First-person Stealth-o-Metafiction: Somewhere

What a somewhere that is!

If I could be anywhere right now, it’d be Somewhere. Look at this video game! Now listen to the song which plays on that radio. Now listen to that song while continuing to look at Somewhere.

It’s a first-person “exploration and stealth” game (with leaning and everything) about different perspectives and incomplete understanding, possessing people to see the world through their eyes and turning the world around. We cast our eye over it in March but oh my, two-man team Oleomingus have been very busy since then. Look at all these wonderful things.

Somewhere else

Somewhere is about the search for a mythical town, Kayamgadh, and the different perspectives of every character in that story. To piece it together, you’ll need to be sneaky. Oleomingus explain:

Mirroring a player’s insidious intrusion, Somewhere is played as a stealth game. Sneak up on people, possess them and navigate the Gameworld as different characters. The narrative distortion that accompanies a shift in character, is further exacerbated by the convoluted construction of it’s surreal spaces. The player will often walk into photographs, move through disconnected spaces, insidiously listen to other conversations and form an understanding of the world that no character within the story can individually posses.

Possessing people will give different views of the world itself as well as events and characters, as does stepping into photographs:

More words:

Central to game play in Somewhere is the ability to turn into every character within the story being narrated. A player travels through the game world by becoming other people, and as you navigate identities, you realise that each person you become is a figment of another character’s imagination and a part of yet another story. Somewhere is therefore, most of all, a collection of stories. A collection that spawns characters through which a player might comprehend this Gameworld.

As the description might hint, Somewhere is inspired by writers like Jorge Luis Borges, whose collection Labyrinths I cannot recommend enough, and Italo Calvino, author of Invisible Cities and If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller.

A serious commitment to dental hygiene.

Oleomingus are posting loads of screenshots and things regularly on their Tumblr, and writing dev updates in their TIGForums thread. Pretty much of all this is work-in-progress.

They’re working towards an alpha build now, but you can play an early crack at a short pre-alpha spin-off. Released in January, Fictions is a self-contained story inspired by Borges’s The Approach to Al-Mu’tasim, a review of a fictitious book.

Somewhere else entirely.

11 Comments

  1. IshtarGate says:

    Might want to fix the name, it’s ‘Kayamgadh’, not ‘Kayamgdah’. The name means “eternal-fort” (or Fort Eternal).

    Onwards march ye, Indian indie game industry!

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Ho ho, the joke’s on me: I copy/pasted it from somewhere the devs had spelled the name wrong. link to polycount.com But yes, other places they do it the way you say.

      • oleo says:

        Hello I am Dhruv from Oleomingus.

        Thank you so much, Alice, for the wonderful article about our game !
        ( And for correcting the incorrectly spelt ‘Kayamgadh’ )

        And thank you @IshtarGate for noticing the error. Kayamgadh indeed means an eternal-fortress

  2. jkterrezas says:

    If on A Winter’s Night a Traveler is one of my absolute favorite books, I love metafictional craziness. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on this project.

  3. Polifemo says:

    Possesion of diferent characters to see what they see and stealth?
    Im aware they will probably different games with diffferent settings, but did anyone else think of the Siren series (you know, the one made by former Silent Hill creators)?

    Anyway this looks pretty neato. Like a videogame Imaginarium of Doctor Parnasus or something.
    EDIT: Also the artstyle is pretty good. Makes me think of James and the Giant Peach. More games should try to go for their own stylized visuals.

  4. LTK says:

    I haven’t heard throat-singing in the context of a game since Closure. I’m already intrigued.

    The walking into images reminds me a bit of Proteus’ ‘postcards’ that you can visit.

    • IshtarGate says:

      There was throat singing in Closure? Huh. The last I remember throat singing in games was Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. Unfortunately, that and the slick UI design were the only two things memorable about that game.

  5. Frank says:

    Thank you for existing, game that looks like that and cites Borges and Calvino.

  6. jpka says:

    So much Borges getting thrown around in the indie game dev scene this days. And by much I mean, three specific instances, including this one, that I can remember. As an avid Borges fan, a literature nerd, and a gamer I am thrilled by this, if not somewhat cautious. Here is to hoping they can deliver on something at least moderately worthy of citing el ciego.

  7. Felixader says:

    You can download that song with the Firefox AdOn YouTube MP3 Podcaster.