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Performance Anxiety: The Black Glove

The Black Glove is a new project from a selection of the developers who worked on Bioshock, from the first game right up until Burial at Sea and the winding down of Irrational. It has instantly become one of the games I’m most looking forward to seeing more of, although that’s partly because there’s not quite enough on show right now. Based on the Kickstarter page and pitch video alone, The Black Glove appears to focus on all of the aspects of Bioshock that I had an interest in, without all the running, gunning and sorcerous genetics that never really tickled my fancy. Perhaps it’s Fort Frolic the game, except choosing to toy with performance, play and surrealism rather than murder-art. Indulge yourself.

The narrative is focused on a run-down theatre, in which reality seems to be having a bit of a wobble. Perhaps because yesterday’s most exciting news has left it fresh in my mind, the set up reminds me of a more playful mode of Lynch’s Lodges. Your task is to curate the exhibits within The Equinox. There are three creators in residence – an artist, a filmmaker and a musical act with the delightful name Many Embers – and by utilising the power of the titular glove, you’ll be able to alter the medium, message and muse of each creator.

Doing so might cause a country music performance to become a ratpack lounge music act, or a kaiju movie to melt away, revealing a silent era classic. To unlock the powers of the glove though, you must reform Spinal Tap play “certain games of skill and chance that allow us to interact with… what you might call ‘fourth-dimensional space.’” The only one revealed in the video is a maze-based arcade game, which you can see in the video above.

I’m mightily intrigued. The target is $550,000 and the project launched late last night. The team have written the following about their prospects:

We’ve learned from the successes and struggles of past projects how to make creative choices that keep cost and time overruns to a minimum.

Through this, we’ve scoped and budgeted The Black Glove for quality and completion by this time next year.

But neither making games nor managing a new company is easy. We’ve set ambitious goals to make an original game with high production values. We realize that every day will present new and unforeseen challenges, both in maintaining our creative goals and refining newly-formed work pipelines.

We’ve worked together for years, so we’re confident in our ability to address these issues together, but are aware of the difficulties involved.

I’m confident that I want to play the game eventually, if only to uncover all the different performances and creations. Maybe it’s just the skeletons and the music, but does anyone else smell the tarmac of Kentucky Route Zero around these parts?

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Adam Smith

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