Hands-On With Xing: The Land Beyond at PAX Prime

Posted by | September 14, 2015 | News, Video | No Comments

Xing: The Land Beyond is a puzzle and exploration game destined for the Oculus Rift and PC. In it you explore mysterious, dreamlike worlds, and uncover the stories of the people who lived there.

Originally the game was just intended for PC, but during the Kickstarter campaign people kept asking for Oculus compatibilty as a stretch goal. The developer, White Lotus Interactive, met the goals and loved working with the Oculus.

“We fell in love with it immediately when we hooked it in,” developer John Torkington told me. Xing is a game of lush environments, making it a natural fit for virtual reality. “It’s abstract, and it’s kind of dreamlike,” Torkington said.

Xing Lake environment

In the game, each of the four levels that you explore is associated with a character who lived there. By solving environmental puzzles and reading poems, you learn their stories.

“You get to experience their life as a ghost,” said Torkington. “You’re trying to kind of figure out the mysteries of the afterlife. So by traveling to someone’s story you get to see their environment, where they lived, the things that troubled them.”

The levels are inspired by different historical or cultural contexts. The level that I played at PAX Prime was a beautiful tropical island where a woman seemed to have been a castaway. Her poems were about waiting, loneliness, and death.

Xing Day Night Beach Puzzle

There’s an added layer of fantasy as well. In that level I was able to cycle between day and night to reveal paths across a pool of water. I was curious about what it means to design environmental puzzles into virtual reality.

“When you have a true 3-D sense of an environment, you really can tell what the scale is,” he said. “You can cheat a whole lot on a monitor. You can have markers, you can have 2-D indicators onscreen that can help you out. But in 3-D and VR you can’t really do that, at least organically. So a lot of our UI and our puzzles are designed around general human sight conditions.”

The game has been announced for spring of 2016.

Simone de Rochefort

About Simone de Rochefort

Simone de Rochefort is a game journalist, writer, podcast host, and video producer who does a prolific amount of Stuff. You can find her on Twitter @doomquasar, and hear her weekly on tech podcast Rocket, as well as Pixelkin's Gaming With the Moms podcast. With Pixelkin she produces video content and devotes herself to Skylanders with terrifying abandon.