Welcome back to Jetsetter, Digital Trends’ weekly column devoted to import gaming and the international game development scene. This past week, game designer Jordan Weisman and his intrepid team of developers at Harbrained Schemed released Shadowrun Returns. The futuristic role-playing game is many things: A rebirth of franchise, a robust new tool for role-players to make their very own games, and a small triumph for independent game development. It’s also one of the very first original games funded during the great Kickstarter boom of early 2012 to actually see release – remakes like Leisure Suit Larry Returns by comparison were built on existing games. Shadowrun Returns is a sequel and a continuation of an older franchise, but it’s also a bonafide original. It’s true: Kickstarter-based crowdfunding can yield the results promised by a campaign.
Now the hope is that Kickstarter can branch out to more of the game development world. As of now, Kickstarter is only available to a limited numer of countries. Crowdfunding options are sorely needed in countries where game developers have the least resources. University of Games is one of the only game developers in Kenya, for example. Studios like UOGames could benefit the most from having access to a well known platform like Kickstarter, where an international community of backers could help see the group’s designs come to fruition. For now, though, Kickstarter and other crowdfunding services are resources that are limited in their reach.
It is helping some studios, though. Such as:
Krillbite Studios preps toddler horror game Among the Sleep.
Hamar, Norway is an amazing place, home to some of the country’s most ancient medieval architecture. Its museums are built on castle foundations! That’s awesome. It’s also home to Krillbite Studio, an intrepid game developer working on a fascinating new horror game. Among the Sleep goes a whole lot further than the likes old school Resident Evil or even Fatal Frame for making the player feel vulnerable – the protagonist of this game is only 2-years-old.
After waking up in the middle of the night, you wander around as the toddler, seeing strange, nightmarish things all around you. The developer describes the threats in the game as a mix of the real and imagined. After all, a toddler’s perspective is skewed by inexperience, limited language, and plain old size. For extra scares, the game supports Occulus Rift. It’s a fascinating premise for a game. Among the Sleep is slated for release by the end of the year. It was also a hit on Kickstarter earlier this year, raising more than $200,000.
VVVVVV creator’s new collaboration Experiment 12 ready to play.
Exquisite Corpse, the old writing game, is brilliant. It works like this: A group of people write a poem together. One person starts it, the next person writes a follow up line, but then the third person only gets to see the last preceding line. The end result is usually a marvelous, stream of consciousness exercise in group psychology. Terry Cavanagh, the noted British indie game maker behind VVVVVV, engaged in a sort of gaming equivalent of Exquisite Corpse recently. Experiment 12 is a twelve-chapter game where each chapter was made by a different designer, and each level was made in just three days. Making anything in just three days is impressive. Other collaborators include Robert Yang (Radiator) and Jasper Byrne (Soul Brother.) Check out the PC version right here.
Sweet Fuse lets you date dudes and hang with your uncle, the creator of Mega Man.
Jetsetter wouldn’t be Jestetter if we didn’t drop some knowledge about at least one fascinating Japanese game. It’s rare that we shine a light on games that are actually going to get wide distribution, but this is worth paying attention to. Idea Factory has finished a brand new dating game for PSP (yes, the PSP) called Sweet Fuse: At Your Side. You play as Saki Inafune, a dashing young lady trying to seduce one of many eligible bachelors while also trying to stop an evil pig from taking over an amusement park. Saki’s uncle also turns up in the game, and you may have heard of him: it’s Keiji Inafune, former creative chief at Capcom and the creator of Mega Man. Sweet Fuse actually hits the US on August 27th thanks to Aksys Games. I must play it.