Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Project Announcement: Organ Trail Director's Cut

While demoing The Swapper on the Indie Megabooth floor at PAX last year I met the delightful people behind indie dev, The Men Who Wear Many Hats. I'd played through their Oregon Trail remix, Organ Trail, on my iPhone earlier that year, and have felt old every time since that someone younger than me doesn't know what Oregon Trail is.

A few months ago the guys got in touch to ask if I'd produce some new events for the Director's Cut, to coincide with its release on new platforms. It's already out on just about everything from Android to Ouya to Steam, and I have no idea what the new platforms actually are, but I suppose the only possible options are further mobile/tablet platforms, or a console-based digital distribution store. The breakdown of the job was 30 events at 300 - 400 words per event, which is a good couple of weeks' work, but also constitutes a significant increase in the variety of events offered by the main game. At any rate, I said yes, and the results should be available at some indeterminate point in 2014.

The work is obviously quite similar in nature to what I'm doing on FTL, but it was interesting to be able to directly compare the different tones of the games, and how the subtleties of gameplay in each dictated unique structures for the events themselves. For instance, the core gameplay in FTL is quite detailed - you directly interact with your systems and crew - while in Organ Trail your buddies have no visual presence in gameplay, and the resources are limited to car parts, food, cash and bullets. In one way this limits the story, because there is less variety in what you can deliver gameplay-wise as the outcome to an event. You can't introduce a character in the story and then see them in gameplay during the next combat. However, because both combat and text events are relatively rare in Organ Trail, the narrative is freed of FTL's constant pressure to keep the word count to an absolute minimum, and to push towards combat-based outcomes. Every event in Organ Trail is as involved and varied as the 'big budget' events in FTL.

The tones differ as well. Justin set the style in FTL, and it's what I'd call a matter of fact attitude. Events are generally described in an objective way, without florid details or in depth character analyses. Organ Trail has a darker tone, and more room for detail. What's a zombie apocalypse without a little gore and despair?

So, you can grab Organ Trail right now for £2-£4, depending on your location and platform, or you can wait for the new platforms to be announced, along with the release of the new content I've been working on.

Here's a trailer.

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