"I am a polar bear, careening over snowy hills in continuous cartwheels. Then, I am a pack of Douglas firs, our branches undulating like snakes. Then an elk. A galaxy. A desert. A streak of light imported from deep space. In Everything, out now on PlayStation 4 (and slated for PC next month), I am the essence of creation moving through all these things. That title isn't a feint or an oversell: In this game, you can be everything.
Everything is the brainchild of David O'Reilly, an artist and digital creator who's probably best known for designing the videogame interfaces used in Spike Jonze's Her. In the videogame world, though, he's celebrated as the creator of Mountain, a beguiling and confounding title about the life of a single mountain, suspended in space. It lived on your computer. Life grew on it. It talked to you. Eventually, it would leave. Mountain was a polarizing work, the sort of thing that provokes critical debate about what a "videogame" actually is. At its heart, though, Mountain was an eccentric, playful meditation on existence from a narrow field of view—a sort of ontological toybox.
Everything takes that same sensibility and projects it to the heavens.
You begin the game at a determined, procedurally generated point—a specific object in a specific place, at a specific time of day. In my case, I was a moose on an ice continent. How you proceed, though, is entirely up to you. You can spend the entire game as that single object, settling in to your surroundings, listening to the thoughts of fellow creatures and objects, and considering the weight of your solitary life. Or you can write your own cosmic encyclopedia, jumping from object to object using the game's simple set of verbs: Press one button to look for objects larger than you; another for objects smaller. Ascend and descend by way of comparison, from galaxies to atoms to one-dimensional plasma beings…"