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September 2014

20

Sep

We're all familiar with the Genesis story of how the world came to be. But what would happen if the world ever needed to be created anew? Enter Exgenesis, a whole new kind of creation story currently seeking funding through Indiegogo.

While details are still sketchy about the game's plot, Exgenesis is set in a dystopian future  where "mankind has completely lost his spirituality and is now living only to fulfill his material needs. This isn’t acceptable anymore. A new beginning is needed. A new earth." But what would that new world be like, and who would inhabit it? These answers will be up to the powers that be, as "they’re already watching us. They’re judging us. They’re already choosing who's worthy of watching the dawn of the new humankind, and those who will take part in it."

This backdrop, based on "real ancient beliefs", sets the stage for a point-and-click adventure that delves the "most intimate places of [your] personality... on a journey to discover the secrets of existence." It will be presented using a mix of real photographs, clay models, and computer graphics in order to create a "dreamlike and mysterious atmosphere." Along the way there will be traditional adventure elements like "puzzles to solve, items to collect and use, places to explore, dialogues", but since the protagonist is you yourself, deciding "what’s right or wrong is up to [you] and the story will take shape accordingly."

Italian indie developers 48h Studio hope to complete this "original take on the genesis myth" for PC sometime in the first half of 2015, and in order to do so they've launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise €35,000 by October 19th. (Note that as a flexible funding campaign, all pledges will go to support the game whether it reaches its target goal or not.) A limited-time early bird pledge of €12 will earn backers a DRM-free download of the game. Ports to other platforms, including Mac, Linux, iPad and Android tablets are also possible if certain stretch goals are met.

To learn more about Exgenesis and contribute to its crowdfunding, visit the Indiegogo page for complete details. You can also vote to have the game released through Steam Greenlight.



9

Sep

Adventure gamers have been treated to a stunning array of genre legends returning to the fold after years of absence lately. That trend continues today with the re-emergence of another acclaimed industry veteran, as Martin Ganteföhr will be teaming up with Daedalic Entertainment on an as-yet-unannounced adventure.

As one of the co-founders of House of Tales, German writer/designer Ganteföhr is best known for his work on dark psychological thrillers The Moment of Silence and Overclocked, the former depicting a world with an Orwellian "total government control of information flow" and the latter delving into "the substance of psychological trauma after extreme experiences of violence – such as in modern warfare."

While no actual details about the new game have been revealed, Daedalic CEO Carsten Fichtelmann claims that Ganteföhr will be "able to work with maximum creative freedom to craft a game fully in the spirit of his previous adventures." Additional details about the new game are promised "in the coming months."



8

Sep

Many correlations can be drawn between the mediums of film and interactive entertainment, with works of one genre often influencing those of the other. Now, independent developer Dale Penlington is drawing inspiration from some of filmmaking’s elite directors for a new series of games. The first of these, entitled The Silence, draws right from the top of the pile, aiming to emulate the trademark feel of the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock.

In The Silence, the main character finds himself waking in a dark and dingy motel room, alone and with a bruise on his head, with no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. Further exploration yields a shocking revelation: everyone else has vanished, and he is all alone... Alone, save for the sound of crows carrying on the breeze.

To discover the protagonist's identity and solve the mysterious disappearances, players will navigate from left to right, in side-scroller fashion, advancing through a monochrome, silhouetted world by picking up inventory items, interacting with objects, and solving traditional adventure game puzzles to progress. With a look and soundtrack matching those of Hitchcock’s own black-and-white masterpieces, The Silence incorporates nods to the director’s works throughout the adventure, the two most immediately obvious ones being the creepy motel setting and the ominous cawing of the crows right from the very beginning.

Best of all, for mobile gamers there’s no need to wait, as The Silence is already available on the Google Store for Android and the App Store for  iPhones and iPads, with a PC version perhaps coming in the future.



7

Sep

Adventure gamers are used to making a lot of dubious moral choices, but perhaps never more so than in Elliot Collis's upcoming desolate, a tale about the path to personal redemption which is currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.

In desolate, shadowy figures invade your village and you "sacrifice your friends and family to them in order to escape." Only afterwards do you realize the gravity of your selfish actions, and you now must "make amends for your mistakes." This is far easier said than done, however, as "sooner or later you will have to face your inner shadows and your inner self to change for the better." The first step in getting back to the village to right your grievous wrongs is to befriend the little cave creatures living "under the barren lifeless desert known as The Desolate."

Unlike most adventures, the wordless desolate will rely on the three core mechanics of sound, gesture, and touch, each having its own affect on those around you – some of them intended, some not. For example, "where the call of your voice might reassure a family member in trouble and make them try to get to you, the call of your voice might scare the little cave creature and make him run away." Solving many of the game's puzzles requires "finding the correct sequence of events for the desired outcome to happen." There will also be some light platforming and action elements that have you "trying to capture or corner someone", but Collis says that these sequences are slower-paced than a standard platformer. They will also serve to shift the game's perspective from horizontal to vertical, the largely side-scrolling gameplay giving way to climbing when "the player's world seems to start breaking down."

