Sometimes, every once in a while, there’s a game that comes along that not only gets you excited, but does something more. These are the games that, once you hear about them, you realize what’s been missing in your game library all these years. Today, Nerd Kingdom released a video detailing many of the design choices they are making in there new, procedural sandbox game, TUG (standing for The Untitled Game), accompanied by a corresponding blog post. Saying this video peaked my curiosity of the game would be an egregious understatement.
While this may be where I began, and the most timely of the videos put out by Nerd Kingdom, it’s probably not the best place to start. TUG, according to the Kickstarter, is “where survival sandbox and multiplayer RPG’s meet, offering both elegant simplicity and a world of complex secrets for those who desire to seek them out. From freezing snow capped mountains to dark dreary caves, TUG offers a massive procedurally generated world to explore, full of mystery and danger — but what makes TUG truly unique is its ability to help us learn what you as players enjoy about the game, and to use your interactions to make an amazing world even better.” That sounds all well and good, high reaching and inventive, but screw all that. It’s the next line that made my eyebrow raise ever so slightly: “The project draws inspiration from fun, accessible games we love such as Minecraft, Fable, Animal Crossing, and Zelda, as well as games that feature deeply complex worlds, including Eve Online, Monster Hunter, and Dwarf Fortress.”
Hold. The. Phone.
This may be just about the best freaking combination of games and ideas I’ve ever had the pleasure to stumble across on a Monday morning. Firstly, Minecraft: A game with near infinite possibilities and actually infinite replayability While Mojang’s creation is amazing, fantastically full and pretty damn revolutionary, I have to say I’ve not been fused about it lately. The 8-bit blocky aesthetic has worn thin and there’s just not quite enough development in the game to give me purpose, even with the latest patches and the addition of mods. Still, using that base of exploration and construction is a very solid beginning Second: Zelda. No need to elaborate. The game feels, even from pre-alpha footage, like a homage to that foundational adventure game that was a cornerstone in nearly every gamer’s early years. Finally, and for me most intriguingly, EVE. This, more than anything else, gives me hope. EVE is a unique game (which I happen to love the idea of voraciously), and while its not for everyone, there’s one thing that cannot be denied, whether you like the game or not: It has stuck to its principle. EVE IS based on player action, and everything that happens in that game is the result of player or a group of players. Having a team developing a game with that principle in mind from the start can only breed good things in my mind.
Maybe its the rosy-haze of a new discovery, but TUG seems to have a lot of potential to me. While the game is still looking for funding, and only approaching alpha stages, I can’t help but be hopeful. If you’d like to learn more, or lend your support, head to the TUG Kickstarter.