Via a post on PlayStation’s blog, it was announced that indie developer Llamasoft, founded by Jeff Minter, is going to be releasing a PlayStation VR exclusive game titled Polybius. The game is described in the blog post as “ludic psychedelia.” The title is a reference to an old urban legend about an arcade cabinet that existed in the early 80s that, after some time, vanished without a trace. That Polybius was according to legend in Portland, Oregon and would cause players a number of negative psychological effects like nightmares or insomnia. The game was also supposedly incredibly popular and players would often show signs of addiction. Some have even gone as far as to say that the game was a part of MK Ultra and that mysterious men in black would be near the arcade. The truth is that there is no concrete proof that the game ever actually existed.
Despite all the spookiness associated with that name, Minter says, “I just want people to feel the speed rush, the relaxation, the euphoria.” In the PlayStation blogpost, Minter goes into great detail about how he came up with the idea for this PlayStation VR title. In essence, Minter was taken to a warehouse filled with a multitude of arcade cabinets. He was taken to play one cabinet in particular and describes the experience in incredibly vivid language. Minter says of the game he played, “My heart was racing and I felt a really weird combination of exhilaration mixed with a deep-seated anxiety whose origin I couldn’t identify. It felt like waking unexpectedly from a dream and for the first few seconds.” A few years after this experience Minter decided to try and recreate the feelings of that game because, “The time and the medium was right now for me to attempt a game to at least in part replicate the effects.”
Polybius is playable at Play Expo in Manchester and according to Minter the game is nearly complete. The title screen and some gameplay footage of the PlayStation VR Polybius can be seen below.