Spate – unique platforming game that deals with the struggle of alcoholism

In a world where big budget games are staying locked to a successfully formula to recover costs or make profit, which evidence points to that it does not always work, it is great that we can rely on small independent studios to come up with new and clever ways to present a game and its story. One such interesting title is the upcoming Spate by Eric Provan, an artist who has spent most of his career working in the film industry at such renown companies as Jim Henson Creature Shop, Sony Pictures Animation, and where he is currently at, Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Eric is using his film industry expertise to bring a special experience to Spate, things like subliminal messages, colour changes to subconsciously affect mood, foreground and background layering to add depth, camera angles that evoke emotion, and provocative story points that include  topics like death and drinking.

Spate is a journey of one man’s struggle and descent into madness that is fuelled by his addiction to absinthe following the tragic death of his daughter. Detective Bluth is hired to investigate mysterious disappearances that have been occurring on an island offshore, and figures that he has nothing left to lose. The detective hopes to uncover some of the island’s mystery, but is finding it increasingly difficult to battle his own pain. The death of his daughter continues to haunt him mercilessly, and his regrets of their last moments together are chasing his pain deeper into his heart. As his absinthe use increases it becomes harder and harder for him to tell reality from fiction. Soon he finds he is fighting for more than just the missing people… he is fighting against the madness as well.

Alcoholism is a subject matter that is hardly touched upon in games, so the potential of having a game based on such a topic – if done right – could see video game subject matters evolve once again.

Eric states that “while there are fun platforming elements to Spate, there are also parts where the player just travels through the world. I compare these parts to long shots in movies. The average shot in a film is 3 seconds. As viewers, when we see a shot go past a minute without cutting, it has an emotional effect on us (think “Children of Men”). It sucks us in. It makes us alert. It makes us think without being forced to think. And it turns out that we’re happy to! This idea combined with an amazing score by award winning composer Mike Raznick helps us feel the rain as it floods down, and it gives us chills when the wind blows by. Most of all, it sucks us into the world and makes us forget that we’re just playing a game.

Spate is already receiving praise before its 3rd quarter 2013 release, as it recently won IGN’s “The Next Game Boss”, and was given high praise from designers David Jaffe (God of War, Twisted metal) and Jenova Chen (Flower, Journey).

If you are interested in finding out more about the game, or want to support Eric and his project, then you can vote for it on Steam Greenlight or reach out to the developer on the game’s Twitter account.

Here is a recent trailer of Spate in action.