Wow: STEALER Does Cyberpunk In Utterly Gorgeous Style

By Nathan Grayson on December 1st, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

I wish everything looked like this. I wish I looked like this.

Here at RPS, we prize substance over style and constantly lobby for transparency, truthfulness, and open communication between game creators and fans. So, on one hand, I am VERY DISAPPOINTED IN YOU, YOUNG MAN WINGED DOOM for hardly saying anything about what your game entails. But goodness, the stoic Russian cybergod has created something of such profound pixelated beauty that I’d explode if I didn’t show it to all of you. So here’s STEALER. It’s jaw-droppingly pretty. I have gone to the dark side of videogame blog posting, and I hate myself now.

Apparently, STEALER used to be a “100 percent clone” of Flashback, but now it’s evolved into an entirely different creature. Winged Doom claims it’s ”something like Sokoban, but platformer, with focusing on atmosphere and exploration.” Admittedly, that sounds quite excellent, but we have so little to go on gameplay-wise at this point that I’m naturally skeptical.

A sparse ModDB page and a TIGSource thread with only a vague promise of “I will answer to all of you guys, but a little later,” meanwhile, do little to dispel heaps of lingering questions. For instance, do we get to fly ships and whatnot, or is platforming the only thing we do when we’re in control? And how exactly, exactly, is it like Sokoban? Based on what we’ve seen, it doesn’t look particularly puzzle-y to me.

But jeez, STEALER’s is a world I really, really, really want to explore. I mean, just look at it. What an impressive thing. And the music’s not half-bad, either.

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82 Comments »

  1. destroy.all.monsters says:

    I want this. Also the album.

    Probably the best Tangerine Dream meets the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in a brief dust up with Eloy I’ve heard in awhile.

  2. webwielder says:

    I think you meant to write a bunch of superlatives about the music and then say “And the game doesn’t look half-bad, either.”

    • tobecooper says:

      Agreed. The graphics are nice and add to the atmosphere, but the music creates the awesome in this trailer. I get a very 70s/80s sci-fi feeling from it which makes my brain hum. Hummmm.

      • Turkey says:

        I got that from the beginning of the track, but when the beat kicked in it got progressively more and more chiptuney and by the end it sounded like a Bionic Commando song.

  3. CobraLad says:

    Yeah, its pretty much compilation of all GIFs he made over whole developing time. There were some screens of tile editor, but actual gameplay and actual engine never appeared on public. Also, he is working on a second game now, Journey to Hammerdale, which is sokoban with zeldaesque graphics, so Ill be most pessistic about perspective of seeing it in playable any near time.
    Oh, and NEStealer, NES version, which he also announced. And he want to make JoH also on UE3.

    • lokimotive says:

      Looking at the linked blog, it appears that he has a number of games in “development” with little to nothing to show for it beyond some pixel concept art. That’s disappointing, because the art style certainly shows promise, but it doesn’t look like I should hold my breath until this comes out, much less until this actually exists beyond a Platonic ideal.

      • johnki says:

        Well, actually, Journey to Hammerdale had a private alpha not too long ago.

  4. mont3core says:

    I need it. Anything that starts as a clone of flashback is solid gold in my book.

  5. Archipelagos says:

    Wowza. That was prettiful. And the music was sublime too.

  6. asshibbitty says:

    I can’t tell which retro look they’re going for. Whatever it is, the music sounds anachronistic.

  7. ReggieB says:

    For months I’ve had these images of a game I had played a kid stuck in my head, but I had no idea which game it was. It was Flashback! Thank you so much!

  8. Rian Snuff says:

    That is amazing. I’m been trying to do something with this kind of art style with a group of artists.
    Sadly, they’re pretty lazy artists.. Be them insanely talented. HA. This is definitively great inspiration.
    Going to have to show them this to hopefully do so and get them working on things a bit more consistently. Lovely song that was also.

    • Premium User Badge

      AlwaysRight says:

      I have also been trying to make a game (my first ever) with this kind of art style, however this utterly sh*ts on my attempts.
      I will now be giving up on making my game, but will probably continue sketching out the music (tangerine dream meets kuedo).

      • Kaen says:

        Please re-think giving up.

        • Premium User Badge

          AlwaysRight says:

          Thanks Kaen I genuinely really appreciate the support, but as well as someone doing my intended art style 1000x better than me, I just don’t have the spare time to make it anywhere as good as I would be happy with (full-time product designer with a baby on the way).

          • SuperNashwanPower says:

            I’ve now got the theme tune from Street Hawk in my head

  9. Tiax says:

    Here’s a link to the song of the trailer (totally legal, it comes from the artist homepage) : http://tindeck.com/listen/gutr

  10. dE says:

    Oh a Tigsource Thread. Time to bury all hopes then. Nothing ever gets finished there (unless they parachute out of there).

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Spelunky, Enviro-Bear 2010, Probability Zero, Hammerfight, Cortex Command. Literally just off the top of my head, and just games that actually have a for-sale 1.0 version. There’s plenty more, look around.

      • dE says:

        And how many of those still post there? ;)
        Anyway, you kinda missed their own goddamn meme, buddy.

  11. Lucky Main Street says:

    EFF YES to everything about this. Too bad it seems so preliminary, but Flashback + that art style + exploratory = win in my books. I’ve longed for something Flashback-like (2D that is, not that horrible 3D Fade to Black mess).

  12. Premium User Badge

    tomeoftom says:

    Sooooo pretty.

  13. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    I recognize some of those from the artist’s DeviantArt page. The music adds around 163% awesomeness.

