You may not have heard of PostMod Softworks’ debut game The Old City, but when it was submitted to Steam Greenlight earlier this year, it certainly turned some heads. The small indie studio’s project was Greenlit in a respectable 4 days and now the first Episode – titled Leviathan – of what is due to be a multi-chapter release is nearly finished.
PostMod describes The Old City as a combination of “the meandering, ambiguous narrative of Dear Esther, the multi-linear structure of Gone Home, and the unfathomable, warping environment of The Stanley Parable”. Simply put, we’re in the realm of first-person narrative-led games, a genre where story takes precedence over rigid gameplay mechanics and the satisfaction you gain from the experience is more akin to a good book than blowing away aliens on some distant planet.
Still with us? Good.
Set in the outskirts of a long-abandoned and decaying city, The Old City reveals its story and the history of its world simply through the monologue of the game’s protagonist, as well as the clues and details scattered about the environment. But it’s also an environment that warps and changes when you least expect it, straddling the boundary between what’s reality the dream world. If that sounds to you like it could be a little abstract, then you’re not alone; but a look at the latest trailer should at least give you more of an idea of atmosphere and style the developers are aiming for.
“Our goal is to create a story that relies on your ability to explore, and in doing so we are exploring new topics in the gaming medium,” the Studio said recently in a press release. “Beyond this, we want to show that narrative and visuals alone can make a fantastic experience, and that they are not necessarily secondary to elements like gameplay. Games can be for whoever and about whatever, and our game is for people willing to discover and about how to exist with differing beliefs.”
While progress in the game is made in a largely linear fashion, you’ll be encouraged to fill in the blanks in the narrative through exploration, as well as by reading a 30,000-word novella which gradually unlocks itself as you play. If you’re a fan of games like Gone Home, then you might want to keep a close eye on this.
We’ll have a more detailed preview of the game next week. In just a short while, we’ll also have a guest column from PostMod themselves, where they discuss a bit more about the studio’s outlook and thoughts. In the meantime, cast your eye over the most recent trailer and some screenshots below.