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Sburb Shots: Hiveswap Is The Homestuck Adventure Game

Homestuck is to three-panel gag-a-day webomics what the Marvel multiverse is to the local funny papers. The long-running series is a convoluted mass of mythology, musical interludes and flash animations, but it began life as part of creator Andrew Hussie’s MS Paint Adventure series, a sequence of webcomics that mimicked Choose Your Own Adventure books and cumbersome point and click mechanics. Homestuck began by sending up webchatting, clowns and The Sims, but swiftly introduced dimensional shifts, time-sundering and apocalyptic events.

Later this year, it’ll (sort of) return to its adventure game roots in the crowdfunded episodic adventure Hiveswap [official site]. First screens below.

The first episode is due this Spring and the studio developing the game are an internal part of the company that produces Homestuck. Going by the name ‘What Pumpkin’, they took over full-time development sometime before October of last year.

If you’ve never experienced Homestuck, you should start from the very beginning and give up long before you reach the present day arc. Even given a recent extended hiatus, it’s an enormous story and I’ve ever managed to see more than the initial parental and fraternal tribulations. It entertain me though. I’m glad that it’s out there, waiting to be consumed.

Fortunately, you won’t need any prior knowledge to play the game. In a Kickstarter update from the tail-end of last year, Hussie had this to say:

I also mentioned before that these stories will be loosely related to Homestuck canon. They are completely self-contained stories that won’t depend on any familiarity with the existing storyline (I felt like this was important, since I’m anticipating that many people will stumble on this game who have never even heard of HS.) Still, the stories do actually fit into the canonical universe of HS, and fans of the comic will probably find it rewarding to see how it fits into canon and observe the various connections.

If you are a Homestuck devotee, this might mean something to you.

Since it fits into HS canon, there is the obvious question of “when”, especially given that HS is about “end of the world” scenarios (both on Earth and Alternia), so unless there’s some goofy alt-universe stuff going on, it can’t take place after 2009. But there isn’t goofy AU stuff going on. So it does take place some time pre-2009 on Earth, and pre-present day on Alternia. Beyond that, I won’t be more specific. I’ll let the games tell the story.

But I should also say, this doesn’t mean the games are intended to be prequels. These aren’t like “the origin of Sburb” games or anything like that. There’s totally different stuff going on. They are their own stories that are meant to stand alone. My primary goal here is to make good games that speak for themselves and everyone can enjoy, not to create the absolute perfect complements to a huge existing storyline.

Hussie refers to games because he has planned out a companion title, with a parallel (although non-interfering) plot. Hiveswap is the story of “a young human girl named Joey” who falls through a portal and finds herself on the planet of Alternia, where she teams up with a gang of troll rebels “to save the world, find a way home and discover the true meaning of friendship”. I’m hoping for a cross between Labyrinth and Flight of the Navigator.

There will be four acts in total.

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Adam Smith

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