I was browsing the IndieGaming section of reddit the other day when a GIF of a noire-looking game, with a gorgeous pixel-perfect aesthetic to go with it. Seeing as both of those things really appeal to me, I couldn’t not get more information about it!
Fortunately, when I asked for a bit more information about Backbone, the people at EggNut were kind enough to answer all of my questions – and more!
Backbone is a story about discrimination and prejudice, tyranny and dictatorship, the development of society on the remains of past civilisations, about how the environment shapes us, and how we influence it in return. It is focused on thorough character development, investigating rich environment and problem solving with multiple outcomes for every decision. Experience the emotional and thought-provoking story about humanity through the interactive medium of video games. Become a detective – collect crucial pieces of evidence on the crime scene, interrogate witnesses, solve puzzles using in-game objects, and sneak around hostile environments using smell-based stealth mechanics.
What are the inspirations behind the game?
The main inspiration for Backbone is Vancouver, with its amazing architecture and natural landscapes. We’re kind of tired of noir movies taking place in LA and New York, so we wanted a fresh approach, besides, a part of our team resides in Vancouver. We’re including real buildings, views, famous landmarks and even the game map is that of a real city. Another huge inspiration is classical film noir, with its social commentary on poverty, classism, banditism and corrupt government, as well as post-humanism approach of neo-noir titles like Blade Runner. Backbone is not a cyberpunk story or setting, but rather a retrofuturistic world inhabited by human-like animals, which is going to further illustrate the issues of the modern society of divided humanity.
What platforms are you looking to put Backbone on?
We’re releasing Backbone in 2019 on PC, Mac, and Linux. Porting to PS4, Xbox and Switch are a matter of funding, and are going to be included as stretch goals for Kickstarter.
Will the game play out like a point and click adventure? Or will it be more side scrolling type game?
Backbone gameplay is a mix between cinematographic platformers like Another World and Inside, stealth titles like Mark of the Ninja and puzzles like OddWorld. We were laughing the other day that the closest title is probably South Park: The Stick of Truth.
How long will Backbone be?
Backbone is going to take approximately 3-4 hours, we feel that it’s the optimum in this age of million games that players don’t have time to finish. The story is going to come full-circle, but definitely with some place for replayability with multiple choice decisions you could make during your investigation.
How big is the team at EggNut?
The team is growing, right now there are 10 people in EggNut. Three of us are working full-time on the project – two artists and myself, a project manager and communication specialist. Nikita Danshin, our game designer, composer and developer and Maria Danshin, art director reside in Vancouver, while the rest of the team are scattered across Russia. After we release Backbone, we want to open an actual office, but there is always going to be an opportunity for the team to work remotely from any country they love the most at the moment.
Have you made any games before, or is Backbone your first?
Backbone is our first game development project together, but all of us have extensive experience in IT, design, art, writing and music. Game industry is very young and open for innovation, and we no longer feel that you necessarily need to be a seasoned developer to make it – careful planning, constant learning and human approach could do a lot more.
Why did you choose a raccoon to be the lead?
When we were shuffling around the ideas for the game we wanted to make, we had this huge list of main protagonists like sentient AI, a clerk doing a VR interview, birds, and you name it. And then raccoons infested Nik’s backyard, literally thrashed all over the place, and tried to attack his wife. Everyone living in North America has a love/hate relationship with this animal, this thrash-panda, so we immediately decided that it’s a great fit for a main character. The rest of the world building came naturally after that.
Will we see more of the fuzzy detective, in future releases or DLC?
We definitely want to revisit this world, if not with the same cast or on the same timeline, but we already have ideas for another full game. We’ll see how it goes after the release in 2019!
If you want to find out more about Backbone, visit EggNut’s website! It’s well worth signing up to their newsletter as well, as they plan on having a Kickstarter in the coming weeks!