by Johnathan Irwin
previewed on PC
Garden of Uncertainty
Crowdfunded projects are as common as weeds in an untended yard at this point. Occasionally a budding flower shows the potential to grow, one that catches the eye even if it's for the briefest of moments.
That is exactly what has come to mind now that I've gotten to try out the, admittedly very rough, version of Extract 237. What will soon be a vibrant world of intrigue, horror, and beauty is at the moment only a small taste of what it aspires to be, and while it's a short experience it makes my appetite equal to that of the creature it takes place in. Oh, I didn't mention that this game takes place entirely - inside - the belly of a beast did I?
Let's take a moment and talk about what Project Extract is aspiring for with their game, Extract 237. Enter Dr. Isabeau Winters, our currently faceless protagonist who is quite the adventurer. In search of her father somewhere near Antarctica, she discovers a massive dormant beast beneath the ocean currents. In due form, the big company that she works for, Nelmcor, wants to study the creature in much more detail. Teams of miners are instructed by corporate big-wigs to pump a bacteria into the creature, presumably intended to give it a silent death so they can safely study the creature as well as harvest ores that it has absorbed. That goes about as well as it could possibly go, before the entire vessel they are on is swallowed whole, leaving the survivors inside to desperately look for a way to escape.
Should the Kickstarter project be successfully funded, players can look forward to a survival experience in which you will have to scavenge, interact with other survivors, and successfully fend off the dangers of various sorts one can expect living inside a creature of such unearthly qualities. However, in the current state we have none of that. What we do have is a beautiful setting to explore and explore I did. Gazing over each and every little detail from the chaotic starting area, to the oddly calm of the currently final playable section of the beast.
The Current State
In the first section of the beast, there are remnants of ships swallowed and many of them look like they've been there far longer than the unfortunate Nelmcor team. Many of them are partially digested, submerged in a thick pink slime which thankfully for our protagonist appears to be very slow acting otherwise I don't think they'd be living long enough to panic! The lighting on the slick surfaces brings an almost visual joy against the team's rather dire situation, and I can easily imagine this area being a sort of calm-before-the-storm in a full release. A place to attempt to set up a refuge, to gather survivors and equipment alike to increase the chances of escape.
Venturing further into the beast, I examined the pulsing walls and somewhat transparent passageways that give slightly more insight into what it is we're dwelling inside of. It was grotesque beauty, and while that's mostly all there is to it right now, I burned two hours just admiring the sights. One room I passed through has a magnificent blue glow to it, I am unsure if the things offering the glow were a part of the creature itself or something it had absorbed but the way the light danced around the room was as enticing as one could hope for.
In what is essentially a tech demo at present, Extract 237 does not disappoint. It gives a brief visualization to what the team is hoping to accomplish, they've provided us just enough back story to make me want to know more about the destroyed ships found inside as well as the giant beast itself, and hopefully with time they'll be able to take the beginnings of this dream and make it into something special for gaming. Their first attempt at crowdfunding the project ends on November 15th, though it is certainly possible for them to try again should they not meet the $250k minimum to keep the project going but it is currently uncertain how immediate that would be.
Only one thing is currently certain to me however, and that's that very idea of this game - along with the tech demo - shows me that there is still very uncharted territory for games like this. Project Extract is attempting to spearhead that push and I'm very much looking forward to seeing where this game goes from here.