Tinker, Glazier, Soldier, Spy: Gunpoint

By Adam Smith on November 29th, 2011 at 9:50 am.

Is it possible to refenestrate?

Update: I’d missed a delay announcement. Gunpoint won’t be home by Christmas.

Games journalist and professional Francois Truffaut imitator Tom Francis is making the bold leap from critic to creator with Gunpoint, a heist game without procedurally generated cities but with projectile trousers and rewired security systems that cause light switches to activate doors which then clobber people in the face. The video below is the first to show the new visuals in action and it’s also an in-depth guide to how the game will play. In the video, Tom also asks whether people would consider parting with cash for the game, to which I respond by drawing your attention to the existence of a mission called Defenestrator.

If I had to do a commentary explaining the game, I’d spend at least two minutes gleefully launching myself through windows and repeatedly asking if people had seen how I launched myself through windows. Sensibly, Tom spends more time explaining the crosslink system which is the real heart of the game. It’s a system that instantly makes sense to my brain, even though I imagine there will be comical mishaps aplenty, and I do want to see just how complex the later missions are.

I can’t be the only person watching this who already craves a follow-up in a similar style that follows the exaggerated career of Buster Keaton?

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64 Comments »

  1. tdsmale says:

    I’d pay money for it.

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      Seconded.

    • Cael says:

      Same, can’t believe how nice it looks now, especially compared to his programmer art.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Probably set a price around £10.

      If he’s not confident about selling it for more than free, a low price should strike a good middle-ground.

      The game itself is looking very nice, both graphically (no lazy “pixel art is nostalgia”) and technically (the window-smash and rewire hacking are both things fairly unique)

      A decent set of levels, and maybe a map-maker and it’d definitely be worth that.

    • mandrill says:

      I would suggest doing a ‘pay what you want’ thing with a minimum. People seem to like them. (I see a ‘Humble Indy Bundle: Journo Edition’ at some point in the future)

    • Tatourmi says:

      I’d pay for it too. It does seem fairly unique.

    • BathroomCitizen says:

      I’d buy this one.

    • DrazharLn says:

      I’d buy it, though I’m not sure how much I’d be willing to pay.

    • AmateurScience says:

      Pay for this I would, good it looks, excited I am.

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      @Hoaxfish: Don’t diss the pixel art man. There’s nothing lazy about it.

    • RagingLion says:

      I looove the look of this. Would definitely pay money for it. Could charge £4 maybe.

    • oldkc says:

      I’d give it between 5 and 10gbp. I have issues with games that have great graphics and pants playability, this one has great ideas, and uses pixels well. Got my vote

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Looks cool. I’d definately pay for it.

    • 69stabcat says:

      I’ll pay you 10 america dollars

    • GT3000 says:

      Is it me or is this article’s title from a Star Trek episode? Specifically Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy. Man, I need to stop watching so much Voyager.

    • Gormongous says:

      It’s the first thing I think of too, because I’m irredeemable, but that episode title is actually a reference to the 1974 John le Carré spy novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

      Apparently, so long as the first and last job positions remain unchanged, you can make virtually anything a callback to a fairly competent piece of espionage literature.

    • Wahngrok says:

      I also would buy this. Look like lots of fun.

    • Groove says:

      It depends how much content it actually includes, but I’d definitely drop a fiver even if it only lasted around 2 or 3 hours.

  2. TheLongKahn says:

    I’ll allow it.

  3. Vexing Vision says:

    The Tom Francis fanclub continues to wave it’s flag of glee and happiness.

  4. chromeshelter says:

    I would say i would pay a tenner for this easily.

    • WombatDeath says:

      I would pay no more than one hundred and seventy billion pounds sterling for this game.

  5. Orija says:

    Has anyone of you seen the film, worth watching?

  6. c-Row says:

    Looks great, but I fear I am not smart enough for it.

  7. gulag says:

    SHUT UP & TAKE MY MONEY!!!

    Ahem, well, this discussion comes at an interesting time, considering some of the things being talked about re: pricing for indie games, bundles, sales etc.

