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Lookout Drive Games

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A member registered Feb 04, 2022 · View creator page →

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Thank you so much for writing this lovely comment. I am so glad you are safe and okay and that it reminded you of your former home. We made this game for people like you and your families. It means a lot to receive comments like this. 

Howdy space cowfolks! 


My name is Rob from Lookout Drive Games. Just wanted to let you know that the PC demo build of our new game, Bitter Silver, a choose your own adventure visual novel cross between Cowboy Bebop and Mass Effect, is now live.



Here's the link to the page to check it out! https://lookout-drive-games.itch.io/bitter-silver

In terms of a quick plot synopsis:

You are Lucia Lopez - a charismatic, down on her luck, ex-solider-turned-bounty-hunter.

Traveling aboard your spaceship, the Athena, you track down bounties to find an answer to a shocking curse that's been plaguing you your whole life. Alongside you is your fun-loving, brash, nonbinary half human, half alien, partner-in-crime (and love), Zap Matters.  And your team's resident tech expert, a robotic talking cat, Hobbes.

It's up to you, Zap, and Hobbes to journey to a city at the fringes of the Milky Way and track down the last three bounties that stand in your way of finding the answers Lucia has been seeking all her life.

And, uh, make some money along the way to pay for, well, everything else.

Kinda important too.


And with that, hope you enjoy the demo!

See you space cowfolks...

Thank you for playing!

Oh no! Hope you got to play a lot of it! And an Android port is not something we are working on at the moment but it's something we can look into going forward!

The dialogue felt very naturalistic and conversational! Cool seeing all the different conversation variations (the Spongebob one was delightful haha).

Thank you for playing! Much appreciated

Thank you for playing!

Thank you so much!

<3

Thank you very much for the kind words Nia!

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PART 5: THE FINAL LOGO IS HERE!

Hey folks! Just wanted to give you all an update that after many iterations, the final logo design for Bitter Silver is here! 


The logo was designed by a very talented graphic designer/artist, Elaine Chung, who did a tremendous job and I highly recommend if you can afford someone to design your logo.

She is a great collaborator and will also be working on the Steam Capsule art/key art for Bitter Silver. 

I think she was really able to capture the space western feel with this logo and give people a sense of both western and sci-fi after we spent many iterations working on logos that felt maybe a bit too sci-fi and some that felt a bit too traditionally western. 

We definitely took inspiration from Cowboy Bebop's classic logo as well as at the logos for many other western video games and sci-fi video games and media. Since there really aren't any space western game logos out there for inspiration, ultimately a blending of sci-fi and western feels is what was ultimately decided on. 

I look forward to sharing with you all the final key art design in the coming weeks.

So, until next time...




Loved the art style, music, and the fragmented storytelling worked in harmony with the point and click nature of the game as you go from screen to screen. I found it remarkably realistic in its writing and portrayals of  a toxic, emotionally abusive relationship as well. Only issue I had was getting stuck occasionally and not knowing where/what to click but that's acceptable for a game made in a short period of time. The ending paid off what was setup and made it all come together.

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PART 4: NAME CHANGE! (AKA WHY YOU SHOULD CONSULT GOOGLE/AN IP LAWYER)

So... here's the first real dev update to share with you all. The new name for my space western game is now...

Why you may ask?

Well... it's because I discovered a board game. This board game.

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/249275/silver-river


(This game seems really cool by the way. Go check it out if you like tabletop games.)

So, uh, whoops! Big whoops actually! I completely and stupidly did not search for any board games that have "Silver River" or a very, very close title. 

I only searched video games and other entertainment products, thinking, "Well, there's no games called Silver River so I'm good!"

But then, after having a conversation with someone who incidentally brought up a board game called The Silver River which I had not discovered, I soon consulted an IP lawyer who very thoroughly explained the possible brand/trademark confusion. 

And so after coming up with a list of 50 possible replacement names, whittling it down to 3, and asking some close friends...

BITTER SILVER just stuck. 

So going forward, Bitter Silver is the name.

Get it stuck inside your head as much as I have now.

So, until next time...


(4 edits)

"I'm not making this to die, I'm making this to find out if people who like space westerns are really alive," - Spike Spiegel, probably.

