Here’s a thing I wasn’t expecting to be writing this (or, indeed, any) week: Bill Murray’s high-concept 1993 comedy vehicle Groundhog Day is getting a sequel. And it’s arriving in the form of a virtual reality game.
As announced over the weekend, developer Tequila Works – previously responsible for fascinating VR murder mystery Invisible Hours and the sublime Rime – has been hard at work turning Groundhog Day into a virtual reality experience for Oculus Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Murray’s Groundhog Day character, Phil Connors, won’t be the focus this time around. Instead, that role falls to his son, Phil Connors Jr – who, just like daddy (the sequel is subtitled Like Father Like Son), finds himself trapped in the town of Punxsutawney, destined to repeat the same day over and over.
As you’d expect, Groundhog Day the game is structured around that time loop, with Tequila Works promising “deep branching narrative gameplay and full interaction with all NPCs” as players attempt to break free of their ever-repeating day.
Interestingly, Groundhog Day will apparently build on the mechanics of Tequila Works’ Invisible Hours, which somewhat resembled an immersive theatre production, enabling participants to roam around an extravagant mansion at will, eavesdropping on its inhabitants (and murder suspects) as events unfolded in real-time – all in a bid to find out whodunnit.
In Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son, however, the developer says it “wanted to go a step further by making the player an active, disruptive element in the story, giving them more narrative choices to have a key influence on the storyline.” And honestly, as unlikely an endeavour as the whole project initially sounds, I’m actually pretty intrigued – especially given the teaser trailer’s obvious panache.
Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son is due to release some time this year on Oculus Rift, Vive, and PlayStation VR, and Tequila Works says it’ll be revealing more details soon.