There’s an abandoned island along the coast of Ireland. There’s nothing around, except one ship’s wreckage. There’s nothing to do, but explore the surrounding area. However, the isolated site of the accident is home to a mystery and to a marooned survivor with a tortured mind.
This is the setting for Montague’s Mount — a first-person psychological thriller from Polypusher Studios set to unfold over the course of three episodes.
The game’s nameless protagonist wakes up with no memory of what has happened to him. The surrounding wreckage leads him to believe he is a lost fisherman whose boat was destroyed along the nearby rocks. While there are faint signs of life on the island, it proves to be completely deserted. The object of the game is to find out what happened.
A major aspect of the overall experience involves exploring the Irish landscape. “Having lived in Ireland for 6 years I am passionate about showing the landscape,” said Polypusher Studios owner Matthew Clifton. “To give the game a visual ambience to complement the story and gameplay, I wanted to heighten the effects of isolation and desolation. There is nowhere more desolate than an Irish Island — wind swept and raining every day. Ireland suits this game perfectly.”
To that end, the island setting is large enough to provide ample space for exploration. Clifton says the island is just big enough to encourage exploration without becoming tedious. He also notes that the surrounding ocean provides a natural barrier, which prevents the use of “invisible barriers” for the open world while still allowing players to fully roam the world.
The story takes its Irish setting seriously, as the Gaelic language is used extensively throughout the story. Clifton says that this decision comes from a desire for authenticity. The use of the language was easy to implement, as Clifton is married to an Irish citizen. However, he did cite some difficulty with the various versions of the language, as each part of Ireland uses a different dialect.
While Montague’s Mount is primarily played as a traditional first-person experience, Polypusher currently has their eye on the ongoing development of the Oculus Rift VR technology. Oculus Rift is a headset peripheral that allows for virtual reality play. I asked Clifton how Montague’s Mount would utilize the Oculus Rift tech.
“The Oculus Rift is something we are extremely excited to test and develop for,” Clifton answered. “With Montague’s Mount gameplay being driven by exploration and puzzle solving, anything that can add an additional layer of immersion for the player is fantastic. We are trying are very best to make the environment and ambience as realistic as possible. The thought of the player being ‘dropped into’ the game as a part of this environment is truly mind-blowing. As soon as we can get our hands on a development kit, we will start testing and integrating. If there are delays with this and the game gets finalized before the Oculus Rift comes out, we will integrate post release and patch.”
Polypusher is also looking to bring Montague’s Mount to mobile devices, but that raises the issue of whether the game can retain its sense of immersion through this platform. “Admittedly, some of the immersion will be lost, but we are confident that Montague’s Mount and tablet devices will make a great partnership,” Clifton said. “At this stage, we cannot guarantee that the mobile version will be identical to the standalone. Montague’s Mount’s landscape is very heavily populated with quite literally thousands of assets. Getting this running on current generations will require quite a bit of researching and reworking. Based on some of our initial tests, we are confident that this can be pulled off and will make Montague’s Mount a unique title for those platforms.”
The first episode of Montague’s Mount is set to arrive on PC, Mac, Linux, and mobile devices this winter, with the final two episodes coming in spring and summer of 2013. Polypusher has also started up an Indiegogo campaign, which can be found here.
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