What is Unearthed?
Succinctly put, Unearthed is a game project being developed using hacking software and the EarthBound Super Nintendo rom. Despite being constructed within the framework of an existing game, it will have an original narrative and will feature a new cast, game world and game-play mechanics. The main aim of Unearthed is to produce an entertaining narrative experience within the fabric of a retro video game.
Unearthed is centered around a fairly simple plot – one that draws influences from Labyrinth, Cave Story, Fraggle Rock and many other sources. Through a series of unlikely events, Mitchell (our protagonist) is thrust into an underground world in search of his younger brother Chase. There he encounters strange creatures and exotic locations, and gets caught up in the trials and tribulations of this newly discovered realm.
Why are you making this?
Long answer: Because I love video games – especially the chunky, 16 bit ones I grew up with – and I want to tell new and engaging stories using this antiquated (but not unappreciated) medium.
I guess a lot of this project is driven by nostalgia. Many of the narrative points and game-play mechanics in Unearthed are derived from existing media or at least inspired by it. When I work on Unearthed, I often feel like I am writing a love letter to an era of games that has long passed, and I hope the end result is both familiar and refreshing to those who play it.
When will it be done?
Unearthed has been a labour of love for me over the past few years, and I have been working on it whenever I have a spare moment. I’m not entirely sure when it will be done, but you can see the progress so far by checking out old blog posts, the most recent of which are displayed below. As of the writing of this page (April 2013) all the map design for Unearthed has been completed, and I am in the process of adding in sprite assets while Radiostorm works on the game’s dialogue.
I am hoping to have a technical demo out by the summer of 2013, and an alpha/beta build of the game complete by year’s end. No guarantees though! A lot of the game’s development is dependent on my schedule and on contributions by complete strangers. Neither of those things are particularly reliable.
Sorry for the lack of Unearthed progress updates lately. Work has been slow, and I’ve been mired in a lot of convention-planning work for Gryphcon.…