Prolific American author Philip K. Dick is perhaps best remembered for his contribution to science-fiction. If you can’t place the name, I’m sure you’ll have heard of films made off the back of his Orwell/Huxley-esque interpretations of state control and altered consciousness, including Blade Runner, Total Recall (the good one, obviously), and A Scanner Darkly. Inspired more broadly by Dick’s writing and ideas, the upcoming Californium [official site] is a strange and wonderful first-person game about a writer who seems to be slipping between realities as his life falls apart. It looks great:
This collaboration between production companies Darjeeling and Nova Productions is reminiscent of Dick’s 1978 novel VALIS, which explores the idea that somehow the illusory visions the protagonist suffers from have scope to reveal secrets about reality. It’s not an adaptation of VALIS, mind, but plays with Dick’s ideas and themes as a much simpler video game variation – a proof-of-concept, almost – that’s been brought to life by French illustrator Oliver Bonhomme. The above trailer shows a world where nothing is as it seems and everything is subject to change as if by the hand of some external force. It looks beautifully surreal and captivating whilst at the same time positively terrifying.
Speaking to Ars Technica UK recently, Darjeeling digital producer Noam Roubah said:
“When you read Philip K. Dick, you realise the dystopia is not in the aesthetic, but its portrayal of human beings. His books were very fun and we wanted to keep this aesthetic. The idea for Californium itself came about in 2011 when the creators were pondering what to create for the 30th anniversary of Philip K. Dick’s death. It’s really interesting to work on this man, this writer. Everything he wrote in the ‘50s and the ‘60s is now part of our modern world. The dehumanisation of human behaviour, the internet—these were all in his books.”
Californium is due for release in early 2016.