Dev Blog: Inspiration behind Backbone

Alex Korabelnikova
Team glue
Backbone is inspired by film noir, cyberpunk sci-fi, neo-noir, retrofuturism, dystopian fiction, and modern Vancouver. Let's talk about these inspirations and how they'll play out in the final game.

Half of our team resides in Vancouver, while the other half is super jealous, because it's obviously the most beautiful city in the world.

Vancouver's Downtown is situated on the peninsula surrounded by ocean and snowy mountains.
200 rainy days per year and mild, coastal climate are excellent conditions for all sorts of crazy flora - flowers the size of an adult human, 10-meter trees, and sidewalks overgrown with lianas, ivy and moss. In Backbone, we'll combine noiresque rainy city with dark, saturated nature greens.

Vancouver has plenty of 50-60s heritage buildings in great condition, neighboring with glassy skyscrapers. It's a multinational city of expats with densely populated China Town and Little India districts, and we will include this legacy in Backbone.

For the game, we will use the map and landmarks of modern Vancouver, dividing it into areas and zones suitable for various species of animals. For example, Stanley Park is used as a farmland, the coastal area is populated with fish farms, and the glassy spherical observatory Science World is the main research facility of the city. By the way, a poster with Vancouver game map will be available as a reward on Kickstarter!

Film noir + Blade Runner.
Visually, film noir is recognized by its very high-contrast picture that is further enhaced by black and white film. Backbone visuals will include classic interplay of light and shadows, stark silhouttes illuminated by night city, smoke and fog overlapping with neon, mirror-like rainy streets. Thematically, we're saying no to the sexist and overused stereotypes like femme-fatale and seasoned alcoholic detectives lacking empathy. It's important for us to tell a stylized, yet modern story, so instead we'll focus on corruption, social decay, banditism, poverty, discrimination and other themes still very much present in our own society.

Blade Runner really can't be categorized into one genre too - it's a fascinating mixture of neo-noir, hardboiled, cyberpunk, and existentialism, and it has had great influence on every bit of media, gaming included. Backbone will feature the slow-burning suspense, existensial dilemmas, blurred lines between good and evil, moral ambiguity, and the question of what it means to be human in the world without humanity.

If you've ever asked yourself "What would a TV set look like in the world of the 50s North America built by sentient animals on top of the perished human civilization?" - we got you covered. We're inspired by a vivid, nostalgic vision of the future present in masterpieces like Space Odissey, Fallout and Metropolis: the round, clean plastic lines, bright colors, analogue lamps and familiar 21st century technology reimagined in this fresh, exciting visual style. And it's not just style for the sake of it - every technological tool in Backbone would have its use, purpose and history.

The core of successful dystopian fiction is an uncanny resemblence with our present world - what would happen, if we, as a society, take just this small step but in a wrong direction? What if we close our eyes for one moment and let the opression and entropy take over? The best dystopias are the ones that could happen to us tomorrow. The interactivity of the game medium could really emphasize the terror one experiences in a dystopian society, and we're looking forward to making you feel all the things.

Let us know in the comments which element excites you the most!
As usual, thank you for following Backbone, and don't forget to tell your friends, family and loved ones about it.
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