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SpectreVision and Ubisoft’s Transference: It’s NOT a Horror

Transference is a title that you need to know a lot more about. In terms of the gaming world, a lot of buzz is built when a famous actor is heard playing one of the characters, or when a character actually looks like them. Examples are Samuel L. Jackson in San Andreas or Ellen Page in Beyond Two Souls. A recent example is Norman Reedus and Mads Mikkelsen in Death Stranding, which you can see at this year’s E3.

Another game that made an appearance at this year’s E3 also featured a very familiar face, but mostly one that’s working in the development side of it.

Elijah Wood, known for The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, took to stage at the Ubisoft conference to talk more about the new VR, psychological thriller game Transference.

E3 2017

This isn’t the first time that gamers would have heard about this game. In last year’s E3 SpectreVision and Ubisoft revealed their partnership in creating a new VR game.

How does this involve Elijah? SpectreVision happens to be co-founded by Elijah and directors Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller.

At E3 2017, Transference was revealed as a psychological VR experience that delved into human obsession and fear of exploring digitally recreated memories. Elijah describes it as an emotional journey, that will resonate, something you will think about after you’ve played the game.

Your task is to rebuild your family’s memories and think about your decisions and their impact later on in the game.

E3 2018

Despite stating that the game will be ready for Spring 2018, the next time people hear about Transference would be one year later at E3 2018.  This time, Elijah Wood was joined by Ubisoft Montreal’s Game Director, Benoit Richer.

In contrast to last year, they talked more about the plot and the underlying themes at the conference, rather than in an interview.

Transference is a first person, exploration game into a chilling new dimension. Available on VR and other traditional platforms, the game is designed for you to unravel and shift a story rather than for you to merely follow it.

From the trailer, there is a mixture of live-action sequences and defined gameplay footage. It is an exploration into a troubled mind of a scientist. The wife and child are threaded into the world, but there always seems to be a glitch or a shift in the environment.

Transference has been described as a cinematic experience, either due to SpectreVision’s history of film production and so it’s familiar terms, or because when you look at the trailer, it holds a similar resemblance to P.T. in terms of visually.

Transference is NOT a Horror

Two weeks ago, Elijah Wood and The Hollywood Reporter met to discuss Transference further. Here, Elijah clarified that this game is not a horror, but a psychological thriller:

“They described feeling unsettled, uncomfortable, walking away from it and still thinking about what they experienced. That it had an emotional resonance and a psychological resonance over time.

Our challenge is to include and infuse as much emotion as possible, and can that be achieved within the context of a narrative that is open for a sense of discovery.”

It is important that Elijah states that horror is separate from a psychological thriller. The feeling of being scared does not mean that it’s created through a horror genre. It does not take horror elements to create a disturbing game, and a psychological thriller does not mean horror. Even some films have trouble defining the difference.

Whilst this game looks like P.T., there seems to be an underlying message with recollecting memories give the player control over their unraveling of the story. The static and glitches that appear in the gameplay seem to pull you back and forth into thinking what you’re playing is real and immersive, but artificial.

Transference is available to people Fall of this year, on all forms of VR (from PlayStation to HTC Vive), to PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

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