(See the next entry for an update on the game's title.)


(This is a logo mockup using the ITC Cheltenham Std font and an image of the visible universe taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The final logo is being worked on currently.)

PART 1: WHERE ARE ALL THE SPACE WESTERN GAMES?


(No but seriously, where are they?!)

My name is Rob Pigott. I'm a twenty eight year old queer, nonbinary writer, filmmaker, and now game developer.

When I finished Cowboy Bebop for the first time in 2020 (a long time coming, I know), I said to myself, "This is incredible. I want more of this. How do I find it?" 

So I did some Googling and quickly realized there were two Cowboy Bebop video games, one released in the late 90s that is a bizarre take on the SNES Star Fox game and the other is a mid-2000s beat 'em up, action adventure game with a pretty decent Bebop story.  Both were only released in Japan (as the 2005 game's localization to English was cancelled due to publisher issues) and both can only be played legally by importing copies so I watched gameplay footage on YouTube.

That got me looking for other space western games and dear reader, I'm sorry to say that I only found 1 (yes, 1) space western VN in my research; Stellar Renegades, a space western otome VN that had a publicly released free demo and then shifted to a Patreon only release currently: https://misszaius.itch.io/stellar-renegades

Other than that, I've found no other AAA, mid-budget, or indie games that are trying to deliver that space western, Cowboy Bebop-esque experience. (If you know of any, feel free to post a reply with a link.) 

Now, there's plenty of Western games (the Red Dead series, G.U.N., the Call of Juarez and Desperados series, the Borderlands series, Weird West, the Oregon Trail series). There's plenty of sci-fi games (the Mass Effect series, Steins;Gate, FTL, 4x games like Stellaris, the Borderlands series again, Beyond Good & Evil, every Star Wars and Star Trek game, Battletech, Star Citizen, Guardians of the Galaxy).

But can you name an actual, honest-to-god, space western game that's come out in the past 5 years? The past 10? The past 15?

There's been some cancelled Star Wars titles that seemed close to being space westerns but in terms of released games, I don't think most people can.

I'm not sure why that is. Are publishers and/or developers just not thinking about making a game like that? Is the impact of Cowboy Bebop/Firefly/other space westerns on pop culture too niche for them to think there isn't an audience out there for a space western game? Does market research and statistics back up the fact that only certain types of sci-fi games sell these days? 

It could be all or none of these things but at the end of the day, I believe there is a sizeable audience of space western fans not being served.

Thus (after repurposing an original half hour animated pilot), Silver River was born.

PART 2: SO WHAT IS SILVER RIVER ABOUT AND WHO DO YOU PLAY AS?


(The title of the game comes from the English translation of the Chinese name for The Milky Way Galaxy, 銀河)

If I had to summarize the elevator pitch for Silver River it would be as follows:

"Desperate for answers to a secret plaguing their leader's life, a misfit crew of bounty hunters track three targets that lead them down the path to a shocking revelation."

You play as Lucia Lopez, a thirty-something, bisexual Afro-Latina cisgender bounty hunter, imagined as a cross between Spike Spiegel and Zoe Alleyne Washburne. She is the ostensible leader of a trio of bounty hunters. All three bonded together through their experiences of being ex-military.

Lucia is a woman with a sense of humor and tiredness that helps her deal with her complicated and traumatic past and she's been spending more than a decade trying to get answers to a secret about her existence only she and a few others know about it...



(Concept art for the main character of Silver River and the playable protagonist, Lucia Lopez, by my character artist Francisco Santoyo)

Joining Lucia is Zap Matters, a thirty-something, pansexual, nonbinary half human of Vietnamese descent, half Gresemer  (Gresemers being one of the four ruling species of the Milky Way's central governing body, The UCDS  AKA The United Coalition of Democratic Systems). Zap is the pilot of the Athena, the ship the bounty hunters travel through the galaxy on. They are loyal, determined, sarcastic, and playful around their fellow bounty hunters and a fierce, intimidating presence towards their enemies.

