Cradle

Cradle

One upcoming adventure game I’ve got my eye on is Cradle, a “first-person quest” by a Ukranian indie game studio called Flying Cafe For Semianimals.

Here is a description of the game in the developers’ words:

Cradle is a science-fiction first-person quest with freedom of movement. The story is built around the relations of the protagonist and a mechanical girl, who by enigmatic circumstances find themselves together in a yurt among the desert Mongolian hills. The player is to restore the lost functions of his companion’s mechanical body parts and together reveal the mystery of the neglected entertainment park found not far from the yurt.

The stand-out feature for this game so far is its visual style.  Cradle is being developed in the Unigine Engine, known for its advanced renderer, and so far the graphics look stunning.  The game has a unique sort of used future aesthetic, placing futuristic-but-dilapidated technology on a beautiful countryside backdrop, perhaps emphasizing a sort of power struggle between human advancements and the forces of time and nature.  The company’s creative director has likened the intended feel of the game to that of a dream, where your dream life is completely different from your waking life.  “Cradle is a strange beautiful dream filled with anticipation of discovering a deep old mystery.”

The team has released a short gameplay video that shows a bit of the yurt and the theme park:

The interface looks very simple and accessible, with actions limited to movement and inspecting/using objects.  You appear to be able to interact with most of the objects in the environment, in ways such as picking them up and using them for their logical purpose as with the knife and fruit in the video.  It also looks like you can keep an inventory which will include a few scientific tools to help you analyze your surroundings.  Gameplay will be a “combination of classic quest mechanics with dynamic arcade puzzles” which probably explains the seemingly out-of-place room full of yellow cubes in the gameplay video.  Perhaps these arcade games are part of the abandoned theme park area?

I love games that give me a beautiful and mysterious environment to explore, and it looks like Cradle has made beauty a priority.  But the developers have made it clear that their games aren’t just about good looks:

The mission behind our studio came out from the need to see games, where the quality of meaningful content would match the level of visual form. We want to combine the gloss of big-budget projects with the indie-games charm.

Can’t ask for much more than that!  Cradle is expected to launch in Autumn 2012 for PC, with Mac, Linux, and mobile releases to follow.

By the way, if you like the song used in the video, the developers have made it available for download.