Everyone Wants To Have FUN: Cargo!

By John Walker on February 1st, 2011 at 1:01 pm.

That's some continental drift.

Last year we heard that Ice Pick Lodge – they behind the extraordinary Pathologic and The Void – are working on a new game, Cargo! (Exclamation their own.) As Kieron noted last time, it’s hard not to see this bright, colourful project as a satirical response to the criticism their previous dark, barely-fathomable games have received. Described as being an “absurd comedy with musical numbers and dancing”, it’s already hard not to think this could be one of the more interesting games of the year, appearing in perhaps just a few weeks. And finally we’ve got lots of screenshots of it to get an idea just quite how strange this potentially subversive peculiarity is.

The world is drifting apart. Literally. Chunks of land are floating off into the sky. But there’s one thing that can bring it all back together, a recently discovered concentrated source of happiness that can return weight to items – FUN. They go on to explain,

“The source of FUN is suddenly discovered on a mysterious archipelago. Two reckless smugglers head there with a cargo of priceless machine parts that by miracle retained their weight, to trade them for FUN.

The Archipelago was created as a base for a new world after the Gods decided that the human race should be replaced after the human egoism led the planet to collapse. The Gods main task now is to inject more happiness into the world!

Since then however, the gods’ skills have become out dated, their calculations were misguided and their goals have became unclear. They wanted the world to be held together with happiness – but forgot about FUN!”

It’s not exactly subtle, is it? But rather clever. You’re tasked with being the hero who restores order, by building contraptions from the junkyards around the world. And this is what it looks like:

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54 Comments »

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  1. limbclock says:

    OH my goodness :D this looks very delightful and weird and FUN :D

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    Hideous says:

    That certainly *does* look like fun.

  3. Cooper says:

    Now this is something to get excited about.

    FUN! > Grey space corridors and men with guns.

  4. Ghost of Grey Cap says:

    Soooo… does anyone know where I can preorder a few copies?

  5. RagingLion says:

    Excited! Excited! EXCITED!

    I love the vision and artistic intention of these developers but I confess that the gloomy atmosphere of The Void lead to me not always being able to face booting it up and going into that world again and so it’s on hold at the moment while I complete some other games (I still intend to finish it). Even if this is just a superficially colourful and bright world it will personally help me a lot in stomaching the world and being able to play through it. Can’t wait. We need more developers like them.

  6. coldvvvave says:

    BitComposer?

    Ugh… After the whole JA2Reloaded deal I just can’t suppress Emprahs Fyureh.

  7. Mr_Hands says:

    I’d laugh if they incorporated Pathologic into the game somehow. Like, you find out that the motherlode of “Fun” is stowed away in a creepy meat pit surrounded by murderous children and strange bird-mask wearing crazies.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Game of the year!

    • vanarbulax says:

      That’s what I’m bracing for. Sure it’s cute and cuddly, but you’ll soon find yourself mired in an existential crisis which the vibrant surroundings only help to mock.

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      AndrewC says:

      ‘Fun’ , you find out, reduces your health, for their can be no fun without mortality. It ends with you sacrificing yourself to save the world, possibly by sitting on a whoopee cushion.

    • Bhazor says:

      Definitely hoping for a big twist like the game being the delusions of a dying town or something.

      Also I still can’t play pathologic since *someone* ruined the ending (spike/anatomy drawing). I’m hoping to somehow forget how it ends before I try playing it again.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      That game holds plenty more surprises than just the ending. What’s inside the polyhedron, what’s inside the abattoir, what’s inside the apiary, any trips under the town, meeting the udonghe, trying to figure out Mark Immortal and his plays… also, if I was upset that someone ruined the ending of something then I probably wouldn’t be hinting at it in comments threads. Just sayin’.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      I don’t think there will be a plot twist like that. But i am sure they entire game will be a subtle satire-critic to the belief videogames have to be FUN, and there can’t be videogames as drama, or as tragedy or as slice-of-life story. In other words like their past games, engrossing and interesting but not fun in the traditional sense.

    • Thants says:

      I’m still waiting to get an intelligible translation before I play Pathologic. Which may be a long shot. But it’s gloomy and obscure enough without the “pasted the script into babelfish” level translation.

    • Veracity says:

      Pathologic turned up in The Void at least once, but as far as I know it was just a throwaway easter egg sort of thing. If you jump down to a low ledge in one of the early nodes you can go through an opening that leads to a location from it, but there’s nothing you can actually do there.

  8. MadTinkerer says:

    Could be the next World of Goo – style Weird-Awesome game. (I’m also hoping Rock of Ages turns out good too)

  9. Javier-de-Ass says:

    extremely hyped for this!

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    Richard Beer says:

    Aren’t there any men with guns in it? Booo!

    • Dozer says:

      No, there are naked dwarves with tubas.

      MY GOODNESS DWARF FORTRESS HAS GONE 3D

  11. pkt-zer0 says:

    Slightly reminds me of Panekit. Which is cool, I like designing stuff.

  12. Pijama says:

    Them Russians are BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT I SAY!

    Ice Pick Lodge = the Dostoevsky of gaming.

