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KickStarter STASIS 2: BONE TOTEM - new isometric adventure in Stasis universe set in deep sea installation

RaggleFraggle

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Mar 23, 2022
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This game has a great atmosphere. Perfect example that new original IPs are totally worth investing in.
 

HoboForEternity

sunset tequila
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Mar 27, 2016
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9,225
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Disco Elysium
Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag.
I dunno why the bloated corpses in the sub disturb me so much. There are worse depictions of death in this game but it made me actually nauseous.

Maybe it triggered actual trauma because when i was 12 i witnessed a toddler drowning in a crowded pool and they pulled him out completely white and blue (not bloated ofc that come much later but i guess there is trigger by association)
 

mediocrepoet

Philosoraptor in Residence
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Combatfag: Gold box / Pathfinder
Codex 2012 Codex+ Now Streaming! MCA Project: Eternity Divinity: Original Sin 2
I dunno why the bloated corpses in the sub disturb me so much. There are worse depictions of death in this game but it made me actually nauseous.

Maybe it triggered actual trauma because when i was 12 i witnessed a toddler drowning in a crowded pool and they pulled him out completely white and blue (not bloated ofc that come much later but i guess there is trigger by association)
I think that'd do it. Yeah.
Real memories and trauma being activated whether you're aware of it in the moment or not.
 

Pyke

The Brotherhood
Developer
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
1,198
Location
South Africa
Just finished it, at 24 hrs b/c I'm slow. Really enjoyed it, will give some constructive criticism when I've had a chance to process it more. A few questions:

Why did the MULE have those giant stones with Soviet iconography on them? The stones appear to be the Xaar's calendar, it makes no sense for there to be soviet art on them unless it was made "recently" by the troglodytes under Bayan's Russian Orthodox influence

Why does veles DNA/RNA in the form of microbes cause the melting of some people, like we see in the decontamination lab, and for others it doesn't?

Are all the Xaar's heads so distended because they have parasites in them? Early photos from DS15 show X-ray like images with parasites roughly the size of the holes in the distended skulls, implying the parasites crawled out. Yet, we see later in the troglodytes that they all have the same skull type, and they're alive and apparently don't have the full parasitic form that, say, Charlie has.

I believe one of the lab results indicated that the Xaal have architecture and/or DNA is from ~1600 AD, but also 2000 BC. Is the ~1600 AD from the old galleon we find outside Alpha lab?

The giant waterwheels crushed bones to *remove* all parasites and veles from them, right? Why then do the troglodytes seem to revere Charlie for having her infection? In general, the waterwheels / crushed bones spoke of a desire to purify dead bodies of a thing that the troglodytes themselves seem to hold in high regard. What's up with that?

With the hindsight of the end-game, what happened aboard DS15 is more confusing. What is PS139, beyond a recovered Xaar with microbe isolates related to the Veles? Was it the crazy botanist's mixing of PS139 isolate w/ MDMA that caused all the ritualistic killings aboard DS15? Why weren't people on DS15 melted/digested and reformed due to their microbe exposure likes those we see in Omega lab?

and finally..

Related to Q6, was this game developed in two parts? The DS15 and MULE + Omega section feels like one game's tone, while everything Alpha base and after the Blister feels like another tone. I don't dislike it, and it was a great experience that kept coming, but I noticed that some of the DS15 art and puzzles screens were lower resolution, like they had been developed earlier.

Was there two different concepts that got welded? Even if not, I'm curious about earlier drafts of the story.

Fingers crossed, hope this gets optioned by a studio looking to branch-out into Alien-likes. Great job Pyke & co!

OK! Here ya go - just gonna put it all in one big post cos I'm lazy:

Why did the MULE have those giant stones with Soviet iconography on them? The stones appear to be the Xaar's calendar, it makes no sense for there to be soviet art on them unless it was made "recently" by the troglodytes under Bayan's Russian Orthodox influence

Those stones were made recently. The parts of the temple that were excavated were still part of the 'active' civilisation - so the captains influence was strong. There are some smaller instances of the Russian Orthodox Cross hidden in certain carvings around as well.

Why does veles DNA/RNA in the form of microbes cause the melting of some people, like we see in the decontamination lab, and for others it doesn't?

That was done with the scientists messing around with the substances. There is also some subtle hints at a slight 'occult' influence here (if you look at some of the images on the computers).
The voice of the flesh monster is also rife with religious sayings - 'creator, why have you forsaken me?'. It's an offshoot of the religious murmerings of the captain.
Originally the flesh creature itself was more demonic in design - but we thought that would be a little confusing. You can actually see his original design in the release trailer.

Are all the Xaar's heads so distended because they have parasites in them? Early photos from DS15 show X-ray like images with parasites roughly the size of the holes in the distended skulls, implying the parasites crawled out. Yet, we see later in the troglodytes that they all have the same skull type, and they're alive and apparently don't have the full parasitic form that, say, Charlie has.

It was from the parasite, and also from head binding techniques. Some would have parasites that would be benign, and others would have them burst out at death.

I believe one of the lab results indicated that the Xaal have architecture and/or DNA is from ~1600 AD, but also 2000 BC. Is the ~1600 AD from the old galleon we find outside Alpha lab?

Yes - In my head canon it was searching for lost treasure/gold, and had this location from ancient writings (ala, Atlantis). Although HOW they made contact... I'm legit not sure. Perhaps an idea for a prequel? :D

The giant waterwheels crushed bones to *remove* all parasites and veles from them, right? Why then do the troglodytes seem to revere Charlie for having her infection? In general, the waterwheels / crushed bones spoke of a desire to purify dead bodies of a thing that the troglodytes themselves seem to hold in high regard. What's up with that?

