Our scrappy indie development team at Prologue Games is wrapping up work on the final act of our first project: Knee Deep. It’s a swamp noir murder mystery stage play presented as an adventure game.
No, seriously, it’s a play. Everything takes place in the world’s biggest virtual theatre, with curtains, painted backdrops, and scenery and props that slide in, fold out, lift away.
Here’s the trailer for Act 2 to give a sense of how it all works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYjD6e3JT8w
The first two acts — Wonderland and Festival — are available on Steam for PC/Mac/Linux. The final act, Boomtown, is planned for release in Q1 2016. Keep reading for more information or drop me a line at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter at @DougPiranha.
Knee Deep in the story
“Behold!” — Robert Woodstep, Act 2: Festival
You’re the star of our strange little show — a mix of “Twin Peaks” and “True Detective” dropped into a forgotten Florida town — after a Hollywood has-been hangs himself from a tower in a tacky tourist trap called Chief Roadside’s Wonderland.
You play three main characters — a quirky young female blogger named Romana Teague, a grumpy middle-aged print reporter named Jack Bellet, and an end-of-his-rope, fallen-from-grace private investigator named K.C. Gaddis.
As you delve into the dark doings in the town of Cypress Knee, it becomes clear that, of course, nothing’s quite what it seems.
Knee Deep in the game
“It’s nothing like Call of Duty.” — Dissatisfied Knee Deep demo player (EGX Rezzed 2015)
Much of the game is driven by choices you make while talking to other characters. But Knee Deep also offers a couple of other methods of driving the narrative forward:
- Reports. Each character’s got someone waiting for news, whether it’s their blog audience, newspaper readers, or the client who hired them to investigate the situation in Cypress Knee. Pick a spin for your report — either Cautious, Edgy, or Inflammatory — and then click PUBLISH.
- Puzzles. At key moments during each act, Knee Deep presents players with relatively simple brain-teasers — from activating a fuse box in the first act to letting a dog drive a tractor in the third.
Knee Deep in the news
“If it bleeds, it leads.” — Ross Stevens, Act 1: Wonderland
We’ve had the privilege of sharing Knee Deep with gamers at EGX Rezzed and EGX. We’ve been showcased on several blogs and received coverage from fantastic sites, such as Just Adventure, Adventuregamers.com, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Jim Sterling, host of the Jimquisition, even took Knee Deep for a spin.
Here’s a quick (and not-quite-complete) collection of articles and reviews of the game so far:
- Just Adventure
- INDY Week
- PC Gamer
- The Jimquisition
- We Got This Covered
- Analog Addiction
- Hardcore Gamer
Knee Deep in the making
“Everyone experiences their own personal apocalypse sometime.” — Jack Bellet, Act 1: Wonderland.
We’ve made an undeniably strange game, which seems perfectly appropriate for the story’s weird Florida environs. It’s part conversation simulator, part visual novel, part puzzle game, delivered in a unique eye-catching style with a definite film noir mood.
Several of us worked together on another project with a much larger team at Icarus Studios — Fallen Earth, a post-apocalyptic MMORPG that launched in 2009. We’re all thrilled to be working on something smaller, more intimate in scale, with a focus on characters, narrative choices, and visual storytelling.
The lead writer/designer (yours truly) has a background in professional journalism, so the report-writing mechanic in Knee Deep came naturally to mind — even if it would make my college newspaper adviser shake his head in dismay.
I grew up and worked as a reporter for many years in bizarre Florida, so the oddities that arise in Knee Deep are inspired as much from nostalgia and love for my home state as they are from occasional horrified disbelief.