious areas that include mystical ruins, baroque gardens, and other dreamlike landscapes, where both the player and the main character will find purpose within those places. Flink explains that Pavilion’s world is chopped into individual areas that are logically connected to one another. “Having a continuous world where the player can be immersed and feel compelled to explore is something that we value a great deal and we are putting a lot of effort in getting it just right,” he said.
Pavilion began life as a small puzzle prototype that Flink and his partner, Rickard Westman, created a year ago. While it did not harbor the mechanical depth that they had hoped for, they found enough salvageable elements to start fresh. “It led us in a completely new direction,” Flink added. “After a lot of conceptual soul searching, we found the game evolving around the subjects of subliminal manipulation and indirect control. Not only in a game mechanical sense but also in a more conceptual and theoretical sense, it became important for us to find something that worked as well in the world of mechanics as in the world of context.”
Visiontrick points out that work on Pavilion is just beginning and that the media currently on the game’s website is meant to test graphics, level design, and other features that are yet to be implemented. Flink says that their ambition is to create a focused and coherent experience that fully represents their vision, meaning some of the current assets may undergo some change before the final release. However, he also notes that the game’s visual atmosphere will most likely remain the same.
Flink hopes to have Pavilion ready for a late 2013 release, but indicates that Visiontrick will be taking their time with this game. Look for it to arrive on desktop and mobile devices as soon as it’s ready.
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