Vancouver is a gorgeous Canadian coastal city filled with people... but the same most definitely cannot be said about the "dystopian retrofuturistic" Vancouver of EggNut's successfully crowdfunded stealth adventure, Backbone.
Backbone's Vancouver is a dark and dreary place populated by a wide variety of anthropomorphic animals, its streets "overgrown with ivy and humongous trees, branches and vines piercing through the concrete, and huge flowers nesting on top of the roofs." Surrounded by "huge walls from every side" to keep out unwanted guests who would tarnish the "utopic society constructed so carefully by the Great Apes," the city is home to a raccoon private investigator named Howard Lotor. Howard's life is relatively mundane until it is "interrupted with the appearance of a powerful technology that can blur the lines of conventional order and change the society forever." The resulting storyline is one that promises to feature "themes of power, corruption, social decay and systemic discrimination."
Described as a "cinematic story-driven adventure with stealth and action elements," the game is accompanied by an atmospheric "doom jazz" soundtrack and presented in high-resolution pixel art with dynamic lighting and modern effects to create a "stylistic and thematic fusion of film noir, anthropomorphic animals, retrofuturism and dystopian classics." As a P.I. players will "crawl through the dark alleys" in order to "collect crucial pieces of evidence [from] the crime scene, interrogate witnesses, solve puzzles using in-game objects," as well as "sneak your way to safety using smell-based stealth mechanics." Yes, you're a raccoon with a nose for mystery, quite literally, as you must "sniff out the evidence and hide your trail."
Action elements include some combat at times, so lucky for you there's a technology that "will make you grow a huge bear claw out of your small raccoon body." Stealth is being implemented as a fairly casual real-time mechanic. Rather than simply creeping around quietly to avoid dangers, whenever you encounter an enemy that is able to see, hear and smell your presence, you must "work with these three senses to sneak past them," giving them a puzzle-solving element in their own right. Not all of the stealth sequences are mandatory, as the game will offer "many paths" to fulfill your investigation, such as distracting a club bouncer rather than secretly slinking past him.
Having successfully raised over $70,000 USD through its Kickstarter campaign, Backbone is now on track for release in July 2019. While the base goal secured versions for Windows, Mac and Linux, additional stretch goals were also met, ensuring the game will be coming to PS4, Xbox One and Switch as well. While you wait, you can keep tabs on its progress through the developer's website.