by Joseph Leray
Real talk: I would slaughter every soldier, engineer, doctor, and scientist on my team if it meant I had enough food to keep Marvin the Rottweiler alive in Deconstructeam's "Gods Will Be Watching," a one-screen adventure game full of moral quandaries and ethical pitfalls about a group of starving explorers stuck on a hostile planet.
Thankfully, it never came to that since I froze to death after less than a week. I'll get a chance to try again when Devolver Digital -- the publisher behind "Hotline Miami" and "Luftrausers" -- brings the indie point-and-click to PC and mobile next year.
"Gods Will Be Watching" started off during Ludum Dare 26, a game jam that happens every four months and gives designers and developers 48 hours to make a game based on a given theme. The theme for the most recent competition was "minimalism."
In response, the Valencia, Spain-based Deconstructeam built "Gods Will Be Watching." Players are tasked with surviving for 40 days by hunting, curing diseases, lifting morale, and fixing a radio. The catch is that players are limited to a handful of actions per day while the Medusa virus decimates your team and its limited food supply.
If you don't freeze to death like I did, you'll eventually have to make some Donner Party-style decisions: is it worth saving the infected psychiatrist, or should I let her die to save on vaccines?
The in-browser Flash game proved popular enough to sustain an Indiegogo campaign that's raised almost $20,000, enough for Deconstructeam to remake, revamp, overhaul, and expand "The Gods Will be Watching" into a full-scale space opera. The plan so far is to design six different scenarios, tasking Sergeant Burden and his crew with enduring torture, escaping mysterious diseases, and squaring off against bioterrorists.
The trailer is kind of distractingly narrated, but it gives a good overview of what Deconstructeam is trying to achieve. The bigger, badder version of the "The Gods Will Be Watching" will also include new cinematics and a dynamic morale system that affects the crew and their reaction to Burden's decisions.
"We want to tell a beautiful story and explore human ethics," reads the Indiegogo page. The crowdfunding campaign has two days left and has already exploded its modest goals. Yesterday, Devolver Digital announced that it will match any funds raised on Indiegogo and publish the game on PC and mobile devices next year.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Devolver Digital and make Gods Will Be Watching everything we ever wanted it to be from the start,” said Deconstructeam founder Jordi de Paco, in a prepared statement “We’re excited to receive such great support and can’t wait to implement some of the new features that are now possible.”
In the meantime, play the original "Gods Will be Watching" here.
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter