I absolutely love it when all you do is see a game, and know you have to play it. While wandering the floor at PAX East this year, I had this experience. On the first day during the press hour, where the convention floor was relatively quite and still walking up before the thousands of eager gamers rushed in, I spied a beautiful display in three colors: The poster and banner of Albert & Otto, a puzzle adventure game being made by a team from Cape Town, South Africa, are visually striking in white, grays and splashes of red. It wasn;’t until the final day of PAX that I was actually able to talk to the developers, and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t all about the visuals:
Albert & Otto is a story about a boy and a magical bunny who journey together and solve puzzles in order to get back what was taken from them. Albert and Otto work together to overcome challenges thrown their way. However we soon learn that what seemed at first like a journey to save the damsel in distress is anything but and that our hero Albert might be hiding something dark.
A 2D Physics based cinematic platformer, the game requires the player to solve a series of puzzles with his sidekick. Albert and Otto must work together to solve puzzles. They cannot wander too far from each other however, Albert must use Otto in creative ways, such as leaving him to hold down a switch, press a button or push a lever while Albert executes his own actions simultaneously in order to get them both through the puzzle. The player is mainly in control of Albert but he may control Otto to an extent, such as using him to power a generator or flip a switch.
The hidden subtext in the game is related to a very dark part of world history; The Nazi Occupation. There’s subtle hints in the background leading you towards this conclusion in the art and in the playable demo. It’s of course a bit of a downer to play any game dealing with such hard issues, but they’re important parts of the human experience, and incredibly important stories to know and learn from. Games are a good, if not the best, way to experience these kinds of stories.
Albert & Otto is a story that I’ve been wanting to tell for some time now, as a filmmaker and designer I have always wanted to combine storytelling and design into an interactive format, my love of video games and the impact they had on my life growing up inspired me to create games of my own and tell my stories through this powerful and unique medium.
I started work on Albert & Otto a little over a year ago, the mission was to tell the story that I felt needed to be heard, it is based on events from our history which aren’t widely known and at the same time create a game that I would enjoy playing and hopefully others would too. What started as a sideline project that i worked on in my spare time soon turned into a full time obsession and I have since been dedicating most of time to it.
Albert & Otto has already been Greenlight on Steam, and is incredibly close to completion. The Kickstarter campaign is looking to raise $15,000, and have raised $1,200 with 14 days to go. If you are interested in backing this project, please head on over to the Kickstarter page.
*Disclaimer: The Author has not backed the game discussed in this article on Kickstarteras of the time of writing. All opinions are the authors own, and the objectivity of the piece may be influenced by any of the authors own biases as stated in the article or in this disclaimer.*