LOST With A Plot: Owlchemy’s Dyscourse

By Alec Meer on November 6th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

What a good art style, and what a good concept too. Dyscourse is the latest from Owlchemy, who you may know from Snuggle Truck and the Oculus Rift edition of Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa[etc], and it’s a choice-centric survival game about a bunch of plane crash castaways trying to live long enough to be rescued. Someone should make a TV show out of that. Branching narratives are the order of the day, with the emotional tussle of harsh reality vs human sympathy of The Walking Dead perhaps being a more important reference point than that made-it-up-as-they-went-along TV show I snarked at earlier.

However, Owlchemy are adamant that there’s going to be a far wider range of choice and consequence than any touchstone games one might mention. “If you and 10 friends play one scenario, it’s likely that you’ll each end up a vastly different course of events”, they say. What if you don’t have 10 friends? How do you test that claim?

It’s not all talking – there’s hunting and brawling with creatures and ill-tempered fellow humans alike, and it’s all set on a large island you can explore at will. Clearly Don’t Starve is another game which springs to mind, but Dyscourse is focused on a group of survivors rather than a single, increasingly frayed soul. So let’s name-drop The Oregon Trail too, eh? While it’s an ensemble cast, you specifically will play as Rita, an ‘over-educated barista’, who you can direct to be kind or harsh, self-sacrificing or utilitarian as you choose.

Here’s the pitch video, as is the done thing. Less of a done thing is to make said video within the game engine, as they cleverly have done:

The Boston studio are after $40k for this, which seems a reasonable target.

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5 Comments »

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  1. Noviere says:

    I’m such a sucker for good art direction. That, and realistic funding goals :)

    • malkav11 says:

      Yes, but do you mean actually realistic funding goals (which for many projects would be significantly -higher- than asked for, as even the multi-million dollar projects like Torment and Project Eternity are working on their chosen gametype’s equivalent of a shoestring budget), or do you mean funding goals which are perceived to be realistic (i.e. usually not actually enough to make the game on)?

      • Megadestructo says:

        Hi! Megadestructo here, Community Manager at Owlchemy Labs! As we mention in our FAQ on the Kickstarter:

        A game like this definitely costs more than $40,000 to make, you’re right. We’ve been able to utilize money from sales of prior game but we need some extra help to reach the required amount of money to make this game possible. Also Space Marines.

        The game is already being worked on – the engine has been built, lots of art and animation has been completed, and the much of the narrative has taken shape. This KS is help us make the best game we possibly can :)

      • Shookster says:

        I think the point was more, “I appreciate people who use Kickstarter to kick-start their products while relying on sales and traditional funding methods for the bulk of their needs.”

        But I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, so I’ll just say that that’s what I appreciate.

  2. Shadowcat says:

    The first thing that sprang to my mind was Gods Will Be Watching.