Desolate will be told in seven acts, each representing a new stage on this path to self-discovery and atonement, as reflected in their titles: Desolation, The Desolate, Deception, Corruption, Consumption, Depression, and Realisation. The game is inspired by the developer's own experiences, including its distinctive setting, which blends the "vast landscapes of New Zealand and the uniquely confined architecture of Tokyo" with the caves from both Nippara and Arizona. All of this is stylishly hand-painted, as seen in the early screenshots and trailer.

In order to complete this keyboard- (or gamepad-)controlled adventure by July 2015, Collis has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise a modest $12,500 by September 30th. A minimum $12 NZD (about $10 USD) will earn backers a DRM-free copy of the game for PC, Mac, or Linux upon completion, while those who pledge $50 or more can play each act as it's finished, beginning this December.

To learn more about desolate and to contribute to its fundraising campaign, visit the Kickstarter page for complete details. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight.



2

Sep

Last year's Master Reboot gave new meaning to the term "life after death", and now indie studio Wales Interactive look to take the next step into the virtual afterlife with the upcoming Soul Axiom.

A "spiritual successor" to Master Reboot, Soul Axiom is set in a world where human dreams and memories can be recorded for posterity and relived forever. As advertised by the "Digital Soul Provider" Elysia, "death has no dominion and life has no boundaries. Cast off your mortal body and discover the secret to everlasting life in your digital afterlife." But as the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and you must now "take a journey through the deepest darkest recesses of your soul on your quest to unlock your identity, your story, your mystery. But beware: some mysteries are better left unsolved."

At the start of the game you will find yourself "free falling through a stormy sky. Lightning sporadically illuminates the dark storm clouds showing vivid flashes of memories from your life. You struggle to take a breath as you plummet into the eye of the storm, out of control... You brace yourself for impact, for your imminent death... and then - blackness." But this is not death after all, as you rewaken "on the deck of a ship, rain pummelling the wooden boards. You look up to see four shadowy figures on the bridge gazing into the distance. You can make out an old man at the helm who appears to be shouting at you. As you zone back into the moment you hear him call out 'Come on boy, you have to save us, you need to get the engines working or we're doomed!'"

As seen in the game's early screenshots and trailer, Soul Axiom's surreal setting, like its predecessor's, will be presented in free-roaming 3D. Throughout the 40 unique environments in this "psychological adventure with exploration and puzzle elements", players will be "taken on an intriguing voyage of discovery, through beautiful, haunting locations, facing challenges that will take you into danger on your mission to unlock your identity, your story, your mystery."

Soul Axiom is currently in production for PC, along with as-yet-unannounced home consoles. There is currently no firm release date, but we can expect to see the game next spring. In the meantime, you can learn more about Soul Axiom at its official website.




August 2014

31

Aug

Most of us associate Red Thread Games with the highly anticipated Dreamfall Chapters, but along with producing the next installment in The Longest Journey saga, the Norwegian studio has also begun work on a much different adventure, a first-person psychological horror called Draugen.

Inspired by "Scandinavian literature, legends and fairytales, along with Norse mythology and the Icelandic sagas", Draugen is set in the 1920s amongst the "deep fjords and towering mountains of Norway’s awe-inspiring west coast." There the  population of an entire remote fishing village has mysteriously disappeared, and it's up to a visiting "American nature photographer, botanist and entomologist" to investigate. As players "explore the tiny settlement, gathering clues and memories, and unearthing the truth behind a terrible tragedy, they will learn more about the history of the village and its inhabitants. And they will come to see that behind even the most innocent of facades lurks the potential for malice."

You won't be entirely alone in this deserted town, as "from time to time, a woman in black can be spotted in the distance. Who is she, and what is her connection to this place? Who is the little girl singing broken lullabies as the sky begins to darken?" These haunting apparitions will be the least of your worries when night falls, however, as the titular Draugen – undead creatures from Norse mythology – "reside in their watery graves, guarding the treasures and secrets that were buried with them. And they will protect those secrets at any cost…"

Currently in early development for PC, Mac, Linux and next-gen consoles, there is no firm release target for Draugen just yet, as Red Thread is planning on launching a Kickstarter for the game in order to complete it sometime in 2015.



29

Aug

While most teenagers are preparing to head back to school for the fall, you can always count on Nancy Drew to be gearing up for another new mystery. This year is no exception, as the busy teen sleuth will be appearing in Labyrinth of Lies this October.

In this, her 31st adventure from Her Interactive, Nancy is called upon by a museum curator to "assist with the most anticipated event of the year, but artifacts from the exhibit are mysteriously disappearing. Are these mishaps connected to the amphitheater’s upcoming performance? Or is an unseen villain pulling strings behind the scenes?" Naturally, it's up to Nancy to both uncover the truth and find the missing artifacts.

The new game will feature plenty of ancient Greek flavour, and one of the tasks players will confront will be organizing displays and exhibits for the museum. As usual, there will be plenty of educational value throughout, as you'll need to "solve challenging puzzles based on actual Greek myths and artwork." And if that proves too difficult, you can always call up your pals Frank and Joe Hardy on the phone for some "potentially lifesaving tips".

Her Interactive will soon begin accepting preorders for both PC and Mac, and those who order early will receive Labyrinth of Lies a week before the retail release on October 14th.



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