Review: The Multitude by Jamie Gledhill
You have been chosen to save humanity from the clutches of an evil demon, but the real question is, can you raise The Multitude?
In this socially distanced two-person interactive experience, you must work together and complete the tasks set by the four elemental spirits of nature. Only then will you be in with a chance of saving the world and everything in it.
Created by Jamie Gledhill, who was also my BSc Games Development lecturer during my first year at NUA, the work is focused on a blend of audio and visual design to immerse the player into the world of The Multitude.
When first entering the playable area, you are greeted by a projection of yourself that you can use to interact with environments displayed on large screens that surround you from the front and sides.
This adds to the immersion of the experience because not only does it draw the player closer into the story, but it also hides any reminders that you are in a testing room.
The Multitude itself is a group of warriors that need to be called upon to help save humanity, however, to get their help, the player must travel to four areas and work with the spirits of nature to cure their land.
These areas are a forest, the ocean, a desert, and the sky. Each of these can be saved by the players working together and with the environments to solve nature’s issues.
How it’s made
As an interactive experience, the projections of the players are the central mechanic, and the interactions are created by using the Microsoft Kinect for Windows. This also allows the players to communicate and look at each other for assistance as well as their surroundings which is something that would not translate as well to a game using a virtual reality system.
The gameplay keeps the player involved but does not give them enough power to disrupt the narrative and the changes of the backdrops and character models for each area create a visually aesthetic way of moving the story forward.
From the perspective of another developer, it was reassuring to see that projects such as this could create such an immersive experience, without having to physically place the player inside the game world.
Although there will have been thousands of lines of code created to make this experience, it highlights how much can be achieved by a very small selection of creators.
The thought behind the game
After completing the experience, I spoke to Jamie about the parallels between The Multitude and what has been happening throughout the world over the past year.
He commented that he had wanted to highlight the importance of working together, even if we could not physically interact, just as we have been doing throughout lockdown and due to the restrictions still in place because of the pandemic.
Overall, The Multitude creates an immersive experience set within the context of interactive design and focuses on bringing people together after a long time of being forced apart.