Dunedin mobile games studio Runaway Play is launching a VR version of Flutter, its popular butterfly title.
Flutter VR is "a relaxing, meditative experience that a player can comfortably immerse themselves in for short gameplay periods and feel utterly transported to the tranquil rainforest", Runaway said.
It will launch for Google Daydream on December 12.
The game has players locate and examine real butterfly species up-close, observe their realistic behaviours, and photograph them for an adventure journal:
Take on the role of a researcher and discover the magical beauty of butterflies and moths! Over five days, see the environment change from day to night and rain to sunshine as you meet and discover new creatures. Unlock journal entries by discovering species, photograph each new find and immerse yourself in the relaxing world of the rainforest!
It is set in the Amazon, and there is a day/night cycle and a campfire, alongside other creatures to check out.
According to Runaway, accessibility has been an important factor in the design and testing of Flutter VR, in terms of designing a game for a number of often overlooked groups.
The game has been designed specifically for women, and also has a strong focus on accessibility for non-VR users and for people with disabilities and limited mobility.
Improving physical accessibility to play has also been a driver. Tested in conjunction with rehabilitation organisation Southern Rehab, Flutter VR was refined as constant user testing feedback was gathered, reducing motion sickness effects and increasing relaxation through the use of a soundtrack evoking ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response).
Runaway said Flutter VR’s narrative gives it a very particular appeal for new female gamers.
"Flutter VR is unapologetically a game made for women," said Runaway Play creative director Emma Johansson.
"As a studio team, this project design, coupled with our past experiences has honed our focus on ensuring we make VR experiences that are accessible to all and have a positive effect on players.
"It’s all too easy for us as developers to design for the world we are accustomed to living in, in the way we are used to experiencing it. It takes effort to go beyond that," she added.
"We believe it’s worth it. Game audiences will benefit and grow. VR as a medium will benefit and grow, too.
The launch of Flutter VR follows recent news of the Dunedin-based studio’s expansion moving to a new, larger space and hiring new staff.
Runaway was founded in 2010, and has three non-VR casual mobile games to its name: Flutter: Butterfly Sanctuary, Flutter: Starlight and Splash: Ocean Sanctuary. All follow the theme of collecting nature-based creatures in a relaxing gameplay environment.