tinyBuild, publisher of such games as Speedrunners and Punch Club, announced today their intention to publish their first virtual reality title, known only as Stage Presence. The game was announced as coming to ‘VR platforms’, indicating no particularly targeted VR device, and is being developed by Manchester, UK developer Sea Green Games.
While Stage Presence is already unusual for being tinyBuild’s first venture into virtual reality, the premise of the title’s core gameplay may come off as positively bizarre to some. The game positions the player as the lead singer of a band, currently playing a concert in front of a large crowd, when the electricity cuts out. The main available peripheral that you can use, then – both in the game and real life – is your microphone, which you must use to entertain the crowd for a sufficient amount of time until power can be restored. It is then obviously of note to all prospective buyers that yes, you will need a microphone to play this game – a requirement very rarely seen for PC games.
During the game, several challenges are seen to arise – poor weather and items thrown from the crowd are intended to prevent the player successfully completing their improvised performance, Stage Presence appearing to be a title that primarily plays upon typical stage fright and anxiety to increase difficulty. While this may sound like a gimmick to some, Stage Presence promises to go further than many of the VR environments released so far and establish itself as a full game, complete with a ‘full story mode and unlock system with multiple venues’. The game is also expected to launch with full Twitch live-stream integration, as well as a multiplayer mode whereby other players act as crowd members to create distractions for the singer, similar to the AI in the singleplayer campaign.
While Stage Presence has been in development by Sea Green Games’ Jon Dadley since at least June 2015, the formal announcement of this title may be further evidence of tinyBuild’s rapidly expanding publishing schedule. The company was known initially for its work as the developer of the 2011 title No Time to Explain, a considerably more expansive remake of a Flash game title by Tom Brien, tinyBuild’s co-founder – since then, tinyBuild has become a publisher of 17 games on multiple platforms, nine of which having been released or announced for release in 2016.
Stage Presence was shown to PAX East convention goers following its announcement at the event – while no peripheral exclusivity has been announced for the title, it is of note that the game was demoed to the crowd using the Oculus Rift, indicating that the HTC Vive’s room-tracking and controller features will likely not be utilized. Additionally, it has been announced that the game will still run on flat-screen monitors for those who do not yet own a VR headset, however the game appears to be designed primarily as a virtual reality experience.
Stage Presence has been announced for a release on Steam and Oculus platforms this summer – for more information on Stage Presence, see the official publisher’s website.