Like many VR experiences, A Fisherman’s Tale plays with perception. The latest project from developer InnerspaceVR, creators of FIREBIRD—La Peri, A Fisherman’s Tale puts you in the tiny boots of a puppet named Bob. You’re no ordinary puppet, however; you’re a fisherman living in small cabin blissfully unaware of the outside world. As a nasty storm rolls in, your world is turned upside down—literally—when tasked with powering a nearby lighthouse to save the day. From here, things go from slightly strange to spectacularly surreal, as you wander outside the cabin, meet eccentric characters, and solve whimsical puzzles.
To hear more about A Fisherman’s Tale, we talked with InnerspaceVR Creative Director Balthazar Auxiétre.
What makes A Fisherman’s Tale unique among VR puzzle games?
The gaming mechanism at the core of A Fisherman's Tale, the recursion principle, has allowed us to craft unique and rewarding puzzles. And with Innerspace's storytelling DNA, A Fisherman's Tale embraces the importance of narration within story worlds. We feel the storyline itself is quite unique and we don't want to spoil it too much here.
Can you talk about how A Fisherman's Tale plays with perception and scale?
We call it self-cooperation because the avatar you control also controls other avatars simultaneously, all of which replicate a player’s moves at different scales; bigger and smaller versions of yourself. It's an interesting concept, and it works extremely well in VR, so we expanded this mechanic into a core gameplay principle.
How did you go about designing the game's multidimensional puzzles?
It's been a back-and-forth between finding interesting gameplay principles, writing the story, crafting story-based puzzles... it was an iterative process where gameplay and story would nurture each other instead of one constraining the other. This yielded a lot of engineering and coding challenges, which made the development of the game as mind-bending as the gameplay itself.
What first inspired you to make a game like A Fisherman's Tale?
Since the early days of VR, creators have been playing with scale. Back in early 2016, we made a few scenes in VR to test some ideas. One of those ideas was to put the user in a room containing a copy of the same room, only smaller. Both rooms were then placed in a much larger room with a different-sized avatar in each. We found it immediately interesting. Later, we worked on a gameplay proof of concept around the recursion principle. Eventually, we started to work on story and characters, and the project took on a life of its own.
Do you see VR evolving the adventure and puzzle genres? How so?
We are absolutely convinced that without VR there would not be A Fisherman's Tale, mostly because the recursion principle itself wouldn't be as exciting if you were not, as a player, experiencing it firsthand. The value added through VR when experiencing a story world—a core part of puzzle adventure games—is immense. VR might just be the best platform for these types of games.
Grab your rain slicker, slip on your galoshes, and step inside A Fisherman's Tale today!
— The Oculus Team