Will you let other people stop you from pursuing your dreams? For generations, a village of goblins has been trapped inside a mysterious forest; anyone who attempts to leave returns hopeless and defeated. Determined to break new ground, a young goblin named Motus plans to build a series of bridges through the forest. However, his perseverance will soon be tested, as he meets bullies that use their own words to stop him. Will you find a way through life's forest, or like others be lost in its depths with no will to continue?
Developed for three years by Michael Hicks (design, music, programming, writing) and Goncalo Antunes (all art and animations), The Path of Motus weaves gameplay and story together to deliver a poetic experience unlike anything before it.
The Path of Motus will launch on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam this summer. Pricing will be announced when the game is closer to launch. An Educational Version will also be released for use in schools.
"Playing as Motus requires you to have resilience, and lets players explore the deeper reasons for why people resort to aggression," explains game designer Michael Hicks. "When I was younger, I was interested in what made bullies act so aggressive. As time went on I began to befriend some of them, and learned they had either been bullied themselves earlier in life, had really bad family lives, or were just simply jealous of other people; I kept all of this in mind as I designed the game. As Motus gradually grows from a child to an adult, you'll get to explore the motivations of the characters you meet, and I expect you'll have some surprising moments in the process! I feel the discussion around this topic often ignores the root causes of bullying, so hopefully this game lets us see how our own actions potentially contribute to this issue."
In 2012, Michael Hicks and Goncalo Antunes released a game called Sententia for a promotional event called the Indie Games Uprising on Xbox 360. The game was created in a few months and marked a new direction in Michael's approach to game design. "I became interested in using gameplay as a way to express meaningful ideas," explains Hicks. "I was really frustrated at the time because I was surrounding myself with film and music that was changing my perspective on things in life... and here I was spending hundreds of hours in a video game trying to get some piece of armor." Michael became convinced that games could offer a unique insight into the human condition, and set off to prove it with Sententia. However, his dream would soon be crushed upon launch.... Sententia was almost universally rejected by critics and gamers alike.
Determined to explore their design approach further, Michael and Goncalo spent two years developing Pillar for PlayStation 4, Steam and Xbox 360. Pillar was designed to express different types of personality traits through gameplay. The game featured several different characters, each with a different set of gameplay mechanics depending on their personality... for example, introverted characters had a certain amount of energy that would drain in the presence of other characters. Pillar was played by over 320,000 players worldwide and was featured in publications such as Game Informer as an example of innovation in the video game industry. The team considered Pillar a partial success, and soon began fishing for a new project to work on after its 2015 release.
Three different projects were prototyped in late 2015, but eventually the team felt called to completely remake Sententia using the knowledge they gained from Pillar. After realizing how vastly different the game's execution is from the original, they decided to rename the project to The Path of Motus. While the core idea of Sententia remains, the game uses the psychological design approach from Pillar and pushes it even farther. Goncalo, who is a Portugal native, flew to USA to stay with Michael for six months towards the end of the game's development. "I feel like this game has been six years in the making, all of the things we've learned from the last two projects have led up to The Path of Motus," explains Antunes. The Path of Motus is currently in the final stages of development and will be released this summer.
Michael Hicks - Design, Music, Programming, Writing, PR, Misc.
Goncalo Antunes - All Art and Animations