It's all too common for adventure games to aim at and miss (often badly) target release dates, particularly for independent studios with limited time and resources as they work on games in their spare time. Opting to take a "when it's done" approach instead, following are five upcoming indie adventures that already look promising, but are still so early in production that their designers don't know for sure (even if they're willing to hazard a guess) when they might be complete.
The Journey of Iesir
Set in a world that is "reminiscent of the medieval ages, yet has a story that integrates ideas as old as the legendary Vikings, and as modern as the hippie movement in the 1970s", Dream Cauldron's The Journey of Iesir follows the tale of a "charismatic Viking named Daniel Trondhjemsfjord, who has a burning desire to return to his Viking heritage and join the ranks of this legendary yet clandestine group." Accompanied on his quest by two "wanderers and freelancers" named Michael and Jack, Daniel soon finds that his seemingly simple journey is fraught with unexpected challenges.
The game's first screenshots show off its jaw-dropping hand-drawn artwork, and the developers promise an adventure full of tongue-in-cheek humour that pokes satirical fun of all kinds of elements, from "hippies, to gangsta bosses, superstitions, the rich class, Japanese demons, to archetypal knights in shining armor." Dream Cauldron is currently working on a "pitch demo" of The Journey of Iesir, so the full and final version of the game is still well off in the distance.
One of the secondary benefits of Senscape's Asylum is its proprietary Dagon engine, which has been made available free of charge to other ambitious indie developers. One such developer is Realms Forge, whose debut sci-fi adventure Adamantus has now appeared on the radar, if still a distant blip for now.
Adamantus is the capitol of Tranquility, an Earth-like planet colonized by humans in the distant future. Such settlements were designed as "idealized versions of Earth cities in the centuries before space exploration", allowing its inhabitants to return to a simpler lifestyle. For nearly 200 years the population lived in peace, until a natural disaster forced a planet-wide emergency evacuation. When a spacecraft long reported missing reappears in orbit around Tranquility, it is your job as an agent for the Novan Federation to "board the vessel and investigate. What you find there is shocking and compels you to brave the poisonous miasma of the abandoned planet to unravel the mysteries of Adamantus."
The early screenshots show off the game's high-definition first-person graphics, which will be navigated through the player's choice of either slideshow or 360-degree panaromas. There's more to Adamantus than just pretty pictures, however, as the game also promises plenty of puzzles and exploration.
First there was Bill Murray, and now there's Randal. The star of Randal's Monday is a "kleptomaniac, sociopath and terrible friend" who finds himself reliving the same day over and over again after selling a cursed ring. As he attempts to repair the damage he has caused, Randal must deal with "angry cops, common delinquents, retired priests, incompetent box-office clerks and even some talking skeletons." Reclaiming his life and saving the universe isn't going to be easy, but Randal's willing to give it his best shot.
As the game's first screenshots and lengthy trailer show, Randal's Monday displays high-quality cartoon artwork and animation, which isn't surprising given its developers' background experience making short films. Created by the two man team of Juanan Pascual Albarranch and Toni Pascual Gómez, one responsible for the hand-drawn art and the other handling all digital work, the game has already been in production for four years (two on story and design, two years on implementation). The designers are hoping to have a demo out sometime this year, but the full game will likely require external professional help in order to be completed.
To learn more about Randal's Monday while we wait, head on over to the official website.
Captain Disaster in There's a Hole in My Galaxy
Who says you can't be in two places at one time? While still rehearsing for his first starring role in Death Has a Million Stomping Boots, Captain Disaster is already moonlighting in a second game, There's a Hole in My Galaxy. This time around, the whole galaxy is in danger, and naturally the Captain is to blame. In order to save it, he must travel back to the distant past when a "powerful being charges him with finding a way to undo the damage he unwittingly wrought on the space-time continuum."
As with the Captain's other game in production, this standalone adventure (not a storyline sequel, but rather a separate game in the same universe) is done in the same retro pixel art format, promising more of the same offbeat comedy and point-and-click adventuring "spiced up with a hint of space RPG". This game actually does have a tentative launch target of the second quarter of 2014, but if the game's trailer is any indication, that isn't a date that's written in stone.
In the End of November
We could only hope the title of this debut adventure from Fairy Forest was really its target release date, but it's not. In fact, very little is known about In the End of November, other than that it will be "bleak, sad and wet" when an old man on the road asks for your help.
We also know that the game will be set at the end of the steam era, with "huge droning engines, pipes and hazardous hot emissions" giving way to the wonders of electricity. The first video and screenshots show off the crisp, third-person graphics we can expect from the final game when it arrives, whenever that may be.