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I haven t a lot of patience for dialogue in games. Weighted by exposition and lumpen characterisation, it tends to lumber, but I love the dialogue in Kentucky Route Zero. Telling a story which balances the bizarre with the everyday, it communicates so much with so few words. And the technology that lies behind them is ancient, wielded by games pretty much since their advent. But Kentucky Route Zero employs a twist of design that makes a world of difference:
THE MECHANIC: Multiple choice … [visit site to read more]
Kentucky Route Zero developer Cardboard Computer has tweeted to say that "Act IV is almost done! Excited to share it soon". That was followed by another Tweet of the screenshot above, seemingly from Act IV, which is definitely actually happening!
This is good news. Earlier this year the team had to Tweet to assuage fans desperate to immerse themselves in the next stage of the brooding magical realist adventure game.
So, for total clarity: KRZ Act 4 is not abandoned, canceled, a "scam," a performance art piece(?), or anything else but a work-in-progress.
— cardboard computer (@cardboardcompy) August 2, 2015
The first episode of the five-part series was released in February 2013. Episode three was released in May 2014.The development pace matches the slow-burn feel of the series. By the accounts of those of us that have played them so far, the acts have been worth the wait so far. Personally I'm saving acts II - V for a continuous playthrough on a wintry day.
Oh, happy day! Act IV of Kentucky Route Zero [official site] is “almost done”, say developers Cardboard Computer. They have a picture of a wee boat and everything. It’s a lovely boat. It’s not that we believed Act IV wouldn’t come, as apparently some had started to mutter after more than a year between acts, it’s just grand to hear from it again and know we’re not too far from playing. Even with only two of five planned acts out, KRZ was our game of 2013.
I’ve been on holiday, which means I’ve spent more energy walking around and looking at things>, than I do when I’m at work. It’s a tricky thing, this holiday business. How am I supposed to enjoy the majesty of nature (and the cold pint in a country pub that waits at the end of nature) when my muscles are aching, the sweat is like an oil slick on my brow, and I’ve fallen into the habit of checking my maps every fifteen minutes because I’m convinced I’m walking in the wrong direction.
This article is a part of a series based on 6 months as resident speaker at VideoBrains called A Psychogeography of Games. Psychogeography is a big chewy word put together by drunk French dudes in 1955 to talk about how the landscape of our lives affects how we feel, think and act. Here, I m particularly interested in how the geography of our lives affects how we make games – the psychogeography of our games. So, in 2015, I m going on a series of walks with some of my favourite game designers, in places that have affected how they think about what they make, and turning these into talks and articles.>
This first piece is about a walk with Jake Elliott (Kentucky Route Zero [official site]). Except that because I don t fly, the first walk happened in two different continents we walked on the same day, on different continents, to similar places.
You know that there are adventure games, and you know that some of those adventure games are better than others. But do you know which one is best, and which one is twenty-fifth best? Well, at last you can find out, with our definitive, unimpeachable breakdown of adventure gaming’s best moments.
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor came away from last night's 15th annual Game Developers Choice Awards ceremony having nabbed the top honor of Game of the Year. Monolith Production's open-world action RPG won out over Bayonetta 2, Destiny, Hearthstone, and Alien: Isolation.
A few of those games still took away awards, however. Blizzard Entertainment's digital card game Hearthstone received the Best Design Award, and stealth horror game Alien: Isolation, from developer The Creative Assembly, came away with the Best Audio Award. Best Narrative was given to indie adventure game Kentucky Route Zero, Act 3. The Audience Award went to space simulation Elite: Dangerous from Frontier Developments.
Game designer Brenda Romero received The Ambassador Award for her continued work, now three decades worth, in the games industry. The Pioneer Award was given to David Braben for his work on the Elite series, and Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the Final Fantasy series, was given a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Kentucky Route Zero isn’t just gaming’s finest slice of magical realism and shaggy dog symphonies, it’s also a magnificent feat of myth-making. Like so much Americana, it straddles the line between fact and folk tale, and finds recognisable unrealities along the road to the grave. If the melancholic dramas of the main episodes take place at centre stage, the occasional interludes aren’t the entertainment in between acts, they’re happening somewhere in the wings, backstage or downriver. The latest free offering, Here And There Along The Echo, has a sinister setup – a telephone that can only dial one number – but turns out to be the closest the series has come to revealing its own absurd comedic heart.
Cardboard Computer have been releasing free interludes between each of their excellent Kentucky Route Zero episodes. First there was interactive art exhibition Limits and Demonstrations, then came theatrical experience The Entertainment, while today brings Here And There Along The Echo, which requires a bit more explanation. It's a phone. An actual phone, listed on eBay for quite a lot of money. A phone that only rings one number (apparently), which connects to an automated phone service narrated by Will Oldham (this Will Oldham?)
I know what it connects to because there's a digital, game version of said phone, which you can download for PC, Mac or Linux at the above link. This automated phone service is full of beautiful rambling stories and recitations related to the evocative setting of the main episodes, in particular to the Bureau of Lost Tourism, which is mentioned in the series a few times.
Others are saying that you can ring this number from a real life phone—the number being (270) 301-5797—but as I live in the UK and I barely know how to use Skype, I'm going to leave that for others to discover.
Like the previous interludes, it's not entirely clear how this relates to the beguiling story of the main games, but it's doubtless full of clues and references to their gradually unfolding narrative, and I can't wait to uncover these after a bit more poking around. It's also an entirely lovely thing to listen to, regardless of whether you understand much of what's being said.