PC Gamer

Originally released in 2012, Thomas Was Alone is, at its core, a puzzle-platformer built around rectangles. It was also quite a good game, "entirely too touching for a platform game about bouncy squares," as we said in our review (via Metacritic), and it actually built up quite a fan base, evidenced by the nearly 5500 positive user reviews (compared to 229 negative) on Steam. And so now, to mark the upcoming three-year anniversary of its release, there are action figures.

No, seriously. Thomas Was Alone action figures: Officially sanctioned, and, as you can see, almost exactly as they appear in the game, except in three dimensions instead of two. "Lovingly handcrafted from the finest materials [plastic], these figures offer the full articulation possible for toys based on the reasonably popular indie game, Thomas Was Alone," the product description states. "The Claire figure even floats. Seriously. That's not a joke. That took time to make work."

Further evidence that this is not a joke (and it's not!) came from Thomas Was Alone creator Mike Bithell himself, who sent us an email saying that it's actually something he's been asked about quite a bit. He also noted that it's a "very limited run" of figures, and while he didn't say how many of the sets have been made, the counter on the Kerry Dyer website indicates that more than a third of them have already sold.

The Thomas Was Alone action figures come together in a set of four that sells for 20/$31. They're not very big—Claire, the blue block, is 3.2 cm tall—and thus should not be given to children to play with because, as the site notes, "they are small cubes of plastic."

Bithell's next project, the stealth-action game Volume that features voice acting by Andy Serkis, will be out on August 18.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

that is not camouflage, sir

It will probably be the only time in my life when I have no responsibilities, didn t owe anyone any money, didn t have staff that I had to worry about. Absolute freedom to do what I want. I wasn t going to use that to make a sequel to a reasonably well-received puzzle-platformer.

I ve asked Volume lead Mike Bithell if he s been worried about over-reaching himself. 2012 s Thomas Was Alone was one of several break-out indie hits around that time a era of Steam that many of today s PC developers are increasingly worried they ve missed the boat on but it was a simple game.

It was, as the man says, a reasonably well-received puzzle-platformer, and it blew up because it was charming and funny, effectively anthropomorphising the textureless, two-dimensional rectangles it starred thanks to well-judged narration and very human writing. Volume, by contrast, is a full-on, 3D stealth game which will ship with around 100 levels, features an array of tricsky sci-fi items, has a full level editor and has hired Andy Serkis to voice its lead villain. Conceptually, it s a huge leap.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
TWA


At this point, we should all be used to Steam's auto-updating. Even so, it can be a little unsettling when it happens to a game about emerging autonomous AI. Quadrilateral platformer Thomas Was Alone has received just such an update, supposedly adding Benjamin's Flight a free chapter of levels originally exclusive to the game's Playstation release. At least, that's what creator Mike Bithell claims it adds. My advice? Keep an eye out for rogue squares.

"Benjamin's Flight takes place before the events of Thomas Was Alone," Bithell writes in a press release, "and tells the story of the first AI to discover something very dangerous: Hope. Armed with a new jetpack ability, he'll go hunting for the strange glowing light he's long admired from afar."

With the update, Steam owners get a new set of jetpack-designed levels, new songs, and a new narration about Benjamin and his high-flying dreams. It's a nice bonus for owners of the game assuming it doesn't unleash sentient and somewhat charming artificial intelligence.

Mike Bithell is currently working on stealth game Volume. For more on that, check out Chris's preview.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

When I last spoke to Mike Bithell, we were in the caf at the National Media Museum in Bradford. He had just delivered a talk about his upcoming Virtual Robin Hood game, Volume, but we found time to discuss Thomas Was Alone as well. Bithell said – and I agree – “I thought I was writing a competent story with an amazing platform game. It turned out it was the other way around!” Presumably, the previously Playstation-only prequel episode, now available on Windows and Mac (Linux build soon), elevates plot over platforming. A cursory examination reveals a possible interpretation of the Icarus myth, with an AI in place of daddy Daedalus and a jetpack in place of waxy wings.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

Mike Bithell’s stealth game, Volume, looks like a very different prospect to Thomas Was Alone, even if there might be some similarities in the audio department. A retelling of the Robin Hood story, Volume takes place in a Britain laced with political dissent, rebellion and fancy volumetric display devices. Upon discovering such a device, Robert Locksley sets out to livestream heists and infiltrations, teaching the poor to steal from the rich rather than doing the job himself. I sat down with Mr Bithell at the Bradford Animation Festival to talk about the game, politics, ethics, Mini Coopers and Russell Brand.>

(more…)

PC Gamer
volume


A recent trailer for Volume has revealed that author, actor, and Thomas Was Alone narrator Danny Wallace will lend his voice to the game’s companion AI. YouTuber Charlie McDonnell will play the role of Robin Hood. Yes, that Robin Hood.

