The first details have just this minute appeared about Flashbang Studio's next game, via that traditional route of an article in the Wall Street Journal. Many were expecting the next of their six Blurst games planned for this year to be Crane Wars, especially after a prototype was made available last month. However, this Friday brings the surprise appearance of Paper Moon, described by the WSJ as, "a monochromatic jaunt through a dreary landscape as players control the scenery to advance through the stages."
Flashbang's Steve Swink explains that Paper Moon is "based on a pop-up book and the song by Ella Fitzgerald." Made in collaboration with Aquaria's Alec Holowka, it's an updated version of the game made for last year's GAMMA 3D show. So that leaves us a little confused, as it no longer appears to be stereoscopic. Holowka reports on his blog that the new version of the game will feature "a combo-based scoring system, new levels, improved visuals, musical score (by yours truly), sound effects, greater replay value and online leaderboards/achievements/bonuses." Holowka is spending a week working at Flashbang's Arizona studios to get the game prepared, collaborating on new content with the Blurst team.
The WSJ article goes on to reveal a few more interesting details. While Flashbang intends to keep Blurst games free, they are also planning a $20 six month subscription that will offer players new bits and pieces, including much wanted downloadable versions of the games. According to the paper, Swink believes that if they can get just 5,000 subscribers every half-year it will support their company and pay their staff. This will put to test the theories in Kevin Kelly's 1,000 True Fans essay, where it's argued that artists should be able to make a living with a relatively small but dedicated fanbase who are willing to part with their money.
There's many more details about this, and the potential for indie developers to find success with relatively small paying audiences in the Wall Street Journal article. Hidden in there is the heart-warming snippet of information that World of Goo has sold "into six digits" and will keep 2D BOY safe for "several years". (Quick lazy maths: 100,000 minimum sold, $20 each, that's $2 million, people.)
We'll chase Flashbang for more details, and Paper Moon will be available to play via Blurst on Friday.
Update: Blurst's super-bossman Matthew Wegner has just sent us a couple of juicy titbits.
First of all there's this Time Donkey prototype, another forthcoming game (also, check out the stuff on the whiteboard):
I was just thinking how much it looks like the concept behind Nekogames' Cursor*10 when that's exactly what they said. Crossed with Wario Ware and Ravin Rabbids apparently.
And this really rather awesome bit of art from the forthcoming Crane Wars: