Dr. David's Indie Spotlight: Elegy for a Dead World impressions
Dejobaan Games is widely known for creating offbeat games that sport titles that are awesome to say out loud. Drunken Robot Pornography, 1... 2... 3... Kick It! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby), and AaAaAA!!! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity are all proof of that. It helps that these games are a legit blast to play, and Dejobaan has quickly cemented itself as a developer of games that are just damn entertaining. Interestingly, the studio is going in a drastically different direction and is teaming up with Popcannibal to release Elegy for a Dead World.
Unlike what you'd expect from either Dejobaan or Popcannibal, this upcoming project takes on a more serious tone. Inspired by British Romantic poetry, the game's main mechanic allows you to write and create stories. The exact stories you're creating are entirely up to you, but whatever you choose to write will create a history for the many worlds you'll visit. It's an interesting and thought-provoking experiment in gaming that could provide a truly riveting experience.
Quite possibly the most intriguing aspect of Elegy for a Dead World is how it incorporates its storytelling into the game's community. You can share your stories with others via Steam Workshop, in essence visiting a colorful world and contributing to a vast collection of interpretations of said world. The game allows you to either fill in the blanks for pre-written phrases or write an entire story right off the top of your head. In addition, if you go with the former, you can go back and edit the writing that's already there to make the poem more your own.
Elegy for a Dead World isn't all about the text, though. As I walked through a level during some hands-on time with the game, I was treated to a land filled with wondrous art. The level I played through looked great, and its blend of strong and vibrant reds, browns, and oranges created a classic vibe that reminded me of old fantasy book covers and animated films. The whole thing also had this sci-fi feel that merged ancient and futuristic quite seamlessly, and I was inspired to press on with every step I took.
Aside from all of the lovely art, Elegy for a Dead World also boasts magnificent sound design. The stage I played didn't have any music — I don't even know if there will be music in the game — but the loud humming sound in the background created an intense feeling. It was very atmospheric, and it gave my experience a spacey, otherworldly feel.
Speaking with Popcannibal's Ziba Scott, I found out that each stage in Elegy for a Dead World is directly influenced by different poetic works. The dev's primary inspirations from the Romantic movement include Byron, Keats, and Shelley. As such, each stage — and its accompanying text — is a loose interpretation of a classic poem. Of course, the game's emphasis on creativity encourages you to make each story and poem a personal tale if you so choose.
It's cool to see a quirky studio like Dejobaan working on something massively different from its previous work. The collaboration with Popcannibal is especially noteworthy, and seeing what these two indie entities can do together has already proven to be quite fun and mesmerizing.
An exact launch date has yet to be announced, but Elegy for a Dead World is definitely something that creative types should keep a lookout for. As someone who enjoys poetry, storytelling, and art, I can't even begin to express how excited I am to be able to create living worlds to share with others. Likewise, I look forward to seeing what other players have in store for the Steam Workshop community. Elegy for a Dead World is a different kind of game that should make for a captivating experience when it arrives later this year.
Want to talk about indie games, Kirby, or cheap pizza? Follow me on Twitter @dr_davidsanchez.