Lioness: an experimental adventure in human connections
Communication is one of the most artifical points in gaming. Often interacting with other “human beings” can seem like pressing buttons, literaly. Its like a choose your own adventure game, which hardly is the best model for human interaction. So its refreshing to see a game wholly devoted to re-imagining human connections and interactions in gaming.
Thats the goal for LIONESS or LIONHEART DRIVE, an experimental game developed by Zak Ayles and Phillip Lanzbom. Zak is the lead developer, and Philip is taking care of the sound, while they both have impact on writing and design.
Plot-wise, the story follows Egger Kirdym a journalist researching a series of seven missing people. And then things get wierd. He befriends a nicotine addicted cat, and a plot involving time-travel, the yakuza, and apparently interdimensional coffee unfolds. Sounds wierd enough? Thats not even the fun bit.
The gameplay is based around social interactions, life and narrative. What the devs are trying to do with this, is bring a new way to approach games an artistic and storytelling medium, instead of just the usual. The plot itself is non-linear, meaning you can experience it in a way unique to you, not in a set A-B-C format. You navigate through the story, by meeting people, solving problems, and just exploring the unique urban environments.
The environments and characters are all draw in rotoscoped graphics, which lend the game and old-school fgeel while still diferentiating it from the widespread pixel art of today’s indie games.
The best part about this project, however, is the approach they are taking to narrative. They are trying to move away from black/white decision and a provide a more organic experience that, again, feels unique to the player. This is a big step in making games, more human, and more personal to us gamers.
LIONESS is being released in 7 parts, eposodically and it is currently in the midst of a Kickstarter ending in 2 weeks.
Its already beat its funding goal, but the project doesn’t have any stretch goals. The developers believe that there is no “direct correlation between quality and scope”
We disagree with the idea that there’s any direct correlation between quality and scope in a project like this. When you force a game or film past its own scope and design it just begins to cannibalize its own narrative and vision by stretching it until it breaks. We’ve seen this become the case just recently, and have no intention of making a similar mistake
There is no reason for a project to needlessly add extra content. These guys are building the game they want, and the game they are hoping you will want, and we should support them in that.