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Mike Bithell, the brain behind Thomas Was Alone and Volume, says he's working on two new titles but they might mark the end of an era. That's according to a new interview over at MCV, where Bithell surveys his career up until now, roughly six months after the launch of the aforementioned Volume.
Asked what he's working on at present, Bithell mentioned both a small and large project, but didn't offer much in the way of details. I have a smaller project which I think will surprise people by how quickly it comes out, he said. It s something I ve been fiddling with since the end of Volume, so about six months. A little idea a few ideas I ve bashed together, actually.
On the topic of the larger project, Bithell had this to say: there s definitely seismic, massive stuff as well which is super exciting and completely secret, he said. Volume opened some very cool doors. We were already talking to various people about various things but once Volume came out and sold well and reviewed well, a lot of people became interested in working with us.
Still, Bithell said the smaller project might mark the end of his coding career. It s probably the last thing I ll code if everything goes to plan, and that s a horrible thing to say. That s a quote that some smart ass will throw at me in ten years time when I m sat in my shed. You can count on it, Mike.
Of course, not coding doesn't mean "not making games" those "cool doors" Bithell mentions in relation to the larger project could indicate anything. Indeed, it could mean he'll take a more directorial, less hands-on approach on the next major title. Who knows.
Volume was a beautiful, polished stealth-action game, but according to our Tyler it had a few problems. "[Volume has] fun, not-too-hard stealth puzzles that look great, wrapped up in a humdrum story with a boring protagonist."
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."