Compiling some 8,000 pieces of hand-drawn artwork, artist Alle Jong’s upcoming Sketchy Fables is a bold-looking experimental game that clearly wants to not only defy visual conventions, but the structure of a game. Described by Jong as a “comic-book that has broken up over a landscape,” Sketchy Fables seems to draw from visual novels, art games, comic books, and cartoons to portray a world for you to explore and find the story of.
The game world has touches of surrealism, but at the same time reaches for a kind of thick-lined impressionism. Everyday objects like trees are infused with movement, and visual boundaries are drawn with harsh lines and the kind of clipping that’d be considered a flaw in more mainstream games, but are used as tool here.
“There is an Main storyline, but nothing is what it seems,” says the Steam store page. Videos on Jong’s YouTube show in-progress versions of the game going back over a year. Sketchy Fables doesn’t yet have a release date.
A gameplay trailer, released just this week, shows off the world from foot and from inside a train. From the description: “In this gameplay video the player jumps on an train and travels from Cybercity to Bird city.”
The debate about whether games are art has gone on for years, but when it comes to the “yes” position, it’s titles like indie Frisian/Dutch developer Alle Jong’s upcoming Sketchy Fables that should be submitted as Exhibit A.
While story details are sparse and indeed meant to be left open to interpration, the narrative begins with the search for a boy who seems able to “influence your reality.” Who is this boy, and what is his relationship to you? These are just some of the enigmatic mysteries you’ll attempt to solve in a game that expands to include “many random encounters and discoveries” across “multiple storylines [that] take place in the same moment.” The tales you uncover are not laid out in a traditional linear way, so it will be “up to the player to recognize [them] and make them their own.”
Representing a very personal experience for Jong that’s “full of poetry and art,” Sketchy Fables plays out like a “comic book that has been broken up over a landscape.” Its distinctive aesthetic is composed of approximately 5,000 drawings that have been incorporated into 3D space for players to explore first-hand on a journey through a variety of “villages and rural landscapes.” Inspired by games like Gone Home and What Remains of Edith Finch, as well as films like The Truman Show, the experience here is intended to be largely exploratory and introspective, though there will be a “quest room with a map on which you will see where to go next” to progress. There will also be some simple puzzles along the way, such as searching for keys to “open an ancient bird temple,” but these can be considered “secret side quests” that are entirely optional to pursue.
There is no firm target release date for Sketchy Fables just yet, but if all goes well we should see the game launched on Steam for PC sometime in 2022. While you wait you can sign up for updates through the official website, and take some time to peruse Alle Jong’s other non-game works of art.
Today 11 June (not may as mentioned) 2020 is a special day, after a very long period of hard work, here is the official announcement of Sketchy Adventure, more updates to follow, a trailer can be seen from the homepage of this new site which will be the core from where new announcements are made.