Reshape reality in this first-person adventure game coming to PlayStation 5.
Hello wanderers, I’m Gwen, co-founder and director at SOS. We are very happy to welcome you to Viewfinder, our first game as a studio. In it you, the player, can reshape reality with photographs, found objects, and a camera. That may sound confusing, but I’ve always found that the best way to explain the gameplay of Viewfinder is to experience it. For this reason, we are proud to reveal that you can do so today, in the new Viewfinder demo at PlayStation Store for PlayStation 5!
When we were first developing the placing photos mechanic, we focused on what felt good and fun. Having a camera, taking photos, and placing things randomly in space to alter reality is very exciting and amusing. But we were very mindful that placing found objects in new spaces also meant destroying what was previously there. Things can get complicated and confusing, especially if you accidentally delete something, like a teleporter, as these mark the end point of each puzzle and take you to the next challenge or even to the end of the level. We wouldn’t want that. This would mean dead ends and as much as the core mechanic is interesting, it limits the things we wanted to do and would be an unpleasant experience for anybody.
Sometimes playing games can feel like work and resetting a whole level’s progress can be discouraging, especially when the solution is at the tip of your tongue. How could we give players the freedom to explore the world we’ve built without fear of consequences? So we thought of what else we can pair with this camera mechanic so that it doesn’t punish, but actually encourages trial and error for people figuring out ways to move forward.
The answer is Rewind.
We wanted to encourage experimentation and remove the fear of failure. Now when you stumble upon something that would have otherwise been game breaking, you can just turn back time and try again! It is very important that people play the game at their own pace and discover things in their own way. It doesn’t matter how you play the game, as long as you have fun along the way. After that, the game felt way fuller and concrete.
In the words of the Cheshire Cat, “Imagination is the only weapon in the war with reality.” Viewfinder gameplay became this unique experience that can only exist in the video game medium. Because it is so absurd, weird and far removed from reality, we wanted to ground it with things from the real world. The space you’re exploring should feel lived in and real. Instead of trying to make something wholly original, we did our best to figure out how we can bring who we are, and what makes us happy into the game. Like sitting, we really like sitting down.
Adding in elements that are so closely tied to who we are as people can be complicated and scary. It takes a lot of hard work and vulnerability to translate feelings into a video game and hope people resonate with them. But it turns out that this was the best part of making this game.
We’ve put in a robot vacuum cleaner and some of the places and paintings we love. There’s a bonsai mango. There’s a watermelon with a headset. Guitars. Electric guitars. Plants. Tea cups. The evil eye. Bread. A photocopier. What happens when you put the impossible triangle in 3D space? Does it go on forever? What will “The Scream” painting sound like? What’s inside a child-like house drawing? Do blocks fall when you place a picture of them in the sky? Is it a stair or is it just lines on the wall?
This is why we have a cat in-game. CAIT will be your companion as you learn more about the world we’ve built. And if you ever feel frustrated at a level, we encourage you to pet the cat. Now cats growl when they’re pleased, some people might call it purring, and some might call it growling. But yes, pet the cat.
So you get to rewind time and pet a cat.
Creating is freedom, but at what cost? You can learn more about this when you play Viewfinder. The demo will be permanently available on PlayStation 5. And we are very excited to release the full game on July 18. We hope you love the game just as much as we do.