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After telling stories about shapes then even a teenager, the fella behind Thomas Was Alone and Volume has taken another step up the consciousness scale for his next story with a game about robots. Bithell’s studio today both announced and launched Subsurface Circular [official site], a short text adventure starring a robot detective investigating missing robots. It’s a text-based story-o-puzzler where you gather new words rather than items, an expanded vocabulary opening new opportunities. While it’s all wordy-like, it does have some nice pictures to go along with it. (more…)
Volume [official site] is a third-person, sci-fi stealth game, in which you direct a little dude around VR-styled, maze-like levels, dodging guards with wits and with gadgetry, with the aim of grabbing all the loot and getting out again. It’s out now.>
I hope Mike ‘Thomas Was Alone’ Bithell’s new game wasn’t hoping to pre-empt any ‘turn down the…’ gags by hiring a celebrity voice cast, because sadly it wasn’t long before I started muting things. … [visit site to read more]
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.
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.
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.>
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…)
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.