Stuffed elephants, childhood trauma, and changing mechanics; Oscar’s a different sort of platformer

Oscar Team Sharkeye

Team Sharkeye are keeping the details of Oscar close to their chest but what they are saying is intriguing. It will be a game that explores a young girl’s escapist fantasies in what appears to be a painterly platformer.

Appearances are designed to deceive.

“On the surface Oscar portrays itself as a simple 2D platformer, a genre well-known for its nostalgic qualities; this is just the surface,” write Sharkeye. “Everything from sound to gameplay to art style can change at a moment’s notice in order to convey a troubled child’s emotions and experiences authentically. Telling Oscar’s true-to-life story is our number one priority and we use whatever’s at our disposal in our developer toolbox.

“Oscar focuses on developing narrative in a way especially suited to video games: Empathy. Set in an abstract fantasy world, we never tell the player what is going on or how they should feel about it; simply by playing the game and absorbing the experience, the player unravels the truth behind Oscar’s childhood story in their own way – because we have all been through at least a bit of what Oscar’s about.”

Now, I’m not sure whether the team are being too quiet about what they plan for the game. After all, they’re asking for $40,000 (Canadian). But this is not a student project with big aspirations: the lead designer is Josh Long, who worked as lead multiplayer designer at Relic and has worked on every one of their titles released in the past seven years.

Here’s what he has to say about the game:

The bulk of the money they’re trying to raise is set aside to go on hiring an artist. Everything shown so far “was made quickly for development purposes to prove out how the game should feel. The art changes style and is part of the narrative so we felt we had to prove that out first; We know it could look much prettier given the funding to lock artists in a basement for a few months!”

The Kickstarter’s still got 27 days to go and you can learn more about it on the project page.