    Used to be the case that a dev like this might ask for 15 of the local currency for a game with this much polish and innovation (The 2D burgalry genre is an old, but thin one, but seems to be enjoying a resurgence), and maybe a thousand people would buy it, and everyone would be laughing, and eating raman.

    Then all of the aforementioned happened, because we all got interneted.

    TL;DR – Pitch it at a tenner, get a few hundred/a thousand sales that way. Generate mad PR spin from all the lovely people not playing Farmville before getting it into a bundle or onto a digital distro channel, and watch it sell for a buck, but many hundreds of thousands of times. Do a million sales, marry a model, flip tricks off a yacht.

    (Or at least do well enough to make another game)

    • Tatourmi says:

      I agree, this seems to be the best way of selling games nowadays. Buzz it like hell (By giving copies of it to some websites, getting in touch with the likes of Totalbiscuit, getting some music made by a big name of the indy music scene (Danny B or Dave S.B would be ace, as their style might match with the game methinks, and Dave S.B might not be the hardest guy to get in touch with, I don’t know), get some more interesting concepts in there, polish it like hell, maybe even beeing a finalist of the IGF? Why not? Have people praise your game and then get into a bundle. It seems like the best thing to do. I hope you succeed.

  8. Hoaxfish says:

    My only worry, and it’s a small one, is that with all these different ways to complete a level it might usually fall to the simplest (e.g. shove everyone out the window, then rewire all the doors to all the light-switches, or something)… The levels shown in the video suggest this’ll probably wont apply though.

    • Tyshalle says:

      Having already playtested the game, I can tell you fairly definitively that won’t be an issue. If a guard sees you, they can basically insta-kill you, and they’re smartly placed in a way that unless you spend time figuring out how to manipulate them to get them to turn their backs to the staircase you intend to come down, they’re gonna get you. Blowing through windows gets them to come running at you. Shooting them gives you like 20 seconds before the cops arrive and you auto-lose the level. If an elevator stops next to them, they won’t investigate, but they will turn toward the elevator to see if something’s about to come out of it.

      It’s pretty smart, despite its simplicity.

  9. MajorManiac says:

    I love the look of this game. To be safe, I’d set the minimum price at around £4, with a pay what you want option. Maybe offer more incentives for buying at the average price.

  10. Joe Duck says:

    So who’s going to review it for RPS?

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      They should draft in that nice Tom Francis to write a guest review.

    • oceanclub says:

      “They should draft in that nice Tom Francis to write a guest review.”

      “I laughed, I cried. Makes the Zelda games look like ‘Limbo of the Lost’. 11/10.”

      P.

    • shoptroll says:

      Dunno, but I already know what IGN would write…

  11. Stuart Walton says:

    Reminds me of Art of Theft, although the gameplay is very different.

  12. skyturnedred says:

    Looks awesome, though I’m probably too dumb to play it. Would still pay money for it.

  13. Tatourmi says:

    Will there be a coop mode? It seems like the kind of thing I would love to see, especially if people have different abilities and such. Be part of a team and all that good stuff.

    Besides, it does seem inspired by Bonanza Brothers, so I don’t know, coop would just make sense to me…

  14. fuggles says:

    Tom, I have to say I much prefer your re-imagining of the syndicate franchise! Either the syndicate OST, or some light jazz would hit the soundtrack bill. However, if possible, could you set the soundtrack up to be “modular”, so that you can set your own mp3′s to play, either through an option or by renaming in a directory?

    PCG subscriber, RPS reader, would definitely pay up to about £10.

  15. merc-ai says:

    As already mentioned above, this is relevant to recent discussions on indie game pricing.
    Youtube comments for this video have some like “I’d pay for it, but no more than N, because I bought IndieGame Y at bundle / Steam discount”. Sure, it does not mean everyone thinks that, but still.
    And let’s not forget that Gunpoint is one of the more known indie games that receive a lot of coverage during development – most indie games don’t get that advantage, either.

