A multiformat massively multiplayer game is the first of a series of experimental games that will lead up to a final full game release from the new Guildford-based studio in around three years' time.
Curiosity is set in a white room, inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, with a mysterious black cube hanging in it. The question it sets is, what’s inside? Made up of millions of smaller cubes, players will be able to tap them to break them – and here’s the kicker – there’s only one cube in the world, so everyone’s tapping away at the same object, exposing the layers beneath.
“It’s so intriguing that the first thing you do is to touch the cube, and as you do, you’ll move towards it," Molyneux told us. "As you do so, words will fade in: “Curiosity” and that will fade away. Second: “What is inside the black cube?” As you get closer, you realise that as you tap, this almost imperceptible crack will appear, a hairline crack so tiny in this huge cube.
“If you keep tapping, the crack will grow. And then as you look around the cube, you realise that there are other cracks slowly appearing, and that’s when you realise that there’s only one black cube in the whole world, and everybody who’s tapping and chipping and sculpting away at this cube is trying to find out what is in the middle. I’m not going to tell anyone.”
The aim for Molyneux is to discover whether curiosity at the cube’s big secret is enough to drive players into working away at the extraordinarily large number of taps it’ll take to get to its centre.
But there are many more secrets besides – we’ve visited 22Cans and have seen what part Curiosity takes in what amounts to a remarkable endeavour in game development. Find out about Molyneux’s full plan for 22Cans in our issue out July 4.
And if you’ve read the free sampler for our new iPad edition, you may well have guessed that Curiosity is what we’ve based its last page on.