When actor Elijah Wood appeared on screen during Ubisoft's E3 press conference, his little face wedged between scenes with banks of old TVs and weird technology, I briefly though Ubi were making a game based on the unexpectedly great Dirk Gently series off Netflix. Nope! Wood was there to gab about Transference [official site], a collaboration between Ubi and the production company he co-founded, SpectreVision.
Transference is a "psychological thriller" jacking into the digitally-recreated memories of a family to explore (and maybe alter) how they their lives got muffed up. Despite what this E3 trailer might suggest, virtual reality goggles are not mandatory:
Ooh they do go on, don't they. Let's turn to the documents Ubisoft have dumped.
"In Transference players will live the reconstructed memories of a family, trying to peace each of their stories together," Ubisoft say. They expand:
"Players will navigate a digital recreation of the mind, working to unfold the secrets of a home concealing a corrupted truth. While exploring and solving the mysteries of the house, players will cross paths with a family, each member with a story and a unique perspective on events buried in their memories. Every choice made by the player will have consequences and influence the family's fate."
What do we actually do? Ubi say:
"The mechanics of Transference will feel approachable to those who live narrative based games with puzzles; you are free to explore, discover and interact with objects. At first glance, the interactivity may seem simple, but what makes it unique is the ability to change your perspective of the world and influence events through space and time adds great depth and challenge. But it's vital that moment to moment interaction is simple so players can immerse themselves in the storytelling and unfold the mystery of Transference."
It's funny, seeing idea from small independent games get picked up by mainstream games years later.
Oh! I thought the name SpectreVision sounded familiar. They were the production company of A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and The Greasy Strangler. I'm more interested now. (The Greasy Strangler could be painfully try-hard, mind.)
Ubisoft call Transference a "true collaboration" between themselves and SpectreVision (which also includes Daniel Noah, Josh C. Waller, and Lisa Whalen), with the teams bouncing bits back and forth daily. They say this is the first collaboration, suggesting more might follow.
Transference is due in spring 2018. As much as Ubisoft gab about virtual reality in relation to Transference (it'll support Vive and Rift), it won't require goggs - screenfolk are welcome too.