Shelter Devs Announce “Visual Narrative” Child Of Cooper

The last lesson developers Might & Delight had to teach about babies is that they’re weak and foolish so leave them to die and live your life free from fretting. Or maybe you came away from Shelter with a different message, I don’t know. Maybe their next lesson is that I’m a monster.

Announced today, Child of Cooper [official site] is told from the perspective of a child. They describe it as “a visual narrative that challenges aspects of normative video game storytelling”, which means it’ll be a bit weird. Let’s have a look.

It’s all a bit vague for now, so I’ll quote heavily. M&D explained in today’s announcement:

“In Child of Cooper you are reliving the memory of a child in a narrative that does not wait for your actions in order to move forward. Players step into the game much like a child entering a grown-up world. Nothing will be given to you at any point and even how to maneuver the game will be left for the player (the explorer) to discover. In the teaser we also show a first glimpse of the projects art style. A surrealistic, almost threatening style that highlights certain objects that the child remembers clearly while others are impossible to make out. Making sense of what you see in Child of Cooper is a big part of the experience.”

They also asked a few questions:

“Can we approach games from a different standpoint than products of entertainment? Can virtues like replayability, difficulty, win and loss-conditions and “fun-factor” be explored from new positions?”

The answers to which are: 1) that depends on who “we” refers to; 2) yes.

As for how Child of Cooper will go about that, your guess is as good as mine right now. The ideas sound odd from a studio whose last game was a shoot ’em up built of craft materials but hey, oodles of folks have been poking at them further outside the mainstream in many strange and wonderful ways for years. Welcome to the weird side, Might & Delight. It’s pretty cool over here.

They plan to release the game later this year. For now, a trailer:

7 Comments

  1. HuvaaKoodia says:

    “Can we approach games from a different standpoint than products of entertainment?”
    – Yes. They can be art for instance, but try making any money with that.
    “Can virtues like replayability, difficulty, win and loss-conditions and “fun-factor” be explored from new positions?”
    – Yes, but you do need some of them to make a game.

    You don’t need to make a game though.

    Interactive fiction, interactive movies, walking simulators, world simulators, nonlinear narrative driven CYOA point and click… things? There are a lot of possible interactive digital mediums out there to use as a starting point for whatever you fancy. As long as it’s something new and, dare I say, innovative I’m interested.

    That said, try marketing it as a game afterwards and I’ll give you the stink eye.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Dorga says:

    I find their games beautiful but boring, this one sounds very very interesting. Also, sorry to bother Alice but the title is Child of Cooper, not Life, there must have been an hiccup in your memory chip.

  3. Kala says:

    Huh…

    I enjoyed the first Shelter game very much (I don’t think there’s much replay value, but I appreciate that they gave me a completely different experience).

    This also sounds like they’re doing something interesting. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding…but conceptually it kinda reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean At the End of the Lane; but using mechanics in the game world to recreate the helplessness position of being a child in a threatening world.

  4. GallonOfAlan says:

    I wonder if Mel Croucher has a wry smile sometimes when he sees things like this, which he pioneered 30 years ago on a ZX Spectrum with a cassette soundtrack.

  5. Banks says:

    Very interesting idea.