When I last spoke to Mike Bithell, we were in the café at the National Media Museum in Bradford. He had just delivered a talk about his upcoming Virtual Robin Hood game, Volume, but we found time to discuss Thomas Was Alone as well. Bithell said – and I agree – “I thought I was writing a competent story with an amazing platform game. It turned out it was the other way around!” Presumably, the previously Playstation-only prequel episode, now available on Windows and Mac (Linux build soon), elevates plot over platforming. A cursory examination reveals a possible interpretation of the Icarus myth, with an AI in place of daddy Daedalus and a jetpack in place of waxy wings.
Steam copies of the game upgraded overnight, although there’s a problem with the Linux build that Bithell is working to fix. The new chapter appears on the scenario select screen and here’s what it is and what it contains:
Benjamin’s Flight takes place before the events of Thomas Was Alone, and tells the story of the first AI to discover something very dangerous: Hope. Armed with a new jetpack ability, he’ll go hunting for the strange glowing light he’s long admired from afar.
With a new script, new VO and two fantastic new soundtrack compositions, Benjamin’s Flight is a big thank you to everyone who believed in our silly little game.
The music deserves a mention. So many people praise the narration, which is witty, sad and smart, but the soundtrack contributes a great deal. It’s actually the first part of the game I was attracted to. I remember being disgruntled when I heard Danny Wallace would be talking over the top of it. Goes to show what I know, doesn’t it?