Heaven and the Earth

have torn asunder.

The universe is estranged from itself

raging in perpetual struggle.

 

Into this, an angel is kindled,

One of countless.

And defying the order of Heaven

It flies a new course.

 

Searching for its own commandments,

It journeys to distant lands

filled with spirits

quite unlike its own…

 

Voyage into in a new kind of computer game,

and encounter a pantheon of spirits

Each a potential ally, 

with distillations of wisdom to offer

drawn from spiritual, philosophical and cultural traditions  

from across places and times in our world.

 

Harnessing the power of these lessons, 

perhaps you will be able restore the divided 

worlds…

What is Hark?

 

Hark is a hybrid meditation app and adventure game with a non-demoninational outlook, embracing diverse philosophical and spiritual beliefs, including rationalist and atheist ones.

it follows the journey of a young ‘angel’ who exceeds the limits of its world, encountering other creatures with spirits very different to its own, each of whom has diverse kinds of meditations and lessons to teach, drawing from traditions from across places and times in our own world.

Hark brings together the following disciplines and design philosophies:

Allegorical Fable:

Integrating psychology, mindfulness, philosophy and holistic wellbeing from across time and place, remixing and reintroducing their lessons for our age.

 

Guided Meditation:

Guided meditation is woven throughout the gameplay. Great meditation experts are reincarnated as beings the player encounters in the game.

 

Spiritual Entertainment:

Non-dogmatic, Hark! respectfully and freely integrates spiritual and philosophical traditions, asserting nothing as truth.

 

Sound Therapy:

We work with trained sound therapists to ensure the auditory experience of the app is restorative – promoting healing and reducing stress in the player.

 

Game as Art:

Gaming is our youngest art form. Like cinema when it first appeared, it is still struggling to be understood as a legitimate art form – Hark! treats the player as an experiencer of art, not merely a product consumer.

 

Digital Ergonomics:

The game is designed to support the human body and mind: The characters suggest how best to orient the player’s body and posture, and provide peaceful moments, providing a respite from the overstimulation of the digital world.

Mission

Hark! is an epic adventure computer game that confronts the complexities of life with a strong social purpose. It is aimed at young people facing such issues as bullying, gender, discrimination and family breakdown, amongst others and offers different routes to resolving conflicts. 

Today, our world faces an epidemic of digital addiction and exhaustion, reinforced by predatory business models that seek to gain our attention and engagement at all costs.

Hark! is part of a new generation of media to attempt this – It subverts gaming norms by being engaging enough to compete with addictive games and other digital media.

Disciplines such as neuroscience and psychiatry have shown that social media, apps and gaming are damaging to mental health, especially for young people, causing long lasting addictive behaviours, and inducing anxiety and depression.

This issue is now deeply ingrained in our culture. 

It cannot be forced out, but we can build new versions of digital media with the users’ best interests at heart.

 

Hark! Balances stimulus with stillness, providing integrated periods of tranquility, offering cues and opportunities for mindfulness within the gameplay.

This prompts a space for the user to be at peace with their thoughts and reconnect with themselves.

Drawing on great works such as Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, Paradise Lost! and the Dao de Jing, Hark! is non-denominational and embraces atheism alongside religious traditions.

We hope the game will inspire people of all genders and ages, and perhaps even form an important part of their spiritual journey.

The Story of Hark:

The game begins with the player’s character – a young angel – falling out of its home in the skies, and landing in a strange new realm full of magical beings.

The angel embarks on a pilgrim’s journey between eight worlds, each representing a part of the human psyche:

– Fellow ferocious crystalline angels living in the great ship of heaven.

– Tormented leviathan demons, thrashing in the deepest currents of the sea.

– Subtle creative weavers spinning reality into being in their dark forests,

– Hard, precise delving crabs, seeking truth-crystals in their deep mines.

Each creature represents a constellation of wisdom, containing the essences of a key part of the human psyche including both its’ positive and negative aspects.

Below is a short ‘video mood board’ – a collage of media showing the inspirations behind each creature from a wide variety of sources. This will be used by the artists, in combination with our original concept art to work up original designs for the worlds and their inhabitants:
Play Video

Player's Journey

At the start of the game, each of the worlds is dissociated from, and in conflict with, its’ opposite. As a result, they have become polarised, and are suffering from the negative attributes of their aspect.

For example, the Weavers have lost the logical and anchored security of their Delver partners, and are vulnerable to being blown away by the gusts and blasts of emotion and dangerous impulses.

As the game progresses, the player meets, and communicates with key characters in each world, each representing a primal part of the human psyche.

Taking a role of something between a diplomat and therapist, the player’s character (the young Fire Angel) travels between the lands, learning about the history, culture and outlook of each of the peoples.

As the player explores, conducts meditations, and talks with the characters, they are able to affect the course of events, collecting magical items earned via meditation, reintroducing characters to their long lost alternative beings from their opposing worlds and gradually reintegrating them.

For example, the Weavers have lost the logical and anchored security of their Delver partners, and are vulnerable to being blown away by the gusts and blasts of emotion and dangerous impulses.

 

Towards the end of the game, the player is able to construct a ship at the centre of the universe, growing and extending it with the help of the creatures from each world. 

The ship eventually becomes a great bridge, reconnecting each of the lands, which draw them together into a re-manifestation of the cosmic realm that they once lived in together.

In this finale, a last set of meditations are unlocked – This serves as a new interface, within which the player can return and conduct more meditations whenever they wish, with a sense of accomplishment.

Play Video