Camera-Based Reality-Shifting Video Game ‘Viewfinder’ Looks Incredible

Viewfinder is an upcoming video game that asks players to challenge perception, redefine reality, and reshape the world using an instant camera.

PetaPixel has featured some camera-themed video games in the past, with the most recent being Season: A Letter to the Future, which was praised for its choice to not “gamify” the idea of photography, but instead relied on it as what it is: a tool to capture memories.

Viewfinder goes a totally different direction. While the camera is very similar between the two games, what it does in Viewfinder is remarkably different and leans heavily into gamifying one aspect of photography: perspective.


The game, developed by Scotland-based Sad Owl Studios and published by Thunderful, is described as a single-player offering that presents hours of “interesting and fun experiences” while uncovering the mysteries left behind. In it, the camera doesn’t just take pictures, but those pictures can then be used to alter the landscape and reality in front of the player.

Players will explore the world and unlock secrets and traversal options based on not only photographs, but also paintings, sketches, screenshots, and postcards. This unique mechanic is heavily reliant on perspective, and the developer says the game delights in the way it plays with that, evolving in “surprising directions” that keeps players challenged with every new puzzle they encounter.


“Viewfinder’s narrative is player driven and will be an approachable experience to someone who just wants to play and solve puzzles, and a rich well thought off world to a player who wants to learn more,” Sad Owl says.

“The game has come so far from the technical demo of 2020, we’re very happy to have explored how we can build an interesting game experience around this mechanic,”Matt Stark, Game Director, said late last year.

“We want to make a game that’s accessible and appealing to people who wouldn’t usually like these types of games. There’s a lot of fun and silly things that we’re working on to add into the game.”


“One of the things we are aware of is that while the game’s narrative can be anything we want it to be, the core gameplay has to feel good. We often go on gut feel and think of fun ways for our players to engage with the world we are building,” Gwen Foster, Business Director, adds.

Viewfinder is slated to arrive on Steam sometime in 2023 and the publisher appears to be eyeing an eventual release on PlayStation 5 as well.

Image credits: Sad Owl Studios