Ever since Simogo and Annapurna Interactive brought us Sayonara Wild Hearts, I’ve been thinking about how awesome it is when a game fuses so heavily with its soundtrack. We tend to focus on how games as a medium can be on par with stuff like movies in terms of telling these deep and meaningful stories, but how about as a medium for making amazing interactive music albums? That’s basically what Sayonara Wild Hearts did, and while I’m not sure it’s quite to that extreme here, another Annapurna-published title seems to be focusing heavily on its musical side. It’s called The Artful Escape from developer Beethoven & Dinosaur, and we first heard about it way back in the summer of 2017 during E3. Here’s that original trailer again because it’s very likely you haven’t seen it, and it’s mega-awesome.
I am FEELING those tunes. I dig classic rock and even some of the more psychedelic stuff from that era, and that tune in that trailer sounds like Joe Satriana making his own binaural beats meditation album. In reality, The Artful Escape is the brainchild of Johnny Galvatron, frontman for the Australian rock band The Galvatrons. In it you play as Francis Vendetti who is the nephew of legendary folk musician Johnson Vendetti. On the eve of Francis’s first ever show, he goes on a “psychedelic, multidimensional journey" to discover his own stage persona and set himself apart from his famous Uncle. You could liken it to David Bowie going on a journey to discover Ziggy Stardust crossed with Jakob Dylan trying to step out of the shadow of his father Bob.
While The Artful Escape was originally announced as an Xbox game, it was also among those titles announced for Apple Arcade. We’ve known for a while that it’ll be coming to mobile via Apple’s subscription gaming service, but we didn’t know WHEN and haven’t really heard much about the game since that initial trailer more than two years ago. Well today during Microsoft’s X019 Xbox press briefing in London, Annapurna Interactive announced that The Artful Escape will be arriving on Xbox and Apple Arcade in 2020. Sure, that’s a pretty vague window, but it’s better than the “Coming when it’s damn ready" release window from the reveal trailer. They’ve also released another awesome new trailer.
As for what you do in The Artful Escape, the press release has this to say: “In the game, players will traverse majestic landscapes made of sound, triggered by their movements, as if the world itself were an instrument. Players will experience close encounters of the third kind-style musical jams, endless possibilities for custom on-stage personas, conversations with all manners of being from disenchanted publicans to lumbering alien wildlife, as well as the ability to walk, run, double jump, air walk, light cannon, trip and dance across the multiverse." It definitely seems to lean towards being a platformer first and foremost with light adventure game mechanics built in, and of course it’s all based around music but not really in a rhythm game kind of way. It actually reminds me a lot of Sword & Sworcery just with a very different art style and vibe. Hopefully it’s not too long into 2020 until The Artful Escape arrives on Apple Arcade as I’m very keen on taking this one for a spin.