Tuesday 31 July 2012

Project Announcement: PAX10 Nominee, The Swapper

This is one of my favourite parts - getting to talk about something new. When that something new is already winning awards and is looking in good shape it's even better.

The Swapper is a 2D puzzle platformer with a certain sort of psychological, thinky tone that should explain why I'm working on it. More than that, the found-object-based visuals (clay, bits of bicycle etc) are just beginning to come together after months of narrative design work. It's Helsinki-based Facepalm Games' first game, and it's as solid a puzzle explorer as I've seen.

Another major reason I got involved was The Swapper's enviable status as one of the seven games to be backed by Indie Fund. I can only figure that those guys know their stuff, and that they conducted a far more thorough due diligence than I ever could.

It's been a lovely, tight script for me to have a crack at. At around 6 hours playtime we're only shooting for about 3,000 words of short, high-value text logs and dialogues. Combine that with a game editor that lets me  redraft text and test it on the fly and there's just no excuse for every word not being right. The game's concerned with the metaphysical and ethical ramifications of a device that clones people and lets them swap between bodies. I like that sort of thing, don't you know.

We've just begun the writing process, and the game world is taking on detail and meaning. At the end of the month the game's won us an exhibition spot at PAX Prime (31st August 2012), so we'll all be jetting off to Seattle to show the thing off. It's going to be my first experience of the US show circuit, and I'm looking forward to - for once - being able to come face to face with the people who play our games - and with any luck watching them have fun.

The game is due in 2013, and you can read more and check out screens & trailers in the official press release over at the Facepalm blog.


  1. This is, incidentally, the game I was thinking about during this post: http://tom-jubert.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/silent-protagonists-unique-opportunity.html

    Are you headed to PAX? if you are come by The Swapper booth and say hello!

  2. Ok, this is really cool. I'm being quite selective with indie puzzle games these days since there's quite a lot but this one has stood out for me by the tone that has seemed to come across from the trailers and the mechanic seems like it has quite a lot of depth for exploring over the course of a game too. It's the dark mystery and isolation that it seems to have going on which is intriguing.

  3. Thanks!

    PS If you like the look of the game please Like us on Facebook!


  4. Well, this looks really interesting! Hope you guys do something really cool - lots of potential there for a nice narrative :).

    The atmosphere made me remember about another indie game I played at the start of this year, Vessel. Incidentally in that game they tackled the "silent protagonist" problem in the form of log entries; that way the player can decide to skip reading them or read them to understand the plot a bit better.

  5. We're thinking about logs at the moment, and how to implement them so they're not just a bunch of diary entries. There will probably still be some diary entries.