Outcore Desktop Adventure is a fresh take on the aforementioned idea by mixing puzzle and platforming gameplay using the Windows desktop and programs to deliver an original story.
We all love it when games and other media break the fourth wall. It involves players, viewers and readers by breaking conventions and drawing them into the narrative whilst being aware of reality.
With clear nods to early 2000s desktop buddies such as BonziBuddy (without the malware), Outcore is a fresh experience that stands out from its Indie game competition.
We were lucky enough to chat with Outcore: Desktop Adventure sole developer Orgad Arbel (Doctor Shinobi) at Digital Dragons 2022 about the game’s inspirations, challenges, and thoughts on indie/AAA development. We’ve even managed to grab exclusive gameplay reveal for our readers; let’s get straight into it:
Interview | Outcore: Desktop Adventure Exclusive Reveal
GameByte: First, let’s kick things off with an introduction to Outcore: Desktop Adventure and yourself, Doctor Shinobi. What’s it all about?
Orgad Arbel: “As the name implies, Outcore: Desktop Adventure is about using the player’s real desktop as part of the game’s adventure. A girl appears on the player’s desktop with no memory of how she got there.
“The player will need to look for her files around their computer and “hack” them using various Windows apps (such as Paint & Notepad) to restore her memories. Each time they manage to hack a file, they’ll get to experience her memories and learn more about why that girl appeared on their desktop.
“Most of the game is being developed by myself, while the music is being made by my friend, Aviv “Fez” Yeyni.“
GB: It’s clear that there are infinite 90s game and Windows influences from the get-go with Outcore: Desktop Adventure; we’re putting bets on Sonic 2 and Space Cadet Pinball. Are we right?
OA: “Close! I never played Sonic 2, but the pinball section of Outcore is indeed influenced by other Sonic casino levels (like Casino Park from Sonic Heroes). That said, Outcore references a LOT of games & shows, old and new (mostly during later chapters).“
GB: How did the unique gameplay mechanics of Outcore come about? Using a person’s real Desktop as a mechanic within itself is something we’ve not seen before.
OA: “I can’t remember the exact moment the idea popped up, but it used to be much smaller in scale. Originally, the desktop part was supposed to be a surprise final boss twist, and most of the game would just be a normal boss rush platformer. I eventually realized the desktop idea was too cool to keep just for the end, so I decided to make the entire game about messing with your desktop.“
GB: Outcore Desktop Adventure edges on breaking the fourth wall, especially the relationship between Lumie and her Dad. What were the main goals you wanted to achieve during development?
OA: “I wanted to create a new experience for most people. Outcore is not the first game that lets you befriend a game character and involves desktop interaction (OneShot & DDLC do that too).
“I don’t know of any other game out there that makes the player’s desktop an integral part of the gameplay as Outcore attempts to. I wanted to try out things both with the story & game mechanics that would make players say, “Yeah, I never played a game like that.”
GB: As a sole indie developer, what are the challenges of bringing a game idea into development and publishing it?
OA: “I find it difficult to fill roles I’m not good at. I’ve been doing a not so great job at marketing. Producing art can take me quite a long, and the results are usually mediocre. I imagine most solo devs might also have difficulty keeping themselves motivated to finish the game.
“If I could give a tip to keep solo devs motivated, it would be this: Be in love with your project, fantasize about the day it’s released, and enjoy the whole process of creating it.“
GB: Bringing the conversation to a wider viewpoint, what would you like to change about today’s games industry? No holds barred here.
OA: “Have you ever seen a new movie at the cinema and felt like, “Yeah, I’ve seen this movie before”? I often feel this when I see movies from big studios, and it usually also applies to AAA game studios.
“I understand how the risk of having a big budget limits production to proven and established formulas, but I’d wish big studios would try to be more innovative.“
– Finally, we’re happy to confirm that GameByte has secured an exclusive Outcore: Desktop Adventure gameplay reveal.
OA: “In chapter 3, you learn that one of the files you’re looking for is within a complex folder structure. The folder structure acts like a maze, making it nearly impossible to guess the file’s location. Luckily, you get a dog robot which can direct you to the correct file using a sonar.
“Unfortunately, the dog is not too smart and may sometimes lead you to incorrect files. To find the correct file, players will need to use the sonar as if they are playing a game of Hot And Cold while at the same time picking up on signs that imply the dog may be misleading them.“
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