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.


  1. Heliocentric says:

    OHMYGOODNESS looks like Quad’ Cowboy is going to be the game I hoped and more, (I know real coop isn’t the point and this fake-op is probably better for its structure but I still wish real coop was possible… I guess I could always hotseat it :D), but that sure looks like something I’d pay money for, actually… Is there a preorder yet?

    • Henke says:

      Yes it looks awesome. It looked good already in the old videos, but the new additions brings it to a whole other level. :)

  2. LTK says:

    I was actually expecting ‘hacking’ to take the front (and only) seat but in a game about heists, I suppose you have to get your hands dirtier than they could get from a keyboard. Looking forward to it regardless.

  3. Geebs says:

    Hmm. It all kinda depends on whether the way the multiple characters are implemented makes it easier to actually complete a puzzle once you’ve figured it out, or more of a faff. I think it sounded more like the former when it was just about the hacking.

  4. internisus says:

    “He expects to launch the game later this year.”

    Oh, thank goodness. I feel like I’ve been waiting so long for this one.

  5. Reapy says:

    It looks to me like hes got a great concept with the interfaces and 80’s pc hacking thing, but not so hot of a puzzle environment and is hunting for the solution. The co op is interesting but to me looks overly frustrating having to play though the level 10x times for very simplistic puzzle solving.

    I mean the first time I saw the game the idea is cool to do the psudo programming to stop lasers and things but I wondered where the depth and interest would come from. I wished he had fleshed out and made the hacker aspect more interesting, but maybe he was unable to find a way to make it work as intended.

    None the less, the look and feel of this world is great, I just don’t see the gameplay as very interesting yet.

  6. cardboardartisan says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier to start at the point you’d left a character, with the option or rewinding, rather than having to fast-forward through everything you’ve done each time?

  7. Easy says:

    Mr Chung is a genius. nuff said.

  8. The Random One says:

    I really don’t like this kind of ‘single-player coop’ think. If anyone can pull it off is Chung, but for the time being I’ll remain here in my sad corner.