Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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This visual novel is bringing avant-garde stylings to virtual reality

This visual novel is bringing avant-garde stylings to virtual reality

CAVYHOUSE, a team of Kyoto-based game developers, have always had a distinctive visual style for their games. They’re developers who are avant-garde in their very nature, whether it’s seamlessly blending game genres, or playing with their geometrically intricate art style in fresh ways. Their “organ-clicking” management sim Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden made the bleak reality of farming organs into a delightful, and even calming, pastime. This Starry Midnight We Make tasked the player with creating celestial objects, by way of other simulation games. Now a year apart from those two games, CAVYHOUSE have announced their next project: a virtual reality visual novel entitled Midnight Cathedral.

feel dropped into the story, with no need for interactivity

Being a doujin soft team, all of CAVYHOUSE’s works share a unified visual aesthetic, and even share characters—though their motives and backgrounds may vary per game. In Midnight Cathedral (also known as Mayonaka Garan), we return to guide Hamomoru Tachibana, the heroine from This Starry Midnight We Make. Except in Midnight Cathedral, the circumstances are direly different. Hamomoru has been invited to an old religious town to celebrate a newly built hallowed cathedral. Upon arrival, she learns that the villagers don’t worship any average God—they worship an ominous saint. Eventually, the saint physically manifests in the old-natured world, and the “balance between the living and the dead blur.” Or, so says the game’s description from this year’s BitSummit, where the visual novel was on display.

In case you were wondering, yes, Midnight Cathedral will be available in English.
In case you were wondering, yes, Midnight Cathedral will be available in English.

CAVYHOUSE have dabbled in visual novels in the past—both Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden and This Starry Midnight We Make have visual novel elements—but not of the VR-centric variety. Midnight Cathedral is a new challenge for the team in this way, now that narrative is the pure focus. In terms of interactivity itself, CAVYHOUSE are taking a step back on the play aspects, instead adhering to a more relaxed approach. “Our game aims to make the player feel dropped into the story, without a need for such interaction,” they wrote for BitSummit.

Midnight Cathedral was first revealed earlier this year, with English trailers arriving for the game in late October. The game will be released in Summer 2017 with both a VR mode and a cinematic mode for all non-VR owning players. 

You can download the BitSummit demo for Midnight Cathedral here (if you’re not fluent in Japanese, remember to press ‘E’ for English text). The game is set for release in Summer 2017.

midnight cathedral
midnight cathedral
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