Would you like to know what the future holds in store for you? Kismet is a virtual fortune telling machine, capable of providing a past-present-future tarot card reading, a daily astrological reading, and an ancient board game. Your gracious hostess is Kismet, an enchanted automaton, and her insights are powered by a deck of 22 hand-painted, animated Tarot cards as well as an accurate real-time map of the solar system. Kismet is meant to be a broadly inviting, visually rich and immersive retreat from the real world, experienced daily and shared by all members of the household. Each Tarot reading is unique to the combination and position of cards you draw, and each Astrology reading differs based on celestial positioning on the day of the reading and the birthdate of the player, which is entered in at the time of the reading. Also, it has a cat in it!
Kismet is a project born out of two distinct desires. First, our team hoped to hone our skills as a studio of artists and developers working in the continually evolving virtual reality space. Second, we sought to use this new technology to create a meaningful and inspiring experience that would stretch the definition of gaming to include non-traditional elements like spirituality and self-reflection, and by doing so invite non-gamers into the conversation about virtual reality. While Kismet herself is an automaton, we sought to imbue her character and world with a true sense of humanity and vibrant artistic details that would not only immerse players completely, but would draw down their guard and allow them to surrender to the experience, considering its implications without skepticism. Though consumer VR is still in its infancy, Kismet was always intended to appeal to a broad audience not be limited to technologists or early-adopters. It is our sincere hope that a wide range of players will not only enjoy visiting Kismet in her wagon, but will find Kismet’s words helpful, therapeutic, enlightening, or even perhaps challenging to their personal beliefs and sense of self-awareness. In terms of design, Kismet is inspired by the intricate automatons of antiquity, from the chess-playing Turk to the caged songbirds. Her personal style and setting is the confluence of a broad range of Gypsy cultures and classic 19th Century fortune-teller imagery. The game has hundreds of unique fortune cards that can only be unlocked by repeat visits, each penned by the our writer-director’s own mother, that serve as an homage to similar cards that would have been dispensed from a mechanical Zoltar arcade machine.
written and directed by
lighting + shading dev
music + sound
Jason Francesco Heath