It is difficult to explain a concept or experience that is not like anything the audience knows or has experienced before. If I say a video game is like a cross between The Oregon Trail, a comic book, and Warhammer 40.000, you could have an idea, if you knew these concepts well.
Did you play The Oregon Trail in school in the 70s or early 80s? Then you are old. Are you familiar with comic books and Warhammer? I would say you are a nerd. So, an old nerd. Welcome to the club.
Coldage, the game we are currently developing, is what I started to describe above. If you are an old nerd, I have hit my audience, and we are on the same page. If you are still a nerd in the making, maybe the following will still intrigue you.
The Oregon Trail is one of the first computer games ever made to teach students the history of settlers that migrated across North America. The Oregon trail consists of chronological events in which you have to make important decisions to get your family to Oregon successfully.
Warhammer 40.000 is one of the most iconic post-apocalyptic setting. A grim story about a conflict in the far future with aliens, mutants, robots, and Psykers.
Comic books are all about storytelling. A physical format read under the night lamp, drawing you into a fantastic world. Comic books have always satisfied a niche group; to whom the large media industry failed to serve. Much in the same way that indie game studios do with games today.
If you are still reading, let me explain how to play Coldage.
Super short backstory
In a post-apocalyptic future, five individuals are on a journey through perilous ruins to survive. Each individual is an archetype with strengths and weaknesses.
The personality of each character is described through three facets. When a character interacts with the story they do it through one of their facets.
When an event is presented, you respond with a response chosen from a selection of two to four possible responses. Afterward, up to three characters can participate with one of their facets, giving you many possible options.
Each chapter is a problem for the player to solve. In the first chapter, the characters are lost in an old sewer system, and searching the locations will (a type of event) increase their knowledge. When knowledge is at a certain level, the chapter progresses. At the same time, the characters need to be silent. If they are not, they will attract attention from Sleepers (think zombies) hidden in the sewers.
Humanity at play
If a character has their health or sanity drop to zero, they will have a breakdown and one of their facets will degrade to a poorer version, which represents the toll on that character’s responsibility. When the characters are broken beyond a certain point, it’s game over.
Comic book inspiration
As you play the game, you are also creating a comic book. Each event will be the first picture on a page, followed by the response and chosen character facets. The hand-drawn artwork is a large part of the experience.
We have been focused on slow gameplay, something I think is missing today. There are no timers in the game, so you can take the time you want. Every decision is deterministic, that’s not to say that there is no randomness in the game, but the randomness happens before you make decisions, so you always know the outcome of what you are about to do.
Are you intrigued by Coldage and want to learn more? Visit our steam page, there is a demo that you can try. We will also run a Kickstarter campaign.
Hope to see you there!