Last year, Jay Tholen released Dropsy, a video game about a scary-looking clown who uses hugs (and twerking) to try and redeem his name after a fire destroys his family’s circus. Dropsy received quite a bit of acclaim; for example, Destructoid’s Zack Furniss described it as “a celebration of the small victories we achieve when we become even the slightest bit closer to someone.”
Hot on the heels of his Dropsy success, Tholen has returned with a new game titled Hypnospace Outlaw in which you play a “Hypno Enforcer” charged with protecting cyberspace from hackers, outlaws, rogue AIs, and whatnot — all in a gloriously pixellated style. Imagine William Gibson’s Matrix transformed into a light-hearted vaporwave dystopia populated with animated GIFs from the mid ’90s… or something like that. (More info available in Tholen’s developer log.)
Even a quick perusal of the Hypnospace Outlaw Kickstarter page reveals the game’s whimsical side. However, Tholen is going for something a little deeper in addition to the trippy graphics, tongue-in-cheek humor, and generative music:
Like the characters in Dropsy, Hypnospace’s citizens will be easy to categorize on first glance (clueless old person, punk rocker, etc) but will be imbued with detailed histories and personalities that can be uncovered via chat logs, emails, and so on. Their personality is also reflected in their driving style on the highway. This information will hopefully lead players to question their judgment and provide a sense of “oh, these are actual people with real-life desires, fears, etc” and raise them out of videogame NPC lifelessness.
Tholen is trying to raise $28,000 by October 4 to fund the game’s development, including bringing on an additional programmer. Depending on the amount you pledge, you can receive early access to the game, a copy of the game’s soundtrack (by Tholen), a t‑shirt, and even the ability to create content and music that will be used in the game.
Hypnospace Outlaw is currently scheduled for a January 2018 release.