With hours to go, Neverending Nightmares achieved its Kickstarter funding goal. Neverending Nightmares is “A terrifying psychological horror game inspired by the developer’s battle with mental illness.” Rendered in a predominately black, white, and (blood) red, pen sketch art style inspired by Edward Gorey, the game is designed to immerse players in a horror environment without intrusive or distracting elements, and to convey the emotional impact of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression. It is not merely a visual experience. Developer Matt Gilgenbach of Infinitap Games, known for the award-winning but commercially unsuccessful Retro/Grade, talked about the importance of sound in the game, in an interview with Day of the OUYA. “Audio is such a huge part of creating the atmosphere,” he said, “and we are extremely fortunate to be working with a talented musician and sound designers. It may seem silly to say because I had nothing to do with it, but I am most proud of the music in our game. Just listening to the music alone creeps me out, and that really makes the work easier from a game design perspective.” Mr. Gilgenbach was also keen to impart the significance of a branching storyline. “In general, I feel like interactivity in the narrative is a missed opportunity for most games. […] Having multiple outcomes that are contradictory is appealing to me for this game because it makes the game more nightmarish. If there is no ‘true’ reality, then everything feels like a nightmare!”
[WARNING]: Disturbing imagery.
Neverending Nightmares is a participant in OUYA’s Free the Games Fund, a program through which Ouya, Inc. has offered to match crowdfunding pledges through Kickstarter for any game reaching a minimum of $50,000, whose developers agree to release it exclusively on OUYA for a period of at least six months. The Free the Games Fund has been the subject of some controversy, with questions raised about the fairness of allowing developers to qualify by contributing to their own Kickstarter projects. In addition to concerns about dishonesty, this arguably favors developers with means over those who are most in need.
However, Gilgenbach was not fazed by this. In fact, he has said that “Ouya has been amazing to work with.” Ouya, Inc. has reached out to the community and to developers to determine how best to serve the needs of the platform and all who rely on it. And it is this collaboration that has enabled Neverending Nightmares to be launched simultaneously on Windows, OSX, and Linux PCs, and on OUYA. It gave Gilgenbach the opportunity to express “that making backers wait 6 months to get the game they funded was not cool.” The rules for the fund have since been revised so as not to include PCs in the exclusivity stipulation, and as a result, the game is expected to launch on all of the aforementioned platforms in August, 2014. A demo for Windows PCs is currently available from the Kickstarter page.