Yesterday during the Games for Change Festival in New York City a new virtual reality (VR) title made its debut to players, allowing them to try an underwater experience. The title, Lost City of Mer, is being created by Liz Canner and Gregory Bennett and is hoping to inspire players about the impact that humans and their carbon footprint are having on the oceans.
The experience will take players to the mysterious underwater Mer civilization where much of its flora and fauna have been destroyed. Players will become the first Mer(maid) to have been born in decades and will befriend a baby seal spirit by the name of Athina before heading off on a journey through the remnants of the metropolis. Players will follow Athina using a unique swimming locomotion system that has been built especially for this title. On the journey Athina will show players the devastating effects of climate change and ocean acidification which have ruined Mer’s ecosystem. All hope of restoring Mer falls into your hands.
Lost City of Mer has been created within the Unreal Engine for the HTC Vive and combines a smartphone application with VR platforms. By utilizing a groundbreaking living narrative structure, the title is able to provide a new dimension of gameplay where player’s real world actions impact the story that unfolds in VR. The smartphone application will allow players to make progress within the videogame even when they are not in VR ensuring the experience can be enjoyed in many ways.
The mobile application primarily serves as a pedometer that will track the user’s steps and challenge them to walk instead of using means of transport that use fossil fuel. These tracked steps then unlock milestones that enhance the experience within the Lost City of Mer VR component and help restore the lost civilization. There are plans for future chapters of the title to reward other forms of carbon reduction as well which will further encourage players to think about their carbon footprint.
With a unique locomotion system in place and a story with elements of sci-fi and mystery, a mobile application along with a strong focus on educating players, the Lost City of Mer is shaping up to be a unique gameplay experience.