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Necrobarista: the Indie visual novel that’s got Nintendo staff hyped

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    Necrobarista Nintendo Switch

    There’s a new game coming to Nintendo Switch, and it’s all about necromancy.

    Before heading to PAX Aus 2018, we thought we’d check in with the Nintendo staff to find out what they are excited about. Whilst a lot of the staff mentioned the obvious titles — Pokémon and Super Smash Bros. they focused a lot on one other game too: Necrobarista. It’s a visual novel from Route 59 Games. We thought it was an interesting choice of game to be excited about. We wanted to see what all the fuss was about, so we headed to PAX Aus to check it out for ourselves.

    Necrobarista: an unlikely combination

    Modern-day Melbourne is the setting for Necrobarista. The game is a visual novel about a necromancer who also happens to be a barista. We caught up with Kevin Chen, one of the head developers, to talk about the game. Before we go on, however, check out the trailer.

    Chen tells us that the trailer is a little mysterious. It was designed to be that way. According to Chen, visual novels are currently making a comeback, and they are becoming much more mainstream. Thus, the game is designed to give players an experience of life in “magical” Melbourne. The worlds of the living and the dead intersect in this game. When asked about the inspiration for the game, Chen told us that it was all about celebrating Melbourne:

    Not many games are set in modern day Australia. Any games out there at the moment that have Australia, show it as the outback version of Australia. There aren’t many that show our cities. So we set our game in Melbourne. The cafe culture is big here and it seems a shame not to utilise it.

    Hence the reason for the barista-ing. The coffee and cafe culture is huge in Melbourne. It is a city known globally for its good coffee. The team from Route 59 Games wanted to show that off to the world.

    A global game

    Chen told us about the history of Necrobarista. The game has been in development for four years and started as a student project out of RMIT in Australia. Since then, the game won an award at the Freeplay Independent Games Festival. It was then picked up by Creative Victoria and then by a publisher in Shanghai. The team currently has four full-time core members, and five contractors.

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    Necrobarista seemed rather popular at PAX Aus, as Chen said this:

    We’ve received lots of great feedback. Most people have been coming here and sitting and playing the game for 15, 20 minutes. That’s a lot considering there’s so many other things people could be doing here at PAX… they’ve all enjoyed it.

    The demo at PAX Aus was the first demo to be released “in the wild.” Up to 30 minutes of hands-on gameplay was on show for attendees. It was very fun to play. There’s a nice mix between still images and animation. As the name suggests, there’s a darkness to both the visuals and story. But at the same time it’s lighthearted.

    Players can choose which storyline to follow next. As the game is played, keywords can be picked up unlocking more stories. This gives the gamer the chance to play the way they like.

    The game will be available in 2019, first on PC, Steam, and Mac, and then on Switch and PS4. There may be a possibility of an Xbox version released in the future too.

    All in all, it’s very exciting to see indie games like Necrobarista exhibited at PAX Aus alongside so many other great titles. Keep an eye on Route 59 Games’ Twitter for updates on the game.

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