While at Pocket Gamer Connects London back in late January, I was lucky enough to judge the PC Indie Pitch, an event in which over a dozen games enter, seeking to win a selection of prizes from the event organisers. I absolutely adore judging these panels as it’s sometimes the first time some of the games have been shown off — even if that’s not the case, it’s always interesting to spot upcoming trends in the industry.
You might have seen This Dead Winter before. I certainly had when it was pitched to me at the event. GIFs of the game had been doing the rounds for some time, memorable for two reasons:
- Although slightly less unique now, the game featured a fox as a protagonist.
- The titular Winter’s snow is an impressive feat and a visual delight.
— Rob Potter 🦊 (@Rob_Potter) December 11, 2016
This Dead Winter is also memorable because, put simply, the game is something of a contradiction. The vast majority of its concept is almost a hypnotic joy wrought from the carving out of stark-white snow as a bounding, flush-orange fox. The story, however, along with the game’s world, is somewhat darker at times.
The Winter has claimed many, many victims. The fox you control and the bird that accompanies it, which works as a spotter at times, are some of the last few creatures left alive in the beautiful but desolate woodlands. It’s not just the absence of other life that makes the world so curious though — the game’s world is littered with the ruins of a civilisation. Strange, twisted, statuesque figures locked in place serve as decorations along your path. Their rigid forms stand either as haunting warnings or just a reminder of what the world was before the Winter.
I managed to play a little bit of the game while it was being pitched, and while the character moved a little faster than I had anticipated, it was an absolute joy to control. Jumps and bouncing felt brilliant — an important thing in platform games — although I admittedly missed a few of my planned jumps at times.
— Rob Potter 🦊 (@Rob_Potter) October 29, 2017
This Dead Winter is, despite its impressive visuals, currently in a pre-alpha state with no planned release window. It placed first of sixteen titles entered in the PC Indie Pitch, which is hopefully encouragement enough for the game to see its way through development.