Paws game

Build­ing a fu­tur­is­tic city from the per­spec­tive of a cat

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Tak­ing a cat’s-eye view of a cy­borg-in­fested fu­ture Hong Kong

Aside from out­liers such as Bill Williams’ 1984 ti­tle Al­ley Cat and, more re­cently, Chris Chung’s Cat­lat­eral Dam­age, fe­line videogame pro­tag­o­nists have been in short sup­ply. For­mer Ubisoft Mont­pel­lier artists

Koola and Viv – who pre­fer not to share their full names – are plan­ning to add one more to the list, how­ever, with a “cat ad­ven­ture videogame” whose work­ing ti­tle is sim­ply ‘HK project’. But while the game is fronted by a cat, it’s the en­vi­ron­ments that dom­i­nate the screen. In­spired by cy­ber­punk themes and Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City, the game’s world is a densely packed, grimy me­trop­o­lis pop­u­lated by an­droids and dec­o­rated with neon signs, graf­fiti and fairy lights. Around the pe­riph­ery of this world, a lit­tle black cat decked out with a fu­tur­is­tic back­pack ex­plores the pipes, cool­ing vents and stacks of boxes, un­no­ticed by the city’s ro­botic res­i­dents. It’s a strik­ing shift of fo­cus from the tra­di­tional ego-stroking star­ring bill that play­ers are used to.

“We think the en­vi­ron­ment can com­mu­ni­cate as much as a char­ac­ter, and we want the player to feel over­whelmed by the city,” Koola says. “And we wanted an orig­i­nal main char­ac­ter who was small and harm­less – it’s very ex­cit­ing to imag­ine con­trol­ling a cat in a that kind of topol­ogy.”

The game is in a very early state, and with only two peo­ple work­ing on it, it’s not likely to emerge in fin­ished form for a good while yet. As such, what you’ll ac­tu­ally do in the game is cur­rently fluid, but the pair have a few ideas. “We’re still think­ing about the game­play,” Viv says, “but it’s go­ing to have ex­plo­ration, quests, in­fil­tra­tion, puz­zles and dumb things that cats do.”

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