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Meet The Team: Quadrilateral Cowboy's Single-player Co-op

Hack the planet etc.

I’m always keen to see what Brendon Chung, the one-man Blendo Games, is up to next. From Flotilla to Thirty Flights of Loving, his games tend to reveal systems and stories in fascinating flashes and leave players the freedom to figure it all out, and they always have such a sense of fun. Apply all of that to low-fi cyberpunk and oh my, yes please.

So far Quadrilateral Cowboy had seemed to be about a lone hacker breaking into buildings with their electronic mastery, but now Chung’s revealed the hacker is only one part of a team, which also includes including a “Greaseman” with an ability horrifyingly named “jellybones.” They all work together in a sort of time-rewinding single-player co-op.

The Caser, Hacker, Engineer and Greaseman will need to use their abilities together at certain times, such as stealing a vault from a stock exchange airship. In this mission, Chung showed the Hacker tacking down lasers so the Engineer can force a door open and open a panel so the Hacker can jack into a trunk line to move a hovering platform so the Engineer can drop a gadget to fling the safe onto it once the Greaseman has scrambled and squeezed (thanks, jellybones) round the outside of the airship to open the door.

A bit like Cursor*10 and other time-rewinding games, each character’s actions are recorded then repeated as you switch between them, so you’re working between the squishy schedules and routines of what you did before. It’s an interesting human element of soft timing for a game which has so many rigid, mechanical timings–the Hacker disables tech for fixed durations in elaborate sequences with long chains of commands, and the Engineer’s door prise only lasts 45 seconds.

Chung actually showed this off last week during Venus Patrol’s E3 indie side-event Horizon. Why’s it taken me so long to post this? You try watching an hour and a half of video on a terminal with a 56.6k modem with 256k of RAM. He expects to launch the game later this year.

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