    And on the subject of Gunpoint, I was delighted to see that “multiple punch in the face” is still in game (when he drops on a cop from ceiling).

    Also, we need more games with tactical defenestration.

    • pauleyc says:

      “Also, we need more games with tactical defenestration.”

      That, plus face-slapping doors. That feature alone is worth 5$.

  16. Gnoupi says:

    I always liked the irony that in stealth moments, guards all have a blocked neck which prevents them from looking up.

    Yet their most common way of dying will be from the infiltrator snapping their neck.

    I assume most infiltration heroes are disgruntled chiropractors morally torn between their will to help these guards release their pain and doing what is necessary for the mission. Hopefully that explains the amount of snapped necks, as a result.

  17. Zarunil says:

    Watching that video made me instantly think of Persian Gulf Inferno.

  18. sneetch says:

    I’d definitely pay for it, it looks great and he deserves a reward for his work.

  19. dog says:

    i thought from the screenshot it was a remake of Elevator Action

  20. TODD says:

    why pay when you can just pirate? pc gaming ftw tbhtbhtbthtbhthb

  21. HisMastersVoice says:

    I’d easily pay 10 quid for this.

    I’d pay 40 for your remake of Syndicate in glorious 2D scrolling action.

  22. piratmonkey says:

    Sir, how much money must I throw at your feet before I may own a copy?

  23. michal.lewtak says:

    I’m hoping that either the developer was using a highly upgraded character, or the levels get much more complex, or both, because that looks very easy to me. The rewiring system is nice but I’m hoping for limitations and/or very difficult situations that turn into fun puzzles to solve with this system.
    In any case, where do I throw my money?

    • Maldomel says:

      Same here. Also, I think I would enjoy bigger levels, ones where you don’t see everything at first glance for example.

  24. LieutLaww says:

    My money, take it, NOW

  25. Hodge says:

    Come next year that Mr Francis will be wearing my money as a hat.

  26. Maldomel says:

    I’d pay for this, yes. But I’m a little worried about the IA and the overall difficulty. The guards are reacting in such a simple and…”idiotic” manner that it seemed too easy. Also, while rewiring everything looks like a lot of fun and possibilities, it seems a bit too easy too.
    I would still buy only for those crazy stunts!!

  27. Joe Duck says:

    Oh, and I forgot to say that I too would pay money for it. Around 10 euros feels right, maybe 8 if you feel insecure.

  28. Dakia says:

    This is cool enough that I would definitely toss some cash his direction.

  29. deadly.by.design says:

    I’d pay $5, maybe $10, but an Indie Bundle is probably his best bet for both purchases & public awareness.

  30. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    He definitely shouldn’t start off with an indie bundle. instantly saturates the market for full price sales…

  31. jimbobjunior says:

    I would definitely pay money, but not sure how much. Only 20 levels worries me a little. From the video, 5 mins per level seems generous, leaving less than 2 hours gameplay. For that I would pay £5.

    If the later levels were longer/more difficult and there was a good story, I could see paying £8-10. I can’t see me getting as much play value out of it as SpaceChem, which I got for £10.

    In saying that, it looks great, and I’ll probably pick it up regardless, though I might grumble at a price tag of a tenner.

  32. LennyLeonardo says:

    This looks really bloody good. I would pay a tenner for it, no probs.
    Really enjoyed reading Tom’s post about the reasons for delay, too. And watching the video where he drinks whiskey and auditions fan-made sound effects. It were funny. Cheers, Tom!

  33. Xorlathor says:

    Games like this are what make me love living in a time where indie games freakin rock.

  34. Shadrach says:

    Woohoo I love me some EMERGENT GAMEPLAY! Just the sound of the guard being thumped by the door is reason enough to buy it for me :)

    Would go good with some spy-music, something Bond-like would fit nicely.

  35. Sic says:

    This looks awesome.

  36. duffers says:

    I would pay 1 pence for it. Coincidentally, this is the price I believe all things should be available at, regardless of cost to manufacture. It has the hidden bonus of wiping out pound shops too. Hmm.