In 2012, Double Fine held their first public Amnesia Fortnight event, a previously internal two week event in which developers at Double Fine would break into small teams and create prototypes from game concepts which, if they showed promise would eventually be developed into full games.
Today Hack 'n' Slash has been released marking it the first Amnesia Fortnight 2012 concept to be released as a full game (excluding the Leap version of Autonomous, which is not considered internally to be a compelete game, and the space station building sim SpaceBase DF-9 which is still currently a Steam Early Access title).
Presented on the surface as a cute dungeon crawler, Hack 'n' Slash offers players the unique opportunity to modify the game's running code to create their own solutions to the puzzles presented.
Project lead Brandon Dillon has often been quick to point out that whilst the in-game "hacking" interfaces may look pretty, the variables, visualisations and behaviours they expose are not chosen or crafted as game mechanics - they are the in-game debugging interfaces that the developers use when creating and testing the game.
Hack 'n' Slash features the adorably charming art styles of Double Fine concept artist Raz Mavlian (after whom the protagonist from Psychonauts is named), depicting Alice and her sprite Bob (if you choose to keep their default names) in a striking and vibrant fairytale world.
The game's tone and pacing are engaging, and whilst it's possible to break the game, it's surprisingly robust considering the type of things players are expected to do.
It's been a pleasure to participate in the Steam Early Access community and watch the game get further refined. I'm excited to see the conclusion (I haven't yet finished), and what the community will be doing with the Workshop tools and source made available for modding.