The Whitechapel murders may be history's most infamous unsolved crimes, but Jack the Ripper ain't got nuthin' on the Artisan, the serial-killing automaton in indie Canadian developer EXP-resso Mutt's steampunk horror debut Camera Anima, currently seeking funding through Kickstarter.
Like its inspiration, the game takes place among fog-shrouded, olde tyme city streets, but rather than London these events take place on "the Floating Isles of Awyr." Here social status is conferred through masks referred to as "faces," and the unfortunate souls who "wander the streets at night" without such a face have fallen prey to the Artisan for decades. The latest such victim is Giselle, whose twin sister Essie begins a frantic search when her sibling goes missing. Now, as she pursues the mechanical killer "through his lair to find Giselle, she uncovers clues that reveal the Artisan’s history. Who is the Artisan? Who created him and for what purpose? And can she find Giselle before it’s too late?"
Combining "western adventure games with visual novel storytelling," Camera Anima is a first-person slideshow-style experience with a small interaction wheel for dealing with hotspots. In order to (hopefully) save Essie, players will need to "explore beautifully illustrated environments to solve puzzles, navigate obstacles, find clues, and uncover the secrets behind the Artisan’s dark history." With the killer never far away, certain actions will be timed, but it is up to you to decide "whether it is better to wait or act." The text-heavy plot promises more than 40,000 words in total, some of which relate to optional secrets to be uncovered and/or story branches that can lead to "multiple bad endings."
Originally conceived as a short story, Camera Anima was later adapted into a game demo and is now seeking to take the next step in becoming a full-fledged adventure through a Kickstarter campaign. If the developers are able to raise over $7500 USD by March 16th, we could see the game released on Windows, Mac and Linux as early as November 2021.