    • Chopper says:

      This is true, but do you really want to play Dostoevsky? I feel guilty not playing Pathologic and the Void.

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    drewski says:

    Now *that* is art design in a videogame.

  14. Navagon says:

    The very fact that Ice Pick are behind it would be reason enough for me to be interested. Now, you see, this is what I meant when I said not everything has to be grey corridors. Looking forward to this.

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    RedViv says:

    Sounds like something I’d expect from them. If anyone here has not played The Void yet – go do so. Now.

  16. Pijama says:

    Also, for some reason, I can imagine MGMT’s “Kids” playing the WHOLE DAMN GAME.

    • Stranglove says:

      I’m gonna go with the (old TV show, not movie) ‘Magic Roundabout’ theme music. It’s certainly psychedelic enough for those screens…

  17. BooleanBob says:

    Subversive in the sense propagated by a thousand well-meaning TVtropes editors, then.

  18. enshak says:

    This is a game I would camp outside their door to get. Which I may have to, as its supposed to be out the end of march and I can’t find it anywhere on the digital download sites or amazon.

  19. GoldenNugget says:

    So what happened to depressingly Russian? I’ll still be interested in this game since it’s Ice Pick but I’m much more interested in the grotesque surrealism that was going on in their older games. Also waiting for that retranslation of Pathologic/remake.

    • enshak says:

      I am hoping there next game will be a crossover beween the void and marvel brothel, as it would be a perfect fit. They could then call it “Tension in Tights”.

  20. Zwebbie says:

    It’s a bit ironic that The Void, in my opinion, wasn’t any fun. It was definitely good enough for me to give Ice Pick Lodge the benefit of the doubt, but there’s a small voice in the back of my head that says this looks a bit like Psychonauts, which also had a clever premise and interesting world, but wasn’t a very good game.
    We’ll see. It’s one of two games that I’m actually looking forward to, and the way they’re going from games that show that fun isn’t a necessity for being good to a game that’s all about FUN is certainly refreshing in an era of sequels galore.

    • Urthman says:

      I thought Psychonauts was a fantastic game. Is there better 3D platforming action to be had on the PC?

      Sands of Time? It’s one of my favorite games ever, but the actual platforming is so scripted and rigid. Compared with Psychonauts, Sands of Time feels like the original Tomb Raider.

    • Zwebbie says:

      Urthman: Maybe that was a bit too much of personal tastes, then. Can we agree, though, that the gameplay is a bit unremarkable compared to its setting?

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      I found The Void to be fun. Not party hat fun, but still fun. I really liked figuring out the economics of the game world and such and didn’t mind starting over at all.

      I find your judgment of the game being mechanically unremarkable fascinating.

  21. EC- says:

    Am I the only one thinking Bioshock Infinite meets Dr. Seuss?

    • enshak says:

      I am thinking that if DR. Seuss is one of those smarties in Giants Citizen Kabuto then yes. Bioshock Infinite not so much unless one of those Brats is voiced by Stephen Russsell.

    • Ghost of Grey Cap says:

      I am also strongly reminded of Dr Seuss…

  22. ZIGS says:

    I have a feeling there’s more to this game than meets the eye

  23. Soon says:

    It feels like they made the whole game just to take the piss. And that is awesome.

  24. Demiath says:

    Have barely played Pathologic and been too daunted by The Void’s fascinatingly obscure gameplay mechanics to really try it out, but Ice Pick Lodge is still one of the few knowingly pretentious developers who actually might change video gaming for the better. These days my attitude to narratively and conceptually ambitious games can be summed up with “please stop talking about the Darkspawn, I just wanna go kill some orcs”, but I do make an exception for these brainy Russians.

    At the very least, they are probably the only indie developer in the universe guaranteed never to make a Braid or a Flower (or even a Limbo or The Undergarden)…

    • cjlr says:

      Well, there’s that word again.

    • DXN says:

      It’s not pretentious if they pull it off.

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      The most abused word on the internet. Poor little bugger
      .
      Here you go:

      PRETENTIOUS:

      – characterized by pretension: as a : making usually unjustified or excessive claims (as of value or standing) “the pretentious fraud who assumes a love of culture that is alien to him” — Richard Watts

      – expressive of affected, unwarranted, or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature.

  25. jplayer01 says:

    Damn it, stop pointing out so many fun/interesting/great indie games. My wallet is suffering. :P

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    Gabbo says:

    Ice-Pick Lodge are fast becoming one of my favourite dev houses, and games like this are the reason why. Hopefully John and the boys continue to keep up coverage on this one.

  27. pupsikaso says:

    Nude midgets? Colour me interested.

  28. Shazbut says:

    Yes! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES

  29. DXN says:

    TWO THUMBS FRESH. Ice Pick are pretty much the best justification there is for video games as an interesting medium. It’s awesome that they’re having a go at bright and happy – I’ll be getting this just as soon as I can!

  30. JackShandy says:

    I hear you have to labouriously build gigantic contraptions in order to please those eternally whining man-babies in screenshot 8.

    Anyone else feel mocked?

  31. Bluepixie says:

    I like her trousers.

  32. malkav11 says:

    Aaaaand it’s out on Steam to no fanfare or warning whatsoever. $20.