20th Century Fox debut indie development fund with Etherborn
Don't look down, whichever way that is
Gravity-bending puzzle platformer Etherborn is to be the first independent game funded by FoxNext Games, the games division of the least indie media conglomerates on earth: 20th Century Fox. Altered Matter's puzzler seems like a safe first pick - it's a very fetching-looking game full of colourful, floating geometry and paths to walk that bend gravity as you follow them. The texture-light aesthetic, ethereal soundtrack and introspective story revolving around 'finding your voice' don't seem very daring, but it's still lovely to look at. Take a peek at the game in motion below.
Etherborn reminds me a little bit of Monument Valley for iThings, although a little more action-oriented. There's some running and jumping to be done in amidst the contemplative puzzling, but no combat. Gravity is subjective - so long as you walk a curved path to a point, that's where your new 'down' is. The mobile camera means that the game can't replicate Monument Valley's true Escher-styled perspective warping fun, but it does mean they can play around with real space and the pull of gravity in ways that remind me a bit of Super Mario Galaxy. Altered Matter estimate there's about 4-5 hours of brain-teasers in the game, but plan for a harder mode on or near launch to stretch that further.
It's been a long passion project for the small studio. Altered Matter say Etherborn has been in the works for over three years, and has secured funding from FoxNext Games, Fig and Humble Bundle, though will be self-published in the end. So far, FoxNext haven't announced any other games for their indie incubator program, but I'm not expecting anything too daring. As a Disney-owned outfit, I'm expecting them to play things safe as they build up a reputation.
There's no date or price set yet, but Etherborn should be out sometime this year. You can find it here on Steam. You can see some nice animated GIFs and an impressively massive collection of pre-release awards over on its official page here.