The acclaimed post-apocalyptic photography game Umurangi Generation is bound for virtual reality. Developer Naphtali Faulkner and publisher Playism today announced Umurangi Generation VR, which is heading to Meta Quest 2, Meta Quest 3, and PlayStation VR 2 on 18 April 2024. The non-VR version is heading to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on the same date.
Set in Tauranga on the brink of disaster, Umurangi Generation sees players documenting the world and its impending doom through the lens of a camera, with an authentic photography system that encourages creative expression. The VR version will offer much more natural movement and interaction with objects, an increased level of freedom for creativity, and a greater feeling of immersion.
While photo bounties give players goals to chase, creativity is the game’s driving philosophy. “The moment you tell players what is or isn’t a good photo this will condition players to take photos in a prescribed way,” said Faulkner. “You cannot punish creativity. In this game the objectives can be completed in thousands of different ways. From looking at gameplay footage, players are finding creative ways of taking a Photo Bounty that I never could have imagined.”
Umurangi Generation draws inspiration from a lot of places: games like Jet Set Radio and Pokemon Snap, PlayStation 2-era aesthetics, Faulkner’s Māori heritage, and the bushfires in Australia. He saw the fires that painted the skies red “as a dystopian omen of the destruction the earth was experiencing, juxtaposed by the news and politicians brushing off the situation as the ‘New Normal’.”
Umurangi Generation originally launched for PC in 2020, followed by Switch and Xbox releases in 2021 and 2022, respectively. It’s been well-received since its release, praised for its biting social commentary, photography simulation, and creative vision. It’s also received several prestigious awards, including the Seumas McNally Grand Prize and the Excellence in Narrative awards at the Independent Games Festival Awards.