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Sun Dogs: A Transhumanist Open World Text Adventure

Sun Dogs [official site] doesn’t look like a text adventure. Its solar system is colourful, clean and handsome and the motion of the spheres is soothing to watch. But there are words to discover out there in the spaces between the planets and in the diverse transhuman societies that have managed to adapt to almost every environment. There are RPG elements, including the ability to gain skills, collect items and modify your body. And when that body dies, your mind will transfer into a new one. Sun Dogs is definitely weird. Here’s hoping it’s wonderful. More details and video below.

I’m not sure quite what to expect but I certainly know what I want this to be and that’s a vaguely surreal sci-fi take on the masterful work Inkle are doing with their text-heavy choose your own adventure designs. 60 Days in a transhuman solar system – 80,000,000,000,000,000,000 Days work as a subtitle, I guess.

To wash away my dreamy speculation, here’s what the developers of Sun Dogs are saying. There are loads of updates on the devblog and most are worth reading but this one stood out:

“This weekend was supposed to be a deadline for a chunk of writing, but since I reached that last week, I set my next deadline and got to work on the next bits. I also finally resolved a longstanding design issue, related to the sleeves (bodies) that you can inhabit along your journey. There are still a few of these left that will eventually be picked up once the first writing pass is completed.

“Notes today are continuing from last week, a collection of thoughts on sci fi in general, and that ‘hard’ and ‘fantasy’ spectrum. I roughly prefer a region in between, leaning to the ‘hard’ end. Most cyberpunk sits here as well. It’s the most fascinating to me because it feels achievable, grounded, but still wondrous and surprising. I can put myself into this world, and I can maybe understand its rules, imagine how I might react to the events of the story.

“These settings usually depict outlandish or impossible things by having some sort of future technology underpinning them. The trick to selling the new magical things you’re doing is to make sure that they are grounded and portrayed in a believable way, not necessarily explaining the thing literally. The stories that I enjoy are the ones that feel like windows into a fleshed out world. That’s what I am trying to achieve with the game.”

Sun Dogs is made by Nic Tringali and Rebecca McCarthy. The release date is set for the end of October.

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