Fixing up an old tower without tools sounds tough, but much less so when you have an army of robotic clones at your disposal. That’s the idea at least behind The Last Clockwinder, a VR automation game from Pontoco which is slated to hit Quest 2 and SteamVR headsets sometime in Summer 2023.
Update (April 13th, 2023): The Last Clockwinder developer Pontoco announced today that it has signed on with Cyan Ventures (the publishing arm of Cyan Worlds, ,the studio behind Myst, Obduction, and more) for publishing support, affirming plans for a Summer 2023 release date on Quest and SteamVR (though a specific date has yet to be announced).
The studio has also partnered with “boutique video games consulting agency” Robot Teddy (which has backed projects like SUPERHOT VR and Among US) who has contributed an unspecified amount of funding and will assist the studio with business development.
Speaking to the inception of the project, studio Pontoco said that it hadn’t specifically set out to make a VR game, but it found the tech was a natural fit for the mechanics they began to explore.
“We didn’t set out to make a VR game, initially. But we stumbled on this mechanic, and the more we played with it, the more we realised we had to make this game. We wanted to make an automation game, but where you were the machines. Unlike traditional automation games which have cumbersome programming steps, we worked hard to make the action of cloning effortless. You do normal tasks with your hands, and the clones are kept in perfect synchrony. Everything just works, every time.”
The original article, which overviews the game, continues below.
Original Article (December 3rd, 2023): Studio Ghibli vibes radiate throughout the game’s announcement trailer, showing off a familiar harmony between nature and machine that fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s storytelling style have come to love.
While on your mission to repair the ancient tower, which the team reveals is built into the trunk of a colossal tree, you find a pair of gloves that essentially lets you record your movements and spawn an army of clockwork automatons. It ends up feeling like a mini steampunk version of Factorio crossed with an immersive take on the cleaning montage from Howl’s Moving Castle (2004).
Automatons help you grow plants, harvest resources, and “find a way to save the clocktower,” Pontoco says.
What is it being saved from? We’re still hoping to find out, as the game’s world-building looks already so mature that there must be some lore behind it all.
As it is, The Last Clockwinder seems rich with possibility, as you no doubt need to learn recipes and craft increasingly complicated things in your effort to get the old tower back in shape—something that definitely looks like a labor of love.
The Last Clockwinder is slated to arrive natively on Quest 2 (re: not the original Quest) and SteamVR headsets sometime in Summer 2023. You can wishlist the game on Steam here.