Felix the Reaper developer Kong Orange is currently kickstarting a cooperative “stop motion love story” called Vokabulantis, which is a collaboration between the developers and animation studio Wired Fly that is inspired by games like Inside and Little Nightmares.
Vokabulantis is all about Kurt and Karla, who are on the precipice of professing their love for one another when they apparently lose their ability to speak and are thrust into the literal world of Vokabulantis, a world about language. The little gameplay you can see on their Kickstarter page shows off a dilapidated and ruined city, presumably called the City of Noun according to some concept art, which is apparently only a fragment of the entire world.
Looking through the game’s Kickstarter, there’s a ton of striking concept art with captions that reference language-based concepts and characters like Verbe Carbs, a Word Führer, the aforementioned City of Noun, and a forest of thought called Pando. Lots of proper nouns abound in there, which indicates a lot of worldbuilding. While we don’t know what any of it is (and won’t for a long time), it’s at the very least intriguing.
If the stop motion animation and premise weren’t enough to set Vokabulantis apart, the game’s also leaning into a “novel dogma” they’re calling Emotional Mechanics. These mechanics look to be extensions of the story and how the developers want you to feel. Or rather how they want you to feel what the characters will feel. For example, there may be a rhythm-based level to represent the joy of escaping something that threatens the lives of our protagonists.
The most interesting and outlandish of these looks to be what the developers are calling an “illogical splitscreen.” These seem to reflect the “insanity of your inability to connect with someone,” and posits the characters in these dark labyrinths they need to work through alone to find their way back to each other. It’s all being prototyped and the game is very early in development, but it’s a concept that’s piqued my interest for sure.
Unfortunately, the game doesn’t look like it’ll be done anytime soon. The Kickstarter campaign hasn’t met its goal (yet) and despite being worked on for some time now, development on Vokabulantis is still in its early days. “Even though we have worked on this game for quite a while and we have nailed some critical tech art pipeline developments, we do need more time. So this game will not be finished within the next two years. More likely three years,” reads a section on the risks and challenges of the project.
Even if the game does meet its goal, which it very well could before the campaign ends on April 16, the Kickstarter does note that unless it blows through all the stretch goals, the developers will likely need to find another publishing partner or two to close out development. For now though, definitely give Vokabulantis’ Kickstarter page a look and maybe years from now, we’ll be able to get our hands on it.