Posts Tagged ‘Mike Bithell’

Wot I Think: Volume

Volume [official site] is a third-person, sci-fi stealth game, in which you direct a little dude around VR-styled, maze-like levels, dodging guards with wits and with gadgetry, with the aim of grabbing all the loot and getting out again. It’s out now.

I hope Mike ‘Thomas Was Alone’ Bithell’s new game wasn’t hoping to pre-empt any ‘turn down the…’ gags by hiring a celebrity voice cast, because sadly it wasn’t long before I started muting things.
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Breaking The Silence: Volume Releases August 18th

I like Thomas Was Alone, Mike Bithell’s melancholy tale of identity and shapely destiny, but I wasn’t particularly surprised by the backlash. I’m referring, of course, to this quote from Bithell himself.

I thought I was writing a competent story with an amazing platform game. It turned out it was the other way around! I didn’t realise it would get the attention it did, which is lovely. But odd.

That’s from an interview back in 2013 about Thomas and Bithell’s follow-up Volume [official site]. The trailer below confirms that Volume, a stealthy sci-fi interpretation of the Robin Hood legend, will be released on August 18th.

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Hands-On With Mike Bithell’s Volume

that is not camouflage, sir

“It will probably be the only time in my life when I have no responsibilities, didn’t owe anyone any money, didn’t have staff that I had to worry about. Absolute freedom to do what I want. I wasn’t going to use that to make a sequel to a reasonably well-received puzzle-platformer.”

I’ve asked Volume lead Mike Bithell if he’s been worried about over-reaching himself. 2012’s Thomas Was Alone was one of several break-out indie hits around that time – a era of Steam that many of today’s PC developers are increasingly worried they’ve missed the boat on – but it was a simple game.

It was, as the man says, a reasonably well-received puzzle-platformer, and it blew up because it was charming and funny, effectively anthropomorphising the textureless, two-dimensional rectangles it starred thanks to well-judged narration and very human writing. Volume, by contrast, is a full-on, 3D stealth game which will ship with around 100 levels, features an array of tricsky sci-fi items, has a full level editor and has hired Andy Serkis to voice its lead villain. Conceptually, it’s a huge leap.

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The Last Of Icarus: Thomas Was Alone Free Expansion

When I last spoke to Mike Bithell, we were in the café at the National Media Museum in Bradford. He had just delivered a talk about his upcoming Virtual Robin Hood game, Volume, but we found time to discuss Thomas Was Alone as well. Bithell said – and I agree – “I thought I was writing a competent story with an amazing platform game. It turned out it was the other way around!” Presumably, the previously Playstation-only prequel episode, now available on Windows and Mac (Linux build soon), elevates plot over platforming. A cursory examination reveals a possible interpretation of the Icarus myth, with an AI in place of daddy Daedalus and a jetpack in place of waxy wings.

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First Look: Volume

Mike Bithell, creator of Thomas Was Alone, knows a lot about Robin Hood. As we sit in a Starbucks five thousand miles from either of our homes, his tank-like laptop greedily drinking electricity from the coffee store’s wall, I find myself scribbling notes not about his upcoming stealth puzzler Volume, but about how it wasn’t until King Henry VIII took a shine to the story that the behooded thiefster became a noble character. In fact, the whole myth was an excuse to see a few fights during the May Games festivities. He didn’t even give to the poor until the 17th century! “So when are you making a Robin Hood game?” I ask him. “This is it,” says Bithell, waving at the screen.

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Of Stealth And Merry Men: Volume Interview

Mike Bithell’s stealth game, Volume, looks like a very different prospect to Thomas Was Alone, even if there might be some similarities in the audio department. A retelling of the Robin Hood story, Volume takes place in a Britain laced with political dissent, rebellion and fancy volumetric display devices. Upon discovering such a device, Robert Locksley sets out to livestream heists and infiltrations, teaching the poor to steal from the rich rather than doing the job himself. I sat down with Mr Bithell at the Bradford Animation Festival to talk about the game, politics, ethics, Mini Coopers and Russell Brand.

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OUYA, What’s Going On Here Then?

Something strange is afoot in the land of OUYA. The Kickstarted console, running on Android, is obviously not usually in RPS’s purview. But a recently launched incentive to get developers to create OUYA games is treading on our toes, and merits a look. OUYA’s Free The Games Fund offers to match money raised by Kickstarted games, if they can reach a minimum of $50,000, in exchange for six months OUYA exclusivity. It’s hard to know where to begin pointing out what’s dumb about that. And OUYA’s failure to recognise why is causing a number of indie names to loudly complain, some to even stop developing for the console. We’ve spoken to a few of them to find out why.

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