Maquette is a story about a relationship that didn't work out, and the process of finding closure in an exploration of the memories left behind. Maquette is also a puzzle game that doesn't always work so well. These two layers are in constant contention as you work your way through what Annapurna Interactive, gaming's premiere arthouse publisher, describes as a "first-person recursive puzzle game." The framework for this fantastical concept is a goodbye letter. While hunting for his lost keys one day, Michael (Seth Gabel) comes across an old sketchbook he shared with his former love, Kenzie (Bryce Dallas Howard).
Maquette opens with a conversation between two strangers in a San Francisco coffee shop, a flirty interaction sparked over a sketchbook. Romance soon follows and the game – the latest from the tasteful video game arm of the Hollywood studio Annapurna – charts the blossoming of a young relationship. It's a straightforward premise for a game that is anything but. The simplest way to understand the highly experimental design that sits at Maquette's core is to imagine, on your kitchen table, a scale replica of the street outside. Move an object on the model and, simultaneously, the full-size object moves, with great, clunking heft, outside your door. Step outside and you are able to physically clamber on to the staircase and hop into the neighbour's garden.
After Sony's latest State of Play stream, it's clear why the company announced the next batch of free games for PlayStation Plus members a couple of days later than usual. At State of Play, Sony showed off the PS5 version of the game, which will have upgraded graphics, higher framerates, other improvements and a DLC episode. If you claim FF7 Remake through PS Plus, you won't get a free upgrade. You'll still need to buy the current game for the upgrade or pay directly for the PS5 version, Final Fantasy VII Remake Intergrade. First-person puzzle game Maquette is intriguing, with its recursive, mind-bending riddles requiring some out-of-the-box thinking. If you get stuck, you can call on the console's Game Help feature for guidance.
Microsoft quietly has begun testing a mixed-reality prototyping tool known as "Maquette." A beta, video tutorials and a feedback site for the product already are live. Microsoft's site describes Maquette as "a mixed reality tool for creating immersive prototypes using a PC VR headset." "Bozzetto" is an Italian equivalent of the term.) "We're working on a new way to prototype ideas in VR (virtual reality," the site adds.Microsoft officials note on the site that it's difficult to "sketch and iterate spatial ideas quickly in 3D space," so a tool that can do this quickly and simply is needed.
At its best, "Maquette" gracefully weaves interactivity and storytelling into one cohesive experience. For example, you spend a good chunk of a later stage shrunk down to a tiny size. Everything around you is big, intimidating and imposing, which makes sense: Within the story, the protagonists seem to feel small during fights. An indie pop soundtrack elevates the storytelling, too, with carefully chosen songs from mostly San Franciscan musicians (this story takes place in San Francisco) that play at the right moments to set a mood. "Maquette" can feel intimate, like reading someone's diary, and the music helps sell that sentiment.