Sony's E3 press conference had a lot of violence, a lot of desaturated colors and a lot of bleak outlooks on the future, but it also had a very small mouse named Quill, who stars in the upcoming PSVR game Moss. During an otherwise predictable cavalcade of grim visages and man's inhumanity to man, the Moss trailer's bright art direction and downright precious protagonist shone through more vividly than anything else on offer.
Aside from being one of the only existentially hopeful games at the event, Polyarc Games' Moss was also unique in that the main character, Quill, is not the player character. Rather, the player takes on the role of a Ghibli-esque spirit that supports Quill on her mystic journey, helping to solve puzzles and manipulate the environment, but never controlling Quill directly. This places Moss in the very small category of support games, where the player's job is to empower someone else, rather than live out their own power fantasies.
The video game industry is desperately in need of more concepts like this. We need more games that emphasise relationships based on care, based on the growth of someone else, rather than the perfunctory one-way interactions that funnel self worth towards player characters in most modern games. We need more games that show how much satisfaction there is to be had in helping someone else succeed, which looks to be the main foundation of the Moss experience.
Moss won't be out until "holiday 2017," according to the Polyarc Games website, so we'll have to wait until then to see if the game is actually, like, good. At first blush though, I care more about protecting this tiny perfect mouse than I do hunting for treasure, killing zombies or fighting gods.