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Three Reasons Why You Should Be Excited For Dream
UK based indie studio Hypersloth recently released their debut title, Dream, onto Steam in alpha form following a successful Greenlight campaign. Although popular among indie buffs, the game is sorely missing much of the mainstream attention that indie games like Fez and Bastion received when they were in the development process. I am here today to tell you why the prospect of Dream should make your heart race and your blood pressure rise. Without further ado, here are 3 reasons why Dream should be on your radar.
1. It Tackles a Unique Subject
As the title of the game would suggest, the subject of Dream is, well, dreaming – specifically of the lucid variety. Simply put, lucid dreaming is a dream in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. Films like Inception and The Good Night have shed light on the psychological phenomenon, but lucid dreaming has hardly ever been a core presence in a video game (LSD Dream Emulator being another ). This sets Dream apart from other games coming out in the near future; the fact that the dream world is an infinite resource means that the Hypersloth has unlimited paths of creativity to explore. The modding community adores games with infinite possibility, which is what Dream presents them with; player created levels could very well find themselves onto the Steam Workshop, providing Dream with life after completion.
2. It is Being Developed With the Oculus Rift in Mind
Now, this may not entice everyone just yet, but as VR technology becomes easier to acquire and cheaper to buy, more gamers will take notice of the fact that Dream has been developed with the Oculus Rift kept firmly in mind. Sam Read, one member of the trinity that makes up Hypersloth, said in an interview with riftvr.com ‘We love the fact that it (the Oculus Rift) takes you even further into the game. As an exploration game we want people to look around the world, and now you can physically do that!’ Concerning actual gameplay with the Rift, Read went on to say ‘We already have (laughs) the first time we ever showed gameplay was at Eurogamer, here the players got the experience an area called “The Catacombs”. Two sections of this we hope lend themselves to the Rift, the first is nearly full of sand, this means it is very claustrophobic down there, the second is filled with a hallucinogenic gas which moves the camera in odd ways, we wanted to see if we could turn some stomachs.’ Clearly, then, Hypersloth have been hard at work to enhance areas for the Rift, making Dream a very promising title for the revolutionary VR headset. This game, in my opinion, looks to be one that will greatly increase the popularity of the Rift, as it is the perfect game for it. A mix of ambient exploration in beautiful environments, coupled with moments of tense, thrilling gameplay (being chased by ominous black smoke through The Catacombs springs to mind, which provides more than a little pant wetting when one is equipped with the Rift), means that Dream provides players with a game that brings out only the best in what the Oculus Rift has to offer.
3. It’s Damn Beautiful
Even if the premise of Dream bores you, there’s one thing that no gamer can deny; Dream looks absolutely gorgeous. Not just ‘good’ – Call of Duty looks ‘good’. Dream’s visuals are effortlessly graceful, subtly vintage, dazzlingly hypnotic – I could go on and on. When Dream releases proper in 2014, Hypersloth and their indie gem will surely be candidates for ‘Artistic Achievement’ accolades come awards season of that year. Created using the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), famous for stunning environments seen in games such as Batman: Arkham City, Hawken, and the Gears of War series, the Huddersfield based trio chose the perfect canvas upon which to craft their aesthetic masterpiece. Sam Read stated in an interview with YouTube channel Killer Bits that the UDK was a ‘designer driven tool’, whereas engines like Unity are more programmer-centric. This means that the young team can focus more on creating a world that they and we want to see, instead of having to deal with frustrating, complicated programming hiccups. The decision to use UDK instead of a Unity-esque engine has clearly paid off. Movement and exploration feels tight, precise and natural (ignoring the glitches in the game that are to be expected at this stage of development), which is important even in a game where more action oriented movements take more of a backstage role. Dream’s beauty doesn’t end on the monitor, however. Norman Legies, the composer of the soundtrack, has put together a series of masterpieces that perfectly compliment the subject of lucid dreaming that is so prevalent within the game. When playing Dream, the player feels as though they are floating through areas, not walking through them, which is largely due to the soundtrack’s enchanting and non-naturalistic orchestral nature. Hypersloth’s visual design expertise and Norman Legies’ incredible composing skill is a match made in heaven. The marriage of these two elements in Dream only serves to make the game an ever more enticing prospect.
So there you have it, 3 reasons why Dream is one to watch over the coming months. Due for full release in Q3 2014, Dream is available on Steam in early access mode right now. Hypersloth’s slice of indie delight will certainly be a game to keep your eye on as development continues over the coming months. I, for one, am thoroughly excited about Dream, as it is a perfect example of why indie development is so important to the industry. Hypersloth could be on to a real winner with their debut title. Here’s to Dreaming big.