Exile On Moon Street: Capsized

By Kieron Gillen on October 10th, 2009 at 10:09 am.


Sipping morning tea, I find myself looking at the newly announced game due in 2010 (via Steam) from Alientrap Software, who you may know as the developer of the free open-source shooter Nexuiz. In first few seconds I’m thinking “Metroid” or “Turrican”, and kinda shrugging. A few later, I think “Exile“. And then I notice its name. It’s totally someone trying to do a modern take on the ancient Physics-lead exploration game Exile. From ambition alone, I suspect this bears close watching. I suspect many of American readers won’t be aware of Exile. It’s… well, in Edge’s retro reviews, writing about old games as if Edge would have if they were around then (with the benefit of hindsight) they gave their precious ten to three only: Elite, Super Mario Bros and Exile. That’s the sort of company it keeps. Footage follows.

Looks like Exile to me. Let’s hope I’m right and they can pull it off. They’re currently looking for Playtesters, if that’s your sort of thing.

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41 Comments »

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  1. Stu says:

    It does look very much like a more arcadey take on Exile. Finite ammo though? That could get frustrating. Hmm.

    Also, I had no idea Exile was genuinely regarded as a classic; between the BBC Micro version and the years-later Amiga ports, I thought it would be one of those cult games that occasionally get a mention when discussing the evolution of games. “Emergent gameplay? Well, there was this game on the BBC…”

  2. Casimir's Blake says:

    This has almost entirely renewed my interest in gaming. If only for platformers. Not enough of those going around right now. Hopefully they’ll have a demo of this in the offing, this looks like a buy for me either way.

    Oh and Between the Buttons was better ;)

  3. Senethro says:

    FPS to 2D platformer? Thats quite a genre jump. Mind you, Nexiuz wasn’t all that hot, so maybe its a good thing.

  4. Hermit says:

    Yay, jetpacks. It’s missing Exile’s slightly sarcastic suit messages, though, which is a shame. Annoying birds and mechanised lemmings indeed.

  5. Shadrach says:

    Looks a lot of fun. Never played Exile but it reminds me of Polish multiplayer Soldat, but without the ├╝berskilled kids that make it impossible to play for me.

  6. MrTest says:

    Exile! This is precisely what people *should* be remaking. Good work those computer men.

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    James G says:

    Oooh, that looks quite fun. I never played Exile, or even heard of it, but the trailer looks good. I often though that 2D platformers could make greater use of the mouse for targeting.

    I’ve discovered over the past year or so that I still have a major soft-spot for the 2D platformer, especially those which do something a bit more than follow the SMB mould. (Not a huge fan of your basic Mario clone. Perhaps because it has no nostalgia for me.)

    Currently playing ‘Cave Story’ which is quite enjoyable. It is a case of favouring tight design over innovation, but the mechanics are varied enough that this isn’t an issue.

  8. c-Row says:

    I remember playing Exile without really understanding what I was supposed to do. This looks a bit hectic, but might be fun nevertheless.

  9. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    Subterranea, Metroid, Metal Slug, Turrican, and awesomeness detected.

    Also, why shrug about Metroid? If you discount Bioshock since it’s a spiritual successor, Metroid is probably the closest to System Shock you can find on consoles.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Metroid-inspired indie games aren’t necessarily interesting by their mere existence, basically. People do ‘em. Exile is a bit “W…. hat?”.

      KG

  10. Kerry says:

    By coincidence, I found this freeware remake of Exile last night: http://exile.ovine.net/.

    Probably worth a download for anyone who hasn’t had the chance to play it yet – although for me the spartan aesthetic of the Amiga version was part of the appeal, so I’m not quite sure what to make of the slightly shinier graphics.

    Exile is a game that’s really stayed with me. I had a demo of it long before I actually played the game, and I remember just interacting with the physics, seeing if it was possible to do certain things. It was my first experience of emergent gameplay, and I was struck by the permissiveness and the openness of the world – it really encouraged you to explore and experiment.

    • Taillefer says:

      I was just about to post that. It’s really rather good, go play!

  11. sfury says:

    Looks pretty neat!

  12. bill says:

    Wow. I don’t remember the name Exile at all… but looking at that screenshot on wikipedia immediately made me remember hours of wasted computer classes on the BBC Micro.

    Wow… now i REALLY want to find a BBC emulator…

  13. Dominic White says:

    On the Turrian mention note, there was a seriously great fan-made ‘sequel’ released not long ago.

    http://www.turrican.gamevoice.de/hurrican_site/

    Check out Hurrican. It’s seriously up to the level – and possibly even beyond – of the originals. Best played on a gamepad with a bunch of buttons though, as it’s very helpful to have all your weapons bound to easily accessible buttons.

    It’s really good. I’d have paid for it, were it not free.

