Official Chrysalis trailer. Edited by Yimin Zhang. Music by Kelly Chen.
Chrysalis is a whimsical undersea VR exploration game. Players start out stargazing in a small fishing boat on a calm ocean but are soon snatched up by the “Chrysalis”, a large sea monster that doubles as both a living incubator and a mad scientist’s lair. In the belly of the beast players meet Adam, a stir-crazy anglerfish, who serves as the player’s guide and companion throughout their journey within the Chrysalis. As they navigate the twists and turns of the corridors and puzzle rooms, players will encounter other funky sea creatures trapped within the lair and uncover dark secrets as they make their way through obstacles and challenges to freedom.
With Chrysalis, we wanted to craft a narrative experience where players can digest the story at their own pace. In the game, players have the option to dig deeper and uncover the myth behind the “Chrysalis” by interacting with and exploring their environment or simply swim around and have a good time. In this game, players have the ability to craft their own experiences and progress at their own rates.
Early Chrysalis concept art by Brenda Chen.
We decided to make the game in VR because of its immersive quality. This was really important to us because we wanted players to physically feel as if they had been transported to an alternate universe and that they are part of the world they are exploring. We felt that this would make the game more compelling and memorable.
Our main goal with Chrysalis is to transport players to a wacky and fun-filled alternate universe that is compelling to explore. We wanted our world to tickle the senses with vibrant colors, patterns, and effects as well as funky synthe tracks and underwater alien sounds. It was important to us that the experience feels imaginative rather than rooted in reality to give players a sense of wonder and excitement as they explore the world that we built for them.
Early concept art of Dr. Blob's laboratory. Art by Catherine Chen.
For the narrative, we went down a darker path where we introduce players to the evil that dwells within the Chrysalis. As players learn more about the shenanigans that take place in the underwater lair, they will begin to understand the danger they are in and will need to rely more on their creature companions for comfort. However, while dark, we wanted to inject a sense of humor into the narrative. To achieve this, we populated the world with characters that were slightly creepy but still loveable and wrote playful, distinct dialogue for them. For instance, the main companion, Adam is an adorably squishy angler fish with a heart of gold and a tendency to freak out. We want players to experience a slight sense of fear, but ultimately bond with the characters and have fun.
At its core, Chrysalis is goofy and playful.