Zap is also the product of one of a handful of government "experiments" that involved breeding different galactic species together as "peace offerings" between the various races during first contact. Although Zap looks like they're only in their 30s, they are actually more than 167 years old at the time of the events of Silver River due to the relatively long life spans of Gresemers. They inherited their eyes from their "father" and their hair from their "mother."

Zap ended up serving in the military to escape their controlled, calculated life and break away from a Gresemer society codified in intense social hierarchy based on class and gender. They and Lucia quickly bonded over a mutual love for military strategy, having fucked up parents, and cranberry juice.


(Concept art for Zap Matters by my character artist Francisco Santoyo)

Rounding out the trio  is Hobbes, a robotic Tabby cat with a brain that carries the consciousness of their pretentious, intelligent, and dry-witted human creator. Hobbes looks like an ordinary cat from the outside but contains experimental technology within that allows his eyes to be all-in-one scanners, holocomputers, and wireless hacking devices. Outside of his day to day duties, he loves playing hologames, enjoying the fun, trashy space opera The Galactic Gunslingers, and a refreshing glass of pink milk.

Hobbes met Lucia and Zap while the two were starting out as bounty hunters together after serving in the UCDS and falling in love. Landing on a war torn planet that had been recently been caught in the crossfire of bombardment between the UCDS and a splinter terrorist group, Lucia and Zap first thought they had found an abandoned cat. Instead they quickly discovered Hobbes was very much not. 

After his family was killed during an orbital bombardment and severely injured after being left alone with only himself and his cat as survivors, Hobbes transferred his consciousness to his pet creation in order to save his life and escape the choice of having to fight and kill to survive. Lucia and Zap brought him aboard to the Athena not just out of pity. After he skillfully disables their weapons, Lucia and Zap manage to recruit him into their group as the techie of their team as neither are as tech capable as they want to be.

Hobbes quickly develops a competitive streak with Zap as the two have differing views on certain topics but still manage to work together as both need the other in order to make money and survive as bounty hunters. 

PART 3: WHAT DO YOU DO IN SILVER RIVER?


(A mockup screenshot of Zap on the bridge of the Athena created by my BG artist Erin Rodriguez and character artist Francisco Santoyo)

Silver River is a mature, narrative driven VN inspired by not just Cowboy Bebop but also Mass Effect, Aeon Flux, and of course, Star Wars and Star Trek (you'd be hard pressed to find any sci-fi media not inspired by either).

It deals with themes of control, PTSD, and the meaning of death, all wrapped up in a fun, cool space western package.

Over the course of the game, you will be able to decide how you want to define Lucia Lopez as a bounty hunter, making a combination of flavor choices that affect Lucia's personality and style to "moral" choices that decide how Lucia and her crew handle bringing in their bounties (dead or alive or a combo of both as it is in any western/space western). 

I want to make sure that players feel like no matter what choice they make, their decisions feel valid and not feel hamstrung by a morality meter or anything like that.

Of course, depending on what choices you DO make, the story will branch and there will be different outcomes/consequences of your actions. (For example, if you want to use violence, expect for violence to be used against you in turn.)

There is only 1 ending for Silver River with slight variations of added flavor depending on your actions over the course of the game.

Silver River is also not a dating simulator so unfortunately you cannot date any sexy humans or aliens (but Lucia and Zap certainly are in a loving relationship and I'm considering a possible dating spinoff in the universe one day).

PART 4: WHAT IS SILVER RIVER'S STATUS AND RELEASE DATE?

Silver River has a targeted release date of Q4 2022 on PC and Mac (and hopefully on Switch in the future) on Steam and Itch.

A free demo containing an original story that introduces the characters, world, and the Athena has a planned release date of Summer 2022 for PC and Mac on Steam and Itch.

Currently, a full playable prototype with the entire script and placeholder art assets has been completed. The art team is drafting up concepts for Hobbes and the rest of the characters/world and discussions are being had for a suitably space western score and UI design.

This is a story that from the beginning I meant for to only be told through the medium of games. It is being made by a diverse team of artists from around North America and on behalf of Lookout Drive Games, we can't wait to share more with you all in the coming months.

Stay tuned to this space and links to official social media channels and a Steam/Itch page in the coming weeks and months.


Until then...