17-Bit's VR survival game Song in the Smoke is looking lively

If you picked a developer to make a VR survival game, it probably wouldn't be Galak-Z and Skulls of the Shogun developer 17-Bit. Nonetheless, 17-Bit is going for it with survival game Song in the Smoke, which comes to PC VR and Oculus Quest this summer.  A new look at the game from the Upload VR Showcase has a nice-looking overview of what Jake Kazdal and team want to accomplish.

Song in the Smoke will attempt to feel real as a game, with animals that behave depending on their own state. A hungry deer is more frightened of you, while a full one might watch you out of curiosity. "The little, subtle touches is something you can do so much more effectively in VR than in a flat screen game," Kazdal said in the mini-documentary about Song in the Smoke. Song in the Smoke's day/night cycle is about encouraging you to explore in the day and stock up by improving your camp at night.

Song in the Smoke has a lot going on, but its biggest emphasis is on being a self-contained world with its own rules for you to explore and survive in. That world is a primordial one, with weird and interesting creatures designed by gaming art legend Katsuya Terada. Much of the game is about evoking the feeling of exploring, but also about the feeling of being a needy, living being in a natural world. The rustle of a branch, for example, is given as an example of something that's either terrifying—a predator approaching—or delightful—a songbird taking wing. 

"We're hoping that this is one of the first games that people can take their time with, really get lost in," said Kazdal. "I'm expecting players to be able to really enjoy the beautiful landscapes, these primitive giant forests we've built, and really just lose themselves."

You can learn more about Song in the Smoke on its official website.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.