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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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An underwater alien world shows you where music videos are going next

virgo
An underwater alien world shows you where music videos are going next

We’ve seen plentiful VR music videos kicking around the depths of the internet as virtual reality has come to fruition. But what we haven’t seen as often are active (rather than passive) music-oriented games. Games with a specific goal in mind. Games that need direct player intervention in order to feel whole. Games that complement the music, rather than use it as a mere mechanic. Games like electronic musician Virgo’s Water Planet, a full-blown interactive accompaniment to her same-named EP, currently in development for Windows, Mac, and the HTC Vive.

Virgo, the musical project of filmmaker Elizabeth Ann Clark, describes her alter-ego as “an elven alien-space elf from a blue planet” in an interview with The Creator’s Project. A space elf, who in Water Planet, returns to her long-abandoned planet. Water Planet is both a listening experience for Virgo’s music, and a full-fledged game in itself. In Water Planet, Clark notes that the player is essentially what would be seen as the lead in a music video. At the start of the game, the player lands their spaceship onto their once-inhabited planet to refuel the ship, now tasked with traveling around to collect the necessary crystal shards to repower the ship. Exploration is not resigned to mere walking across lands, as the player must also submerge beneath the sea to swim and use flying orbs to transport to various destinations.

The world in Water Planet is unlike the one we know around us

Water Planet thrives on the meshing of Virgo’s ethereal music with the game’s ocean-saturated visuals—created in part by Clark herself, and the electronic music and videogame collective The Revera Corporation. The world in Water Planet is unlike the one we know around us. Everything is a soothing blue. The world is desolate, mostly uninhabited (except for alien flora and fauna). Water Planet is a peek into the background of the mysterious Virgo, and contextualizes the project with a rooted, realized fantasy. With the HTC Vive (or through regular Windows and Mac gaming needs), the player can explore the environment as if they were there on their own two feet.

water planet

Water Planet, in fact, is the start of a series of additional immersive audiovisual experiences from The Revera Corporation. Water Planet’s production may have spawned from an entirely different mode of artistic expression, where Clark taught herself the nuts and bolts of game development through Unreal Engine. It was through this that Clark first created dizzying visuals for her live performances. Eventually, it seems, a game was the next logical step in a project where she “envisioned Virgo as a music video project where the music would be secondary.” And Water Planet was born.

Water Planet has been Greenlit on Steam, and you can await its eventual Windows, Mac, and HTC Vive release here. If you want to hear more from Virgo, you can listen to her EP here.

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