The 2017 release of Polybius, a spiritual VR successor to the urban-legend arcade title of the 1980s, acts as the beating psychological heart of Nine Inch Nails’ new music video. Blending custom visuals from the game with the glazed-over eyes of a female player in a trance-like state, the video plays as an homage to the originally rumored game, as well as a fitting backdrop for the new single: Less Than.
Reportedly, Llamasoft’s Jeff Minter, was contacted a few months ago out of the blue by Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor about an idea for the video that involved his newly released VR game, Polybius. As a PS4 exclusive though, getting the kind of custom footage the band wanted for their video was rather difficult, so Minter sent over an unreleased, modified version of the PC port of the game.
That specialized version of Polybius does a few clever things. As well as operating on the PC, as no released version has yet done, it also pulls up text or a timestamp in time with the music. That made it easier to sync the game visuals with the song itself but also automated the way the lyrics appear on screen at the right time. As Ars explains, the special version of the game also allowed for depth of field and shader changes for slightly customized visuals.
Although Minter didn’t receive any sort of feedback for this version until the final video was released to the public, he and everyone else involved seem rather pleased with its outcome.
“Helping out with the video for the new NIN was one of the most unexpected but most fun bits of work I’ve had, we really enjoyed it,” he said on Twitter.
No doubt this move will expose a wider audience to Polybius as a game and could bring more people into the steadily growing world of consumer virtual reality gaming. While you’ll need a PS4 and PSVR to experience the game at its fullest, for now, Minter has promised that the PC version is in the works and that it should be more widely available in November, when the PlayStation exclusivity deal comes to a close.
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