“We have no need of other worlds. We need mirrors,” says Snow in Stanis?aw Lem’s 1961 novel Solaris. Part science fiction, part philosophical meditation, Lem’s book inverted the usual tale of extraterrestrial exploration. Rather than focus only on the strangeness of another world, Lem used its insurmountable mysteries to deconstruct humanity and its own limitations instead.
Quartier Rouge, a first-person exploration game from the Paris based collective Le Chant du Cyne, is trying to do something similar. Inspired by Andrei Tarkovsky’s cinematic adaptation of Solaris, and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama series, Quartier Rouge is set to take place in a “vast and deeply immersive cylindrical world” not unlike the titular alien spacecraft from the latter.
While the game looks to be still early in its development, the screenshots associated with it, as well as the art its creators have assembled for research purposes on their devlog, are mesmerizing.
According to the independent game collective, composed of Gaël Bourhis, Simon Chauvin and Romain Enselme, Quartier Rouge is special in that its world is responsive to the player’s glance. In the game, players will “discover awe-inspiring places, objects and symbols that act and react when observed,” according to the designers.
Still somewhat cryptic, so as not to spoil anything, Le Chant du Cyne elaborated slightly in a recent tweet. When asked by another developer what people do in the game, the collective responded, “I’d say that you explore and use a sight mechanic (active and passive) to experiment with strange creatures.” Le Chant du Cyne hopes to release the game sometime in 2016.