#969: Retrospective of “The Devouring” Epic Horror Adventure, New Social Gameplay in VRChat, & Prefabs Community Tools

The Devouring is an epic, 5-6 hour horror adventure game within VRChat that launched on August 14, 2020. It quickly went viral in the VRChat community because it was a unique, shared experience that had a vast world to explore, an evocative soundtrack, enemies that catalyzed unique reactions, a recursive map that allowed groups to split up and reconvene, and other technological innovations like late joiner capability that facilitated new social dynamics and group gameplay. Overall, it was a unique bonding experience as users had to commit to the full 5-6 hours of the experience as there was no way to save progress, and it ended up being a very satisfying and memorable journey.

The Devouring caught the attention of Raindance curator Mária Rakušanová, who created an a new category of Best Immersive World so that VRChat worlds like this could compete in the Raindance Immersive Festival. I was invited to be a juror, and after going through the 5-hour experience, the jury awarded The Devouring with Best Immersive World, Best Immersive Game, and runner-up for Best Multiplayer Game. We were all impressed with the novel social dynamics, game play innovations, and level of polish and interaction that went beyond anything else we had seen from a VRChat world.

4poniesThe Devouring started off as a much smaller project for Spookality Halloween worldbuilding contest in 2019, but the 4 Poneys Team blew through the initial deadline and the project soon expanded in size and scope over the course of an epic, 10-month production timeline. This volunteer team includes CyanLaser, Legends, Lakuza, and Jen Davis-Wilson (aka Fionna) who all met each other from the VRChat Prefabs community of worldbuilders. It started on the VRChat Discord, but it was spun off into it’s own Discord channel in order to share knowledge, keep track of free worldbuilding assets, and explore the newest worlds through the community meetup.

After watching CyanLaser’s Devouring Tech Overview at the Prefabs TLX conference on December 5th, then I reached out to The Devouring team to do a full retrospective of their creative journey and launch of one of the most impressive and successful VRChat immersive experiences yet. It’s not only an epic recap of this project, but also a window into the mission-driven, Prefabs worldbuilding community that’s pushing the edges of innovation and knowledge sharing within VRChat.


Here’s the trailer for The Devouring:

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Music: Fatality