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Kentucky Route Zero!

[Sits down on a stump next to a moonlit campfire, pulls out a banjo and plucks a few strings, flings banjo into a thistle of nearby cacti when he remembers he doesn’t know how to play the banjo.]

Oooooooooooooo, Kentucky Route Zero / comin’ into town / Kentucky Route Zero / probably won’t make you frown / Kentucky Route Zero / Kickstarted before Double Fine / Kentucky Route Zero / I want to make you mine / Ooooooo, Kentucky Route Zeroooooooooo / [34 second off-tune, cactus-thorn-perforated banjo solo] / magical realist with a sci-fi twist / yeah!

(There’s a gorgeous trailer of this hyper-promising exploration adventure after the break. And maybe more country songs!)

KENTUCKY ROUTE ZEROOOOO– OK, fine, no more songs. I’ll leave that to the game’s very own robotic country singer, Junebug, who’s only one of “dozens of strange characters” main character Conway will encounter during his exploration-focused adventure down a secret highway in Kentucky. After a successful pre-Double-Fine Kickstarter in 2011 and a long period of radio silence, Cardboard Computer’s finally getting its show on the road. Here are the details:

“Kentucky Route Zero is a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky and the mysterious folks who travel it. The game is developed by Cardboard Computer (Jake Elliott and Tamas Kemenczy). The soundtrack features an original electronic score by Ben Babbitt along with a suite of old hymns  and bluegrass standards recorded by The Bedquilt Ramblers.”

It’ll be releasing in five chapters, the first of which is headed our way in December. As for how exactly it’ll play, I’m not entirely sure at this point. So far, all CC has said is that Kentucky Route Zero is “slow-paced, focusing on exploring new environments and talking with new people.” Which sounds pretty promising, especially when followed by words like “In another [section], Conway and his companions explore a Civil War era battleship that ran ashore in an underground river hundreds of years ago and is now populated entirely by cats.”

So it sounds quite silly in an ethereal, oddly captivating way and looks stunning. Meanwhile, the general structure’s reminding me a bit of Ron Gilbert’s The Cave, which definitely isn’t a bad thing in my book. Plus, it hails from the same folks who created the wonderfully surreal duo of Ruins and A House In California, among others. Right then, Kentucky Route Zero, you’ve got my attention. Please, please, please, please be as good as you’ve got the potential to be.

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Nathan Grayson

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