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 feelin