While genre newcomers might find his game more challenging than the likes of Out from Boneville, John Green is confident that a classic-style game still has an audience. "I'm not sure if the genre has declined in popularity so much as the population of people playing other genres has grown." Explaining that the entertainment industry tends to over-exploit a successful formula, he continues: "There is an audience for games other than first person shooters (and I'm not knocking them, I like quite a few myself) but with publishers focusing so much on that genre, the fans of other genres end up not making as many trips to the video game store, knowing that there's not going to be anything for them there." He might be right. It's hard to deny the instant likeability of his creation that seems to transcend age and experience.
"My sister-in-law and 3 1/2 year-old nephew have been playing the demo and having fun (though, they hadn't gotten to the cartoon gore part last I spoke to them...)." Despite the morbid dilemma facing the game's protagonist, Nearly Departed never keeps a straight face. It's the same appeal of melding the sinister and the silly that has made so many Tim Burton fans. "I guess it's for mature children and immature adults."
Yet it seems John was naively unaware that he was really on to something. "I never imagined anyone would show this much interest in the game. I figured I'd do it, release it, and hear nothing of it, but at least I'd have something I was proud of and could show my friends." Mark Darin, of Pinhead Games has approached John and has entered an agreement to help produce, distribute and promote Nearly Departed and it is thanks to them that the title will feature full voice acting, a musical score, and professionally engineered sound. Despite this, the finished product is still expected to be a freeware title, not a commercial release.
For all the gorgeous artwork, polished design, and the mounting excitement surrounding its release, Nearly Departed remains an amateur, if exceptional, creation. Green still chips away at his game in his spare time, on no certain schedule (although he hopes to complete his game by year's end). "In the end I really just want people to play the game and get some enjoyment out of it," he says humbly. He might not realize that he could have a hit on his hands. With any luck it won't be the last we hear from John Green. "I've got countless stories to tell, so hopefully Nearly Departed will be well-received and I'll get to put all those other ideas to good use."
Keep your browsers tuned to the official site, to Pinhead's site and occupy yourself with the very entertaining preview demo while you wait.
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