For the VR gamers in our audience, I was able to grab a peek at around ten minutes of footage from Moss: Book II. As of today we all know the game’s release date is only weeks away, and this virtual media tour was part of the equation. We also had some QnA time with Polyarc Principal Engineer and Designer Josh Stiksma, who walked us through the video footage.
We saw two levels, both of which take place after Moss: Book II’s opening. That said, we know from previous outreach this game picks up right where the first left off, as Quill moves to leave the castle she spent the last game breaking into. First we saw a bright and colorful outdoor area, where a new game mechanic was introduced. One of the team’s main goals was to enhance the physical interactivity between Quill and the player, who is more or less a disembodied hand manipulating the environment and guiding the mousey hero. So, in Book II the player will be able to do things like cover walls with climbable vines or pull a plant across a gap to form a bridge.
We skipped ahead just before Quill entered a dungeon, and the video turned to the inside of what Stiksma called an Arcane Refinery. In this sequel we see the enemy forces kitting monsters (like the first game’s crabs) out with tools or armor, adding extra challenge to combat. To counter that, a new hammer weapon was introduced. Quill will be able to swap weapons via an inventory, and the hammer lets her hit switches, break armor and of course pummel foes.
The player can also interact with the hammer with a “charge” mechanic. Quill will signal to the player she needs an assist, and you can basically conjure a larger, incorporeal version of the hammer that can handle more imposing obstacles. While players will have agency over which weapon they use, certain situations will demand specific solutions. There can also be puzzle situations with enemies, such as the “Ripper,” which acted almost like a pinball for Quill to launch and activate a mechanism.
According to the QnA following the footage, Moss: Book II will be several hours longer than the first. Of course a lot of that depends on how much players explore, but generally speaking there’s more of a story presence here, and more bigger scale boss fight encounters. So there’s more story, more exploration (with some gated backtracking!) and more combat.
Essentially, Moss: Book II is a lot more Moss, and that’s exactly what I imagine fans wanted to see. This ambitious VR sequel is set to hit the PlayStation VR on March 31, 2022. Other platforms will not be supported at launch, but the team intends to look in other directions once the PSVR version is done.