The new studio, Midboss Games, is starting out with a 1990s-inspired adventure game; titled “Read Only Memories,” it’s described as “a new cyberpunk adventure game for desktop and mobile that features queer characters in prominent roles.”
Set in “Neo-San Francisco” in 2064, the protagonist of this single-player game is a young journalist, just trying to make it on their own in the big city. The catalyst for their adventure is the simple arrival of a package, containing a beta version of the latest “ROM,” a device with true artificial intelligence that’s as common in the game world as smartphones are in ours.
Also included in the package is a note from a close friend, saying he had to leave the country immediately, with no explanation as to why. Incidentally, he worked for Parallax, a leader in the ROM industry since 2045.
Of course, everything is not as it seems, and to uncover the mystery, players will be sent all over the city, where they will meet many unique characters of all types; the player will need to work with them to figure out what’s really going on—but figuring out who to trust and who is best avoided won’t be easy.
Founding member of both GaymerX and Midboss Games, Matt Conn, told 429Magazine, “in terms of race/gender/queerness, the point is to show a future where a lot of these social issues and ignorances have fallen by the wayside. With a flat information system and multiple generations now growing up with access to all the information in the world, a lot of things like transphobia, homophobia, [and]racism…has mostly subsided—at least in a traditional sense.”
“In 2064 there’s other issues, like the overcrowding of SF, a total and complete lack of any kind of privacy, the rise of cybernetic and hybrid folks (and the phobia of that),” he continued. “It’ll be a good way for us to present queer characters on an equal level with their straight counterparts while having other, still controversial topics on the table.”
Midboss plans to have a playable version of the game ready in time for GaymerX2, which will be held July 11-13, 2014; contributor rewards include a limited number of discounted badges to the convention, game downloads, early access to its content, and a custom beanie hat. The highest contributor level, at $8062, offers a weekend-long, very unique tour through “the grittiest parts of San Francisco” by the game developers.
The Kickstarter campaign’s funding goal is $62,064; that figure may sound daunting, but it has a unique advantage—because one of the gaming platforms Midboss plans to release “Read-Only Memories” on is the Ouya system (in addition to Windows, Mac OSX, Android, and iOS), its Free The Games Fund will match every pledge, dollar for dollar, up to the $62,064 goal.
Stretch goal rewards include putting the game on additional gaming platforms (Linux, Steam, PS4, Xbox One, PS Vita and WiiU), a soundtrack, and an artbook; the project page can be found here.