Play: a VR "lurking simulator" set on Toronto Island where you're "part coral reef, part Cthulhu"

Filmmaker/writer/games developer Jim "Ghosts With Shit Jobs" Munroe (previously) has just launched his first VR venture. Manimal Sanctuary is a "lurking simulator" that "leverages low-end VR technology to enable every player's ultimate fantasy: to play a creature part coral reef, part Cthulhu, who consumes human emotions. Set after the rest of the city is consumed by gibbering monstrosities, you eavesdrop on the survivors and their dramas involving things like bad potato crops and graffiti tags. And if those everyday emotions aren't filling enough, you can always uncover some devastating secrets…"

You can download demos for Iphone/Android/Chrome, but if you're actually in Toronto, the amazing Gibraltar Point arts center (where I wrote several of my best-received stories, including "I, Robot") is hosting a debut party on Toronto Island this Saturday!

Aesthetically, we are aligning ourselves with what artist Mariam Zakarian terms "Slow VR". Rather than focusing on the visceral shocks the medium is often used for, we have designed an experience that focuses on a gentle unfolding immersion. The storytelling, the interaction, the motion are all meant to steep you in a strange world that makes you think rather than react.

We have also deliberately pulled away from the bleeding edge, instead working with a gaze-based interaction with no buttons or extra peripherals. We strove to make the performance needs minimal so it will work on lower end phones, because we want to connect with an audience who is surprised and delighted with what it can do with their phone, rather than a high end user audience who is angry with what their high priced gear can't do.

Manimal Sanctuary
[Jim Munroe/No Media Kings]