Volume will be a retelling of Robin Hood set in the near future. According to Eurogamer, Robert Locksley (better known as Robin Hood) finds a volume, a simulation tool that’s used to train a military coup’s forces. Locksley then uses the volume’s AI to “broadcast simulations of robbery against England's wealthiest, becoming the world's first crime let's player.”

I encourage anyone who hasn’t heard of Volume to check out designer Mike Bithell’s video demonstration, which should give you a better idea of what Volume actually is.

Volume’s set to come out sometime in 2014 on the PlayStation 4 with PC and Mac versions a month later.
Announcement - Valve
Today's Deal: Save 66% on Thomas Was Alone!*

Thomas Was Alone, and then, Well, he Wasn't.

Thomas Was Alone tells the story of the world's first sentient AIs, and how they worked together to, well, not escape: Escape is a strong word. 'Emerge' might be better. 'Emerge' has an air of importance about it, while keeping the myriad plot twists and superhero origin stories you'll discover under wraps. We didn't even mention the bouncing. That'd be overkill.

Look for the deals each day on the front page of Steam. Or follow us on twitter or Facebook for instant notifications wherever you are!

*Offer ends Monday at 10AM Pacific Time
PC Gamer
Volume thumb


The freshly announced Volume is being made by Mike Bithell, creator of the quadrilateral platformer Thomas Was Alone. Which means I'm fighting the urge point at one of the abstract red cuboids emerging from the ground and going "lol, Thomas in 3D!" I'll continue to struggle against that base temptation, because Volume looks to be an intriguing stealth distract-'em-up with an emphasis on making noise.

To the Youtubatrons!



Some brief story info has been posted to the Volume website.

" Does not kill. That would be far too easy. Instead, he commits his crimes through stealth. He sneaks, he distracts, he avoids. He is never seen, and seldom heard. As he grows in popularity and notoriety, so will his inventory. Blackjacks, bugles, thunderclaps and veils are just some of the tools at 's disposal."

The game's site notes that Volume will release with "hundreds of challenging and exciting environments," but goes on to promise that every area can be remixed and expanded. "The community are free to take the game in any direction they want, even releasing their own takes on the core levels. This is a game which will evolve, warp and grow as players make their mark on 's legend."

A livestream of the game is planned tonight at 9pm BST, over on Bithell's Twitch channel. Alternatively, you can see a ten minute demonstration below.



Volume is set to release in 2014. No platforms have been announced.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Cara Ellison)

“Has this game just come out?” maker of Thomas Was Alone Mike Bithell asks of Pretentious Game 3. “Because I’ve been getting emails all day, ‘They’re taking the piss out of you hurr hurr hurr’.”

Bari of Keybol games has just released the final part of a trilogy of games about a square, and labelled them all emphatically pretentious. Pretentious Game 3 is a game starring a cute little platforming square, just like in Thomas Was Alone. One of the enquiring, slightly jibing tweets to Mike Bithell about it was mine this morning, wondering if Bari was having a little joke at Mike’s expense. It turns out that there was just some sort of trend in games with a square in them last year, and between them, Bari and Mike had created some sort of New Square Wave of 2012, where they both were making games simultaneously about mobile squares with delusions of grandeur. I spoke to them both to find out exactly how pretentious they both are. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Nathan Grayson)

I wish people took me seriously every time *I* put on a chicken mask.

You know, I never really thought about it before, but I think Proteus and Hotline Miami are videogame inverses. One’s about languidly strolling around a neon-bubblegum dreamscape paradise while the other’s about blink-and-you’ll-be-on-the-receiving-end-of-it murder in an entirely different kind of neon-bubblegum dreamscape “paradise”. They are one anther’s bizarro twin, eternally opposed but forever intertwined. Also, they’re in the latest Humble Indie Bundle together, which is neat. And neater still? Probably the fact that they’re joined by Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone, and Dear Esther. Yeah, eight is pretty great. Or something.

(more…)

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