Five years ago, stealth sim Tangiers was due out in November 2015. But that never happened. Since then, the Kickstarted project has crouched in the shadows, forgotten by most, waiting to reveal itself once again. After half a decade of development hell, work on the game has finally resumed, all thanks to glitchy horror short Paratopic.
The whole story is briefly rehashed on the developer's Kickstarter page, with the main issues for the delay including “Health / homelessness / misfortune / trauma / inexperience lock-in spirals out, send project astray and continually hindering recovery. Few false (re)starts, little in the way of meaningful movement.”
But in 2018, developer Jessica Harvey helped found Arbitrary Metric and released Paratopic, a short, sharp, narratively driven FPS that creatively and financially "resuscitated" Tangiers. According to Harvey: “Tangiers is no longer a ragged form on life support but actively in development by a wonderfully talented team with adequate funding for the applicable future. Our plans for the game and for bringing it to release should surprise and exceed expectations.”
Tangiers is now an Arbitrary Metric game (Harvey previously worked under the studio name Andalusian), and they’ve been quietly working to completely rebuild it. The literary immersive sim has never been an easy game to summarise: a broken world, wandering cassette-head NPCs, word bubbles as weapons... All that may or may not still be part of the game. But even with the staccato development it always had my attention. And now it has a whole new lease of life, with systems that the developer claims mirror Arkane's excellent Dishonored 2.
“At the heart of things, the Universal Architecture, enabling complex interactions and object behavioural logic akin to what can be seen in Dishonored 2. Toolsets and workflows reappraised to empower us and make shipping a game far, far more feasible.”
The current aim is for regular updates on the state of the game, with the next one due in mid-January in the far-flung future of 2021. If that happens, I think I’ll allow myself to get excited again.