Embrace the primal wilderness of PS VR survival game Song in the Smoke – PlayStation.Blog


The sun goes down and the thick trees cast long shadows over the forest. My fire also fades, its light flickers in the dark. I hear a growl from the bushes, soft and hungry.

I have a question. How do I survive the night?

That’s the same question we at 17-BIT want to ask ourselves as you play our brand new VR survival game, Song in the Smoke, coming to PS VR in 2021.

Song in the Smoke’s World is a beautiful yet deadly song, but luckily it also gives the player a number of options to keep themselves alive for another day. I drive through them quickly as the monster in the bushes approaches.

I could make a stronger weapon. I have a branch and could get my knife to cut it into the perfect shape for a new bow before stringing it with a string that I dried yesterday. Or should I break the wood, break it in half with a flick of my hands before burning it for vital warmth, hoping the flames will last all night keeping everything that is following me in check.

Or I could turn the tables by trying to chase what chases me. I can hide from the animal and then find it by tracking its scent and following its footprints, taking the time to crouch in the blanket of long grass and sharpening my senses before aiming a shot with my bow and an arrow in his lose heart.

Or maybe I should try to find a new campsite before the sun goes down. I saw a strange green glow on a cliff yesterday, but night was falling and I had to return to the warmth of my fire. There is still some daylight, I could climb this rock face and uncover its secrets, take a torch to light my path and deter the beasts of the night.

Song in the smoke

Survive or die

The first priority is always to survive in Song in the Smoke. That means searching for food to satisfy hunger pangs and choosing safe campsites to sleep in to avoid exhaustion. It also means preparing antidotes and cures for poison and injury, staying warm, making clothes, and making fires as I move from forests to plateaus to frozen peaks.

It also means defending myself against attacks from the predators that share this world with me. Song in the Smoke’s Beasts move at a weight only possible in VR, and their attacks feel like they’re being hit by a furry train. But while they have their teeth and claws, I have my own weapon – a handcrafted bat – that I can use to block and repel their attacks. It is not easy to face 200 kilograms of angry lion, but if I adjust my distraction just right, I can disorient the animal long enough to escape its attention. Or I could even hit back and swing my bat with my move controller to use its tail between my legs to get it to safety. If I’m really lucky, my blow could knock him down for good and allow me to loot his corpse for trophies and other valuable resources.

Song in the smoke

Practical survival

It’s a dangerous world, but thanks to PS VR, my survival is in my own hands. I eat by putting food in my real mouth; Turn herbs into tonic by mashing them with tools and pouring them into containers, and carving wood by bringing a knife to the surface. When I have to defend myself or hunt for my dinner, I can rely on human instincts too. Firing a bow feels natural: I pull the string with my Move controllers, focus my eye on the arrow, and let go. If I get it right my goal will be hit in his heart and I’ll have dinner tonight. If I miss, my prey will be frightened and I wasted an arrow.

If I want to eat right, I need a fire. After I’ve built a pit, I’ll smash two stones together and hope for the spark that will ignite my kindling, before slowly making my precious campfire and turning its embers to a blazing flame. With enough fuel, I can keep it burning all night, ward off the creatures that call the darkness their home, and make sure I can wake up rested.

Are you afraid of the dark

When I feel more courageous, I can capture part of that fire with a torch and venture into the dark. Some of Song in the Smoke’s most prized rewards are in the cover of darkness, but I have to be careful. The night, as it was for our distant ancestors, is a real danger, and I am not the only one roaming the depths of the forest well after my bedtime. Predators lurk in the dark, watching from the shadows of my flickering torch. They are joined by something else – something really original – that keeps track of the midnight hours.

But when I explore my surroundings, start learning their secrets, track down their items, and fight their predators, I can do more than just survive – I can start to thrive. I can make better weapons, build tanning and drying racks to upgrade my items, and equip myself with warmer and stronger clothes. When I’m ready, I can make plans to move on to the next zone, in the direction of the mysterious giant tree in the distance, fueled by the visions of a strange shaman who seems to live in another world.

At first glance, the world of Song in the Smoke is like our own, but spend some time in its incredibly beautiful rooms and the strangeness becomes evident. Deer drink at water points next to dangerous bipeds with purple feathers; Strange weasel creatures frolic in the foliage before disappearing into the undergrowth, and venture on your journey to catch a glimpse of an animal so large it looks more like a clumsy boulder. Your journey may seem like a lonely journey, but if you are lucky you can also spy on some kind souls who guide you on your path or the remains of people who may have come before.

Choose life

Every time you play Song in the Smoke we want you to ask yourself the same questions. Should I make a new bow or get along with old believers? Is this the perfect campsite or should I pack up and move into this cliff side cave? Am I ready to fight this strange shimmering monster I saw just above the ridge line?

And above all: how do I survive? In Song in the Smoke, the choice is yours.

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Robert Dunfee