The Cave - New Game of the Day #60
- Tim Schafer
- Double Fine Productions
THE CAVE – NEW GAME OF THE DAY #60
What? Not the double fine Kickstarter venture, but something else entirely from the creators of Psychonauts
When? Early 2013
Where? Steam, XBLA, PSN
Few developers are famed for their sense of humour above all else, but American studio Double Fine Production's unique brand of off-the-wall comedy is legendary, from colourful classic Psychonauts to Jack Black-starring heavy metal fantasy Brütal Legend.
Their latest project is no exception, featuring the kind of knowingly eccentric bugshit madness we've come to expect. The Cave is centred around, well, a cave, into which you'll guide seven very different adventurers in search of something they’ve lost and desperately need to find.
So, seven people go into a cave... Sounds boring, right? Well it would be if it wasn't a Double Fine game. Spewed from the mind of Manic Mansion creator Ron Gilbert (and we say "spewed" with affection), The Cave is anything but ordinary. For a start, the titular cavern talks, and actually narrates the story. It also contains some extraordinary, hauntingly beautiful sights.
The seven characters – a scientist, a monk, an adventurer, a knight, a hillbilly, a time traveller, and a pair of strange, Victorian-era twins – all come to the Cave looking for something important to them. The knight, for example, is searching for a magical sword, while the adventurer seeks her missing partner. What's interesting is that the Cave tailors itself to each individual (a handy way to diversify the levels), so while the adventurer's particular experience features sand, traps and tombs to raid, the scientist has a uniquely sci-fi laboratory aesthetic and the hillbilly's world is carnival-themed. Which of the seven oddjobs you choose for your three-man party determines the order in which you'll explore areas, and which story elements will be revealed.
The 2D Metroidvania action is designed for single-screen local co-op – there's no online mode, weirdly – with an emphasis on environmental puzzles and teamwork. Each character has unique abilities, requiring you to switch between them as in the recent awesomefest Trine 2 – and the involvement of Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert means puzzles are unlikely to be of the simple "find lever, move block" variety. With pedigree like that behind it, and looking as beautiful and unusual as it does in these screens, we can't wait to get lost in The Cave.
Developer Legacy: Founded in 2000 by Tim Schafer, Jonathan Menzies and David Dixon, San Francisco-based studio Double Fine Productions is responsible for the legendary Psychonauts (2005), as well as underappreciated fantasy adventure cum strategy game, Brutal Legend, and recent XBLA hit, Stacking. Early this year they broke records when their crowd-funded Kickstarter project Double Fine Adventure raised over 3million dollars.
Ron Gilbert is the former creative director of Hothead Games, and the celebrated designer behind several classic LucasArts hits, including Manic Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island.
They Say: “Caving is a popular activity around the world, but special precautions need to be taken by spelunkers to ensure safety. The most significant risks associated with spelunking include: hypothermia, falling, flooding and physical exhaustion.” – Livestrong.com
We Say: What can we add to that? Oh yeah, don't spelunk on an empty stomach. Or is it a full stomach? Sod it, don't listen to us, we don't even know what spelunking is. Is it dirty? It sounds dirty.
The Cave is being developed by Double Fine Productions and published by SEGA. It's due for release sometime in 2013, Mayan Apocalypse notwithstanding.
Words by Mick Fraser (Twitter: @Jedi_Beats_Tank)