Version 1.3 of the “living stories” platform sees Versu freed from the perils of internet connectivity, allowing you to “read on the beach, the plane, anywhere you like!” (subject to roaming agreements, sundry charges and so on and so forth, obviously). A small step, perhaps, but a welcome one, given I’d been worrying that Versu was going the way of Creatorverse and was on a “fire and forget” trajectory.
More particularly, and equally quietly, the Lab added two more titles to the Versu range at the start of August. Whereas the initial stories marking Versu’s launch were all set in the Regency period, the new titles, Office Politics: The Interview and Office Politics: The Launch Party, are comedic pieces set in a modern office environment (“Disruptive Technologies”), which introduce a cast of characters common to both, including:
- Dave, the overly friendly boss who really wants to be liked and respected
- Alice, the snarky feminist graphic designer who wishes she could just make art
- Patrick, the former frat boy who thinks he’s way better with the ladies than he actually is
- Jordan, the keener fresh out of business school
- Linus, the quiet senior programmer who resents all the constant distractions from his real work
- Storm, the ambiguously gendered die-hard fan of the hit TV series, Professor Whatever.
Both of the new stories are penned by Deirdra Kiai (“Squinky” for short!), a writer, musician and games developer. Commenting on her decision to go the route of a modern setting, she says,
I found the choice of a modern-day high-tech office to be ideal to write for in this system, because of all the meticulous social rules and procedures involved in a corporate setting. I also thought it would be a great excuse for characters of varying ages, backgrounds, and beliefs to come together and clash with one another in interesting and sometimes comedic ways.
An interesting side-point to this is that Deirdra has created an additional game Jamey Beanman’s Burrito Quest, based in the same universe as Office Politics, which uses dio. However, at the time of writing this article, the dio space had been set to private / limited access, and so could not be investigated.
The arrival of new titles for Versu is long overdue, given it is nine months since the app launched, and during that time there has been little or no news on it or its future development from the Lab, although Richard Evans has been talking about the potential of the Versu engine in a range of simulation activities. If the Lab really want to keep interest in the app alive, I can’t help but feel that they should be doing more to ensure that titles are regularly released – and nine months doesn’t entirely fit “regularly” that well. They also need to see a more diverse range of titles produced, and as such these two new pieces – presumably the first of a series – is a good step in that direction.
There’s still no news as to whether Versu will move beyond the iPad and into the Android, Windows and Linux tablet realms. A move to Android had been promised prior to the app’s launch, but again, whether this is going to be the case is only likely to be discovered if / when the Lab announce it.
In the meantime, for those of you who do have Versu – or at least have an iPad and are looking for a fun, interactive read, go take a look at Deridra’s titles!