  14. SonicTitan says:

    That trailer was a shitstorm of awesome. It wasn’t just the music, or the pixel art, or the invocation of 80′s anime – it was all of it combined. I watched it three times.

  15. limimi says:

    Get out of here STEALER.

  16. Arglebargle says:

    Looks like one of those games where I’d rather watch the video than play. But it gets points for that too…..

  17. arioch says:

    For some reason it reminds me quite a lot of the style the awesome cartoon Samurai Jack used…

  18. noom says:

    Spotted Tsutomu Nihei mentioned in reference to the trailer on Winged Doom’s website. Nice to see, as I got a definite vibe of him in that trailer.

    I’d recommend anybody that digs the above trailer go read some of his Manga. You will quite possibly enjoy them.

    • Dominic White says:

      Seconding this. The dude does visually stunning, high-end cyberpunk comics. Lots of stuff like dyson spheres, self-replicating megastructures, n’thtieth generation cyborg hybrid species and so on. BLAME is almost silent for a lot of chapters, while Biomega plot-dumps all over the place. Both are pretty hard to keep up with at times.

      • erutan says:

        I was feeling Nihei when watching as well. I stopped reading Biomega after a bit (scanlations were slow, plot was obtuse) but I love his style, and BLAME is a joy to go through. OT, but EDEN by Hiroki Endo is a great SF manga series as well.

  19. RichardFairbrass says:

    I always thought Flashback was the sequel to Another World, seems not.

    • EnragedPixel says:

      Wasn’t it touted as being a spiritual successor though? Because in my mind they’ve always been linked together too.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        You two just made me buy Another World for Windows. £2.69.
        I had it on the amiga and couldnt figure it out when I was younger. Maybe this time I will be better at it

        • Sleepymatt says:

          Don’t count on it… I recently got Another World on sale for my iPhone for just the same reason, and while I’m a few screens further in, I’m now as thoroughly stuck as I was in my childhood. I can’t believe I still can’t get through a twenty year old game!

      • RichardFairbrass says:

        Apparently not, apart from having the same publisher they are unrelated.

  20. SuperNashwanPower says:

    COMMODORE 64 FTW

  21. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    So all that fancy business and it’s going to be a game about pushing blocks around?

  22. Seraph says:

    I keep hearing the word Cyberpunk, and I have a nagging feeling that it’s a trendy word being applied to anything remotely science-fiction, much like I’ve seen “dubstep” applied to everything from The Prodigy to Tiesto. So, for the record, WHAT IS Cyberpunk, and is Cyberpunk not?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Cyberpunk is a style. Cyberpunk is not well-defined.

    • Premium User Badge

      Tunips says:

      Imagine what art would be like after reading Neuromancer for 28 years. That is cyberpunk. At least, that’s what it is right now.
      Most folks these days are riding third-wave post-cyberpunk, a phrase I didn’t make up at all.

    • iucounu says:

      Cyberpunk describes a life lived in a kind of fucked-up downspiralling near-future in which you’re essentially trying to survive in the spaces between a corporate oligarchy and an ever-expanding underclass. Blade Runner’s aesthetic captured it nicely: it’s the gleaming spires towering ever higher, and ever deeper gutters and meaner streets and darker alleys between them; the first-to-third-world axis expressed vertically. It’s people hustling to get by in the shadow of gods and monsters who see them as insects. It’s basically three weeks in the future.

  23. presence says:

    Nice c64 console screens :D

  24. Chizu says:

    The only thing I didn’t like about that was teh size of the dudes name :v

    Sure, yes. Let us know who made it, that’s great. Ideal even.
    But when yours and everyone else involved’s names are twice the size of the games name, you’re doing something wrong.

  25. hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

    That’s about as good as anything can look in 360p.

  26. G_Man_007 says:

    It’s like Flashback, Beneath a Steel Sky, Metal Slug and VVVVVVVVV had an orgy to some fantastic synth aural orgasm beams, and this popped out 9 months later..

    It’s… beautiful… I want it to abuse me, gently…

  27. Lobotomist says:

    “Music not half bad” <- understatement of the year

  28. gekitsu says:

    holy fuck, this is beautiful. in fact, i dont think i have been wowed to that extent by anything attempting to merely push the boundaries of how many polygons and shaders you can throw on screen at once.

    shows how you cant buy good art direction with sheer processing power. please have everyone build something good-looking in 2d with sprites before giving them access to top of the line hardware -.-

  29. Will762 says:

    Brb, playing Gemini Rue…

  30. Very Real Talker says:

    I think there is a tendency among some video game journalist to over react in front of retro style graphics. For example I enjoyed Hot Line Miami but I found the orgasmic reaction to it’s 8-bit or 16-bit or whatever graphic style absolutely blown off of proportions.

    • Tiax says:

      You’re missing the point. It’s not the fact that this game has 16-bits graphics, it’s the fact that those graphics are really, really beautiful.

  31. Network Crayon says:

    Reminds me of Tsotomu Nihei’s Blame!, which is the best thing ever.

  32. killuminati says:

    Shut up and take my money??

  33. hickoryboy777 says:

    Yeah, the music here, is pretty amazing, got that Indie old gammy techno feel about it, and that aesthetic is gorgeous, I love the tron, bladerunner mix with space, cyber hack… I don’t know, I second the guy above, Samurai Jack. Need more gameplay before I’m sold on it thought, but the trailer is freakin awesome lol (I want the soundtrack)

  34. Premium User Badge

    LTK says:

    Wow. That video is made of such concentrated retro that it makes me nostalgic for things I’ve never experienced. That’s impressive.