Final: Cloister

A VR game where the player is the voice in a crazy monk’s head, and they must sway him to do their bidding by impersonating God.

Research Statement

We do all manner of terrible things in games. Violence is commonplace, and is even encouraged in shooting games. How does this change when we have to speak aloud the things we do in VR? What does it feel like to command a virtual person to do something awful? Who do we become when we say “pray to me”, or “kill Brother Emmanuel”?

What can we be convinced to do if we’re told it’s not real?

The game mechanics will heavily rely on spoken commands, supplemented by physical hand controllers in a room-scale VR setting.

I want players to rationalize murder, consciously or otherwise.
The experience will be designed to slowly build the player’s telling them what they’re doing is “OK”. If this is effective, it could result in a moment of emotional catharsis, where they become aware that there’s (symbolically?) blood on their hands.


The project’s main influence is a text adventure called Vespers.
Another is a game called I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,
which is a point and click adventure / horrifying novel by Harlan Ellison.

Finally, my last reference is an awful, old CRPG called Nethergate.
Not for any of its gameplay elements, but for its portrayal of magic,
and for its alt-historical Druidic / Celtic / Roman interactions.

Also, Ubik and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick are major influences, due in large part to Philip K Dick’s rather loose relationship with reality.

My other non-game reference is also literary, but of a different kind. The strange, awful illustrations in Illuminated manuscripts will contribute heavily to the Revelations-esque imagery I intend to use in representing the game’s ending.