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Slavery-themed I’m Joshua aims for 2016 release

Rarely do video games tackle such sensitive real-world issues as slavery, but that's exactly the subject matter of indie developer Dysotek's upcoming episodic adventure, I'm Joshua.

In the early 19th century, the titular star of the game is born aboard a Portuguese galleon carrying African slaves to the United States. Eleven years later, having been "trafficked and bought when he was just an infant, Joshua works daily in the fields that belong to the Gallaway household, south-west of the city of New Orleans." A child "full of dreams" like any other, but forced to work the fields of the Gallaway plantation, Joshua will now "need to find the strength to fight against one of the greatest injustices of humanity."

Displayed in stylish pixel art, I'm Joshua promises to focus more on narrative than gameplay challenge, though there will be some light puzzling and traditional point-and-click adventure elements included. With dozens of characters to interact with, you'll need to figure out for yourself who means to help or hinder your efforts to "fight for your freedom and that of your people." Similar to the approach taken by Telltale (whom the developers cite as a key influence on the game), player choice will be crucial to the advancement of the story, sometimes under duress during interactive cutscenes that require quick thinking in action. Dysotek promise an adventure "filled with twists and turns", but "the plot... will depend entirely on you and your decisions."

I'm Joshua will be released in three parts, with the debut episode due out sometime late next year. The indie Italian studio has self-financed production of the game so far, but expects to turn to Kickstarter to secure the funding needed to finish the project. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress through its official website.

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