William Chyr isn’t your typical game developer, and his first game, Manifold Garden, doesn’t look quite like anything else we’ve ever played. After studying physics and economics as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, Chyr worked for several years as a sculptor and installation artist before taking an unexpected turn into game development.
Manifold Garden (formerly known as Relativity) — for which he cites the space-warping sequences of the film Inception as an inspiration — combines that academic background in physics with his experience designing immersive, artistic spaces. The result is a mind-bending, first-person puzzler that promises to challenge the player’s basic conceptions about space, gravity, and the shape of the universe.
Set in seemingly infinite architectural structures that look ripped from the mind of M.C. Escher, Manifold Garden allows the player to alter the direction of gravity as they explore. An increasingly difficult series of puzzles and environments tasks the player with undoing all of their assumptions about exploring a space with a fixed up and down, and instead learning to truly think in three dimensions.
After several years of seeing the game on display at various industry shows, we finally got a chance to catch up with Chyr on the floor at E3 2016, so he could tell us a bit more about Manifold Garden. The game is currently in development for PlayStation 4 and PC with no release date yet announced.