Animals aren't dumb. Well, some of them probably are, but not the ones in indie developer Gamechuck's upcoming point-and-click fantasy adventure Trip the Ark Fantastic.
Set in an anthropomorphic animal kingdom "on the verge of industrial and social revolution," the game is named after an ancient artifact that legends say was "built by lions millennia ago to save all animals from a great flood." In modern times, "whispers of reform and revolution" worry the benevolent King Lav, so he commissions a schlolarly hedgehog in high repute named Charles to prove the existence of the mythical ark in the hope that it "might sway animals toward a royalist stance, and thus uphold the monarchy." Accompanied by the "witty, sarcastic and shrewd" advisor to the king, Philippe the Fox, and the ever-loyal captain of the Royal Guard, Andre the Boar, Charles sets out on adventure that will "lead them to the fringes of the Kingdom and beyond, in search of elusive truth." What he discovers, however, is far more complicated than he imagined, and what he chooses to report "could end up helping reformists or even to bring about anarchy."
Described as a "story-driven scientific adventure," Trip the Ark Fantastic promises to explore the questions of "how myths, science, and philosophy can influence society, and how monarchies, democracies, and anarchies view power, authority, and legitimacy of rule." A much different sort of adventure than the developer's previous titles All You Can Eat and vApe Escape (as well as the upcoming The Heist), this one is influenced by "modern fables of classic literature, such as Animal Farm or Watership Down." The gorgeously designed third-person point-and-click adventure is being "drawn frame-by-frame to be reminiscent of early animated classics," while the music is similarly classically inspired, taking cues from "19th century romanticism with the use of leitmotifs inspired by Wagner and gesamtkunstwerk opera."
Although a traditional adventure in many respects, what helps separate this game from other fantasy titles is its adherence to the scientific method: "research, discuss, experiment." Talking to the varied cast of characters (and species) may require learning their language (such as "squirrelese") first, while gathering evidence will require the use of scientific equipment like a microscope and chemist kit to process. You'll also need to avail yourself of "the works of other scholars found in libraries across the Kingdom." Once Charles has found all relevant evidence, players must choose "the right conclusions" and publish only "compelling arguments in the Animal Kingdom’s scientific papers to prove his theories and disprove those of others. Only arguments with sound logic and solid evidence will have the power to sway public opinion and change the course of history." But you must also consider the practical ramifications of revealing your findings as well, as "there is a looming moral dilemma over whether the player should publish a certain argument or not."
The "first Croatian game co-funded by the European Union’s MEDIA sub-programme," Trip the Ark Fantastic is still a way off, with a target release sometime in 2022 for Windows, Mac and Linux and as-yet-unspecified consoles. In the meantime, you can follow the game's progress through its official website.