I’ve just had a waking dream. After a brief introduction from Lead Researcher Raymond Hayes, I’ve been injected into a PTSD simulation in its earliest form called “The Walter Case”. Using the Oculus Rift, I slowly walk through what appears to be a three-bedroom house, but not everything is as it seems.
As I walk through the house I see a few items call out to me. A pair of keys, a magazine, a photo frame. As I touch these, I’m given a small bit of information – a view into the world of a very disturbed veteran of the Desert Storm conflict. His PTSD has clearly had some level of impact on his family – something I discover through walking through the years of his life.
Touching the keys, I figure out that they are the keys to the basement. Descending into the poorly lit room, I see a glitch representation of someone I can only assume to be Walter, shouting and mumbling to himself about the state of his life. As I walk up to investigate, he glitches towards me in a fairly Ring-movie-like way, heaves a shotgun towards my face, and pulls the trigger.
I’m back in the hallway, and now it seems to be a different year. The fruit that was fresh on the table is now rotten. The picture frame from the wall is missing, and the child that was telling me I wasn’t supposed to be here before running off seems to be gone. I search the room and notice that I still have the keys from the previous year. Walking into the front room, I see Walter once again, with predictable results.
I’m back in the hallway again, only this time I know where Walter is. Cutting through the kitchen, I find that the door is locked. Using the key, I descend once again into the basement. Walter is upstairs so I’m free to explore. I find Jenga blocks that blow apart and disappear when I touch them, glitched magazines and pictures, and the missing picture frame from upstairs. Picking it up, the glass shatters and it becomes old before my eyes. I hit the light switch upstairs and I’m teleported to a new time.
The house is now pristine and more alive than ever. Placing the picture frame, the house suddenly goes dark and the spectre of the small child I saw before runs into the hallway. He once again declares, now more loudly, that I shouldn’t be here and flips the light switch.
I’m back in the hallway again. Is time looping? What’s going on? I descend to the basement and everything becomes pixelated and bizarre. I approach what was once the laundry room area and find a nearby door. Opening it, I find myself in a red tinted room. The Jenga blocks I had found before float in midair. A child’s voice calls for his daddy in a rapid fashion and there appears to be no escape. As I approach the blocks the voice becomes distorted, but more urgent. Finally, aligning them as some sort of window to see through, a door appears. Approaching it, I see the worst possible sight and I have no idea what to make of it.
Inside the small room is a figure. It alternately glitches between man sized and child sized, holding a shotgun next to his side. A dead body lies bleeding on the ground. The man, clearly distraught, shrieks that he can’t take it anymore, inverts the shotgun under his chin, and proceeds to end the demo in the most shocking way possible.
I have just had a waking dream. I have just experienced a small slice of the world of Transference, and despite the assurances of Dr. Raymond Hayes, I do not feel safe, much less completely safe.
Ubisoft has always embraced new technologies, and VR seems to be no exception. This game is an absolute mind-screw, and I couldn’t be more excited. This is what this platform was built for, and there’s no substitute for experiencing it yourself. Whether your heart or your mind can take it will be a question you’ll have to answer for yourself.
In the mean time, I can only apologize that there are not yet any assets to share. You’ll have them the moment I do! Look for Transference in Spring of 2018 for PSVR, Vive, Rift, and mysteriously listed “Xbox One”.