Feb 21, 2012

Discover Incursion with the help of an interview

This picture should tell you everything you'd need to get all excited about forthcoming indie game Incursion by Cube Noir, but bits of extra info never hurt anyone. For starters and after having already played an early (and short) demo of the game I can't help but be deeply intrigued about this ambitious, text-based, story-heavy offering. Then there's an interview with designer Peter Moorhead to further enlighten you: 

Who are you, oh people of the ominous Cube Noir?

I'm Peter Moorhead, typically going by the online alias "gazornonplat", and I'm a British seventeen-year-old studying Computer Science, English Literature, and Film Making. I'm the programmer and creative director for Cube Noir, and started it up single-handedly and with no funding whatsoever about eight months back, although I originally started working on Incursion about a year and four months ago independently. People were asking me about whether or not the project was going to cost money, and that they'd happily pay a few bob for it, so I decided to turn it into something more ambitious, and since then I've brought a few talented people on-board to help make it a reality.

What else is there to say? I love electronic music, anime, Converse All Stars, and ramen. That's me.

And what is Incursion?

Incursion is what we're calling a "new-age text-based adventure game"; it's a story-driven, text-heavy game set in a classic Sword & Sorcery universe. It also features beautiful pixel art from Brian Callahan, and an enchanting soundtrack by Nick Borrego.

Will it be a commercial game?

We're planning to charge around $50, and then release a few $15 DLCs over the following six months.

No, haha. We're planning to charge very little for Incursion, around $5 or so. We might release a few limited edition copies that cost more than that, but they'll have some really awesome content to make the extra dough worthwhile.

We're also planning to release the game's soundtrack, some original artwork, and hey, maybe I'll print out a little bit of the source code and sign it if people are interested, haha.

The first demos of the game seem both refreshingly innovative and very promising. What are you aiming for?

We're aiming to streamline the classic text-based adventure game mechanics into something that is much more accessible, while still reminiscent of those amazing titles. The final game should be a satisfying non-linear experience, with several interconnecting story-arcs, and multiple endings.

Many people will hate it, but some will love it.

How did you decide on a text-based, narrative-rich game? How will it play?

Well I was a writer and critic before I was a developer, so I had a lot of criticisms about how most games handled non-linear storytelling, as well as some ideas about how they could go about it better. I feel like most games tell a story that is far too focused on wholly good or bad events, and that this isn't realistic or engaging. Shakespeare said; "All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players", and he couldn't have been more right; anyone who has been alive long enough to be reading this will know that life is full of good and bad experiences, and in fact, what is life if not our own little collection of unique experiences? There is no karma, no payback, your happiness or misfortune are not always a direct results of your actions, and so an engaging story should reflect this.

Thus is the aim for Incursion's gameplay; you'll have some good and bad experiences, but there will be no predictable and unrealistic moral compass that determines the proportion of each. Just because you followed Lassie and rescued the little boy who fell down the well, that doesn't mean that in the next level you'll find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Where did Incursion draw its inspiration upon?

Oh man, all over the place. It's different for each team member, but my biggest inspirations in gaming were Zork, Unreal II: The Awakening, The Legend of Zelda, Jordan Mechner's Prince of Persia, Superbrother's: Sword & Sworcery, Half Life, Super Meat Boy, and many, many others. I can't possibly name them all.

Christine Love's Digital: A Love Story was probably my most significant inspiration to make a game like this, even though the similarities aren't all that obvious. That game made me cry, man. Incursion is even developed with the same technology that she used, since I began teaching myself Ren'Py right after I finished her game. Everyone who cares about story or player immersion in games at all needs to play it.

Could you tell us a bit more on those lovable chunky and pixel-arty graphics of the game?

Brian can take full credit for the amazing art. He says he likes the original artwork I did while I was working on my own, but it's really not even comparable. If I had to put an estimate on it, I'd say his was about a few million times better.

He was a perfect fit for the project; he'd always wanted to make a game but lacked the coding knowledge, whereas I'd was capable with code but crap at making art. He's really, really passionate about his work, and spends a lot of time perfecting and animating each piece.

He was inspired largely by Superbrother's: Sword & Sworcery, and also by Salvador Dali, and Eyvind Earle, in fact, at one point the artwork of Incursion was heavily reminiscent of Eyvind Earle's 1950s work, but we had to reign it back in because, while unique and beautiful, it didn't really mesh so well with the rest of the game, and there was only so much you could do with that style.

He also has a blog at househeadstudios.wordpress.com which he updates pretty regularly, mostly with Incursion artwork, so be sure to follow him there if you want to get a sneak peak at new art assets.

When should we expect the released of Incursion?

I can't make any promises, but we're shooting for some time around December 2012 or January 2013 for PC, Mac and Linux. We might also do an Android port if the demand is there.

What other unique traits will the game sport?

The soundtrack is fully dynamic! Nick does a great job of separating and transitioning pieces, so that the changes in tone of each level are smooth and unique to the player's pace. This means that it doesn't matter whether it takes you ten minutes or thirty seconds to progress to the next scene, the changes in soundtrack will still fit perfectly.

Related @ Gnome's Lair:


  1. Replies
    1. Blog Narrator2/22/12, 9:19 PM

      (removes the catatonic elderly person....)

    2. And don't forget to call the nurse. It always helps him...

    3. Blog Narrator2/23/12, 10:57 AM

      :( Ahem!! perhap not this time...

      .....I've buried him!

    4. Very well then. Call her and provide her with a shovel. She's a reanimatrix, she is.

  2. I wish I could have called myself an "ex-writer/ex-critic" at the age of seventeen.

    1. Not ex, I still write for The Indie Game Magazine. :)

    2. Ah, lovely, that's settled then :)