Clandestine: AnomalyAs I talked about recently in a story on Anki Overdrive, I like developers who try to push mobile gaming in uncommon directions, and ZenFri, a Canadian company with a deep passion for storytelling and experience in producing interactive media, has decided to do just that with its upcoming game, Clandestine: Anomaly. The company aims to blend traditional gameplay, like tower defense tactics,  with location-based AR to create a memorable story. While most developers employ AR technology simply to enhance gameplay opportunities, ZenFri appears to emphasize the storytelling side of the game by employing AR in the hope that using a player's real location will help ground a sci-fi story that would otherwise feel too distant. According to an interview with VentureBeat, the premise of the game centers on your phone getting hijacked by aliens who need your help to survive.

Clandestine: Anomaly

We talk about immersion in gaming very often, usually associating it with great music or visuals, but music and visuals can't compete in immersiveness with seeing on your mobile screen what looks like movie-quality aliens with your nearby park as the backdrop. This blending of the digital and the real, the fleeting and the permanent, opens fascinating storytelling and gameplay avenues that I hope more developers pursue. Still, AR has its issues and limitations, not so much technological (our mobile devices have more than enough processing power to handle high-end visuals and use GPS and gyroscopes effectively) but rather limitations like limited internet bandwidth and mobile batteries that don't last as much as they should.

Clandestine: Anomaly

ZenFri appears to have considered these issues and has ensured that the game is playable without using the AR side of it, if you so desire. Now, if the AR technology will work as intended or not remains to be seen. I wonder if AR excites you or whether you consider it too gimmicky for mobile gaming. Is there a specific kind of game that you think AR would work well with, and is Clandestine: Anomaly that kind of game? The game releases next week, so keep an eye out if AR interests you or if you just want to try a different mobile gaming experience.

  • Wizard_Mike

    The neighborhood park? Yeah, I'm sure all the parents of the kids playing there would feel comfortable with some dude walking around and holding up his phone like he's using the camera as long as he tells them he's playing a game where he's fighting aliens. What could go wrong?

    • Wizard_Mike

      Sarcasm aside, I don't see the appeal in games like this. If I ever play games in public, it's just for something quick and simple (like a run or two in YMBAB for example). If I have time to play for a longer period of time, it will be at home, and I'm certainly not going to go out and walk around the neighborhood to play a video game. Maybe that's just me, though.

      • iAjent

        Yep, I agree. Might be fun for kids I suppose, but I don't want to look like a wally spinning around on the spot holding my phone in the air!

      • Clandestine: Anomaly

        I totally get what you mean. Some games are designed to be quick and simple contained experiences. Just like YMBAB (which we love here at ZenFri). Everyone likes to spend their time differently. Some enjoy staying at home and diving into Netflix or playing through an expansive narrative like The Witcher. Some people like going outside and filling their days with activities. Clandestine: Anomaly is a game that doesn't limit your video game experiences to the couch.

    • Clandestine: Anomaly

      Hey I'm Adam, Clandestine: Anomaly's community manager! Your concern is not something that has been overlooked. Clandestine's use of the camera is limited to 20 second increments, where the user would be primarily pointing their device toward the sky (where you constructions and enemies recide). As long as you have the confidence to take a selfie in a public space, or don't live somewhere with flying children, you should be ok!

      • bigrand1

        Well, I gotta agree that that game mechanic could end up getting someone in trouble, especially someone my age! The thought of wizard mike's scenario gave me a serious belly laugh thinking me doing that would lead me to be taken to jail or the loonie farm! Could be a deal! But I'm sure the dev was just using that as a demo, as any place will do! You'd be surprise how immersive it can be! Hey, it's not like people are gonna be stumbling into you and falling all over the place wearing their VR goggles like zombies! (funny to think about, though) Sitting in your room, living room, works great! The blending of the digital and the real is very cool and I am excited to get my hands on this game! The sound effects are rad! Gonna dig this! Soon as I get it, I'm headed with it down to the most crowded kiddy-playground in my area! (LOL!)

  • islesfan

    How does this differ from the GhostBusters game?

  • imcookie

    They are playing outside in the sun so there's two problems right away.

    1. It's doubtful that you would actually be able to see anything due to the Suns glare.

    2. You would look like a complete bellend phew phewing in public, plus your likely to get a slap around the lips for doing so (which would be well deserved)!!

    • redharvest

      you should get a screen protector to reduce glare.
      most people dont try to fight each other for taking pictures of the sky