  14. MD says:

    Oooh

    I’m not familiar with Exile, but this looks like it could be wonderful fun. Can’t wait to try out the movement in particular.

  15. Miles of the Machination says:

    Subterranean homesick alien?!

    Puns aside, this looks like a nice bit of fun with some great art direction. Also, I suppose I’m too young to have ever played Exile, but it does look like a nice combination of that simple platformer-y exploration style with the crazy action influences of Nexuis.

  16. six says:

    Skeptical. Exile on the Beeb was (and still is!) awe-inspiring on a technical level, but physics are no longer a novelty in modern games. Late to the party as I am, I played Exile for the first time just a few years ago, but I was still able to get wrapped up in it because of the atmosphere (lonely game, yes, but the ur-lonely game!) and the big, seamless, intimidating, cryptic world it offered up. This trailer, though, thrusts (no pun intended) physics and generic epic music and lots and lots of shooting at us.

    It’s a bit obnoxious, I guess, is what I’m trying to say. Then again, it is just a trailer.

  17. Dominic White says:

    So, the trailer was fairly impressive, but something about left me cold, and I just figured out what: The music. It totally doesn’t fit it.

    They need to get some Amiga tracker chiptunes in there straight away. Hire the guy who did the music for Hurrican, whoever it was, as they know exactly what they’re doing.

  18. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    @Kieron: My apologies then, it seemed you were shrugging at Metroid itself and not at indie games based on it.

    And true, there seems to be a somewhat steady income of Metroid inspired or derived indie titles. But Capsized seems – to me, at least – doing it with considerable style.

  19. GreyLord says:

    I like what I see, but I hope they work on the main character’s animation and smooth it; right now, it seems pretty stiff with so much action around him.

    I guess him wearing an astronaut suit has something to do with it but, we’re talking mostly arcade here, I think.

  20. Shadowcat says:

    bill: There are good beeb emulators around.

  21. tekDragon says:

    Looks like Aquaria with a jetpack, delightful.

  22. Jack says:

    Okay, they’re remaking a classic I’ve never heard of.
    Now…
    WHERE’S MY X-COM REMAKE!?!?!?

  23. RobF says:

    I’m sold on the sound effects alone. More noisy games please, people.

    Also, for Exile-isms, I made some noise for The Nameless a few years back. Might be worth a looksy for those looking for some ambient-BBC-homage-jetpac-physics-annoying-fucking-birds adventuring thrills.

  24. MacBeth says:

    Ah, Exile… I played that on the ol’ BBC Model B, and got what I thought was reasonably far through it (given I was around 10 or 11 I guess). A while back I looked it up on Google, and found a walkthrough… and it’s unbelievable. How anyone was supposed to work out what to do (and given the total lack of internets-based information there were no hints or walkthroughs available), I have no idea. It was a really difficult game, where you could easily run out of energy and be pretty much helpless, particularly if you were trying to figure out what to do next and weren’t even sure if what you were trying was even possible. Ah the old days of Really Hard Games…

  25. Helm says:

    I love the old Exile. This makes the game look like an arcade game foremost and not an exploration game. We’ll see, I guess.

    Exile is very very playable after you get used to the controls.

  26. Ben L. says:

    Thank goodness they used an Abuse-style control scheme. I’d begun to think people had forgotten how to do 2D PC shooters.

  27. Hybrid says:

    Looks really great. I hope theres some more focus on exploration than what they showed in the trailer. Did anyone else notice the first few enemies look like the Flood from Halo? and the music sounds similar to.

  28. Caiman says:

    Yeah, the main thing about Exile was the puzzle-solving, trying to find objects and use them in the right places. Actually, that’s what made me useless at the thing – some of the puzzles were best described as “unintuitive”. Or maybe it was just me. This does look interesting though. The indie game scene is like an 80’s/90’s gaming renaissance and hence far more interesting than most of the AAA stuff these days.

  29. Spoon says:

    This looks more like Abuse with an Exile paintjob to me. Not that it’s a bad thing.

  30. Inanimotioon says:

    Looks like SOLDAT Single-Player campaign to me.

  31. Binni says:

    I also felt that Aquaria was a sort of spiritual successor to Exile. I still love the general feel and concept of Exile so this game really interests me. Hope they can pull of “the feel”.

  32. Ergates says:

    Back in the 16-bit days, a few of us had Exile. We all loved it, but none of us actually made much progress. It was a quite hard and it was never clear exactly what you were meant to do.

    Still, lofting grenades onto frogs is always fun.

    • Ergates says:

      So “Exile but a bit more arcadey” would be no bad thing.

  33. Caio says:

    More or less on the subject, here’s some supreme Exile redesign goodness: http://www.itchstudios.com/psg/exile/exile-ish.htm