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Despelote is a seriously nostalgic indie, taking us back to 2001's Ecuador

With lots of football, coming next year

Hand drawn kids play football in the street in the key art for Despelote
Image credit: Panic

Summery explore ‘em up Despelote first caught our attention at the Day Of The Devs many years ago, thanks to its gorgeous art style and special premise. Developers Julián Cordero and Sebastián Valbuena chart a semi-autobiographical experience of their childhood in 2001's Ecuador, right before their football team qualified for its first-ever World Cup. After disappearing for a while the devs have now announced a partnership with indie publisher Panic to help release Despelote next year. Watch its re-reveal trailer below, please, it's beautiful.

Watch on YouTube

The first-person slice-of-lifer explores football's impact on the city of Quito, or rather its impact on the people who lived there as excitement bubbled and kicking balls was a way to come together. You’ll be running around the city, dribbling balls, playing games with other kids, and generally having a super chill time exploring stuff, by the looks of it.

And boy oh boy, Despelote is a looker. The distinctive style was created from reference photos, as well as “actual textures captured on-site in Quito,” according to Panic’s blog about the game. The same technique was used for the audio too. The city’s ambient soundscape was mostly recorded on location, from the cicada’s chirps to the mumbles of passersby. The game’s also fully voiced in Spanish, for an extra level of authenticity.

Everything here has a painfully nostalgic, almost hazy dreamlike feeling that I love. And theming the game around football culture is a really smart move. I’m a terrible footballer, but I do love watching people play, and talk about, and bond over football. Total strangers become instant pals when asked about their favourite teams. I’ve moved past language barriers with family by kicking a silly little plastic ball. It’s kind of beautiful.

Basically, I’m very excited to soak in the game’s one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Despelote is coming to PC via Steam, Xboxes, and PlayStations in 2024. The game's also featured as an official selection for this year’s Tribeca Games program, so we might see more from Despelote this summer.

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