Black The Fall has scored an ignoble crowdfunding hat-trick. It’s a Limbo-like platformer, in both black’n’white style and hauntingly depressing tone, that’s rolled through the Square Enix Collective, had a dodgy prototype on Early Access and is now up on Kickstarter on the hunt for £25,000. Developed by a Romanian quartet, it’s inspired by their lives under a communist regime in their childhoods. A “post-industrial” world, the surviving humans are paranoid, constantly reminded of their machine overlords and encouraged to report on one-another.
It has taken a non-standard path to be sure, but there’s some method to it. The Collective showed interest in the idea, while Early Access removed the veil of imagination and put the game in players hands. They’re now using Kickstarter to gather what’s needed to finish development, with the help of the feedback and support those other platforms provided.
That’s the theory anyway. They’ve taken down the Early Access version and the demo that was available earlier this year, stating that it’s no longer representative of the product. There hasn’t been reference to what will happen to those who already purchased but unless Sand Sailor deliberately change their listing on Steam, access should remain once it relaunches. The demo’s still available in corners of the internet via a google search and there’s playthroughs of the prototype on YouTube, if you’re interested.
I’m in love with the aesthetic. The design of the machines is blocky and threatening, while ‘The Natives’ are slouched, down-trodden and scared. It’s a remarkable vision of a destroyed world and one of the developers went over the real-life inspirations in a comment on the Kickstarter page. Despite that, the previous builds did not play well. Little about BTF was original or interesting. An achingly slow, mostly useless stealth mechanic, plus boring combat and a lack of interesting interaction defined the demo. Many systems were unimplemented back then and a lot of work will be needed to take this from neat idea to working, good game.
£10 will get you a copy, with a final release date of August next year. That same Steam post mentioned returning to Early Access in December, presumably when the £12 “Drone” level will also be given access.