PlayStation's Datura Hints At Experimental Art Gaming

Sony announced a new addition to their online platform PlayStation Network called Datura yesterday. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be something to get too excited about, but this game has more than a few intriguing things about it. For one it’s a collaboration between Santa Monica Studio and Polish demoscene group Plastic Studios, who’s game director Michal Staniszewski announced the news on PlayStation’s blog.

Secondly, the game itself will be for PlayStation’s motion controller Move, and claims it will use the controller in an innovative way which hints at ideas of immersive gaming, where you’re tricked into thinking you can reach out and touch things. This is what Staniszewski says on the blog:

Finding yourself in a mysterious forest, you will navigate your way through the game by controlling your character’s hand using Playstation Move technology. From here, you are immersed into the game’s unique experimental narrative and original way of interaction, which enables you to experience the world not only visually, but also empirically—an illusion that you can actually touch trees, faces, and other objects.

While taking inspiration from film-like narratives, Datura is a story you get a chance to participate in. As the player travels through the game, they encounter choices and face their consequences. However through these puzzles it is the element of anxiety that Datura explores: was it a right or a wrong choice?

Lastly the name datura is also the name of a sacred plant, nicknamed Jimson weed, used in shamanic rituals to induce alternate states of consciousness. Coincidence? Further fuel for the fire is that a few years back Plastic Studios released Linger in Shadows in the PlayStation Store, a popular interactive art game further proving they have previous experience releasing these types of game in the commercial arena. Take a look at the snippets found on YouTube above that claim to be of Datura, featuring a disembodied hand clutching at objects in the “mysterious forest” mentioned by Staniszewski.