The bone mills were for one of the ways that the tribes managed to survive - bone marrow. The other way was that the parasites would grow inside a person, eat their way out - and then they would use the venom from the parasites to melt down the flesh of dead bodies and use that to eat as well.
They worshipped the parasites because they were essential to their way of life - they were the 'thing' that let them live. They needed mature parasites to continue their farming.
Plus, I just REALLY wanted giant waterwheels in a game I made! :D

With the hindsight of the end-game, what happened aboard DS15 is more confusing. What is PS139, beyond a recovered Xaar with microbe isolates related to the Veles? Was it the crazy botanist's mixing of PS139 isolate w/ MDMA that caused all the ritualistic killings aboard DS15? Why weren't people on DS15 melted/digested and reformed due to their microbe exposure likes those we see in Omega lab?

Most of the people on the DS15 got off the rig and onto the Sebastian. The melting and digesting (as see where Charlie gets kidnapped) was a much more 'cultured' process - it was more purposful. The Omega incident was as a result of 'science gone wrong'.
The flayed man on the DS15 was done as part of the same ritual that the tribes did to the bodies on the beach, and to the bodies in the final celebration.
From a story point of view, we also wanted a slow reveal to the horrors - I think having the DS15 be completely covered in melted bodies would have made some of the later reveals less impactful.
I also think that Mac would have been a little more adamant of them not going on if they ran into Omega level horrors on the DS15. :D

Related to Q6, was this game developed in two parts? The DS15 and MULE + Omega section feels like one game's tone, while everything Alpha base and after the Blister feels like another tone. I don't dislike it, and it was a great experience that kept coming, but I noticed that some of the DS15 art and puzzles screens were lower resolution, like they had been developed earlier.

Was there two different concepts that got welded? Even if not, I'm curious about earlier drafts of the story.


The DS15 stuff was done super early on in production. I think we did the entirety of Chapter 1 in like 6 - 8 weeks. But the rest was done in different orders. I don't really like doing art for a game linearly, cos if I can mix it up I find its much more 'cohesive'.
There IS a definite tone shift that happens about halfway through, and that is purposful. I really wanted to keep people guessing as to where the story was going.
We had 4 separate 'biomes' of the game:

The Deepsea 15,
The Mule,
The Temple,
The Lima.

For each of these I had different rules and setups for how the art would work, and even how the puzzles would work. It was very much an experiment in storytelling. I'm not sure if I'd lay out another story in the same way again, because it's legitimately exhausting to have such different artsets to work with, and still make them feel like they work together!

The VERY first draft was MUCH more temple focused - with 2 of the characters already inside the temple from the get go. This was before I even thought of it being a Stasis story. But the second draft was much closer to the final.

The only major difference from the second story draft to the final:

It wasnt underwater, it was an inland cave system with an underwater lake.
The galleon didnt exist (because it was a lake).
The Moses UAV parts didnt exist (although there was a radio controlled rover).
Moses was the one who went on the 'ocean floor' (then a lake bed) in my first drafts - although he was much more humanoid.
The 'Hope clone' plot point appeared much later in the story - almost right at the end.
There was more that happened inside the 'active' temple part.

But otherwise, the story and layout itself is pretty damned close to the first original outlines. It was a smaller game - but parts of it grew as we tried to ensure that each character had their own unique adventure path. Honestly it's almost 3 games in 1 - and because of that I can see how it could feel disjointed!
 

lycanwarrior

Scholar
Joined
Jan 1, 2021
Messages
1,277
This game has a great atmosphere. Perfect example that new original IPs are totally worth investing in.
Getting close to the end.

When people complain about gaming being too samey, soulless, cynical, etc...

Games like this are why I remind myself that I still love this hobby.
 

RaggleFraggle

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Mar 23, 2022
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1,089
This game has a great atmosphere. Perfect example that new original IPs are totally worth investing in.
Getting close to the end.

When people complain about gaming being too samey, soulless, cynical, etc...

Games like this are why I remind myself that I still love this hobby.
Video games are a competitive market. If your game is good, then you’ll likely find success. Corpos may be screwed up, but indie flourishes.

Tabletop games? That market is so much worse.
 

Pyke

The Brotherhood
Developer
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
1,198
Location
South Africa
This game has a great atmosphere. Perfect example that new original IPs are totally worth investing in.
Getting close to the end.

When people complain about gaming being too samey, soulless, cynical, etc...

Games like this are why I remind myself that I still love this hobby.
Wow. What a nice compliment. Thanks so much!
 

Pyke

The Brotherhood
Developer
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South Africa
Without hitting in the exact numbers - sales are matching pretty much 1:1 with the original Stasis, which is a good thing.

I think that we will probably pick up a lot of numbers on the sales - our games tend to drop off after release quite rapidly, and then spike very high during sales. They also sell for years. Stasis still sells a copy or 2 a day, and thats almost a decade later. :D

We are also doing our Epic Store release - which has a surprising amount of Wishlists, despite us not really pushing it at all. And then there is the future console versions, which we expect to do quite well.

We know that we are a niche (horror) within a niche (adventure games) - so while I'm always hopeful for the massive life changing hit - we are realistic about how much money our games will generate! But - I'm not homeless yet. :D
 

Pyke

The Brotherhood
Developer
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Nov 29, 2011
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South Africa
If we do do a physical release - it would probably be with an external distributer. It's just too damned expensive to ship outside of South Africa!
 

RaggleFraggle

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I find it hard to believe horror is a “niche” when there are so many horror games constantly releasing and being covered on youtube. It looks like an extremely diverse market.
 

Pyke

The Brotherhood
Developer
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Nov 29, 2011
Messages
1,198
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South Africa
The niche genre is more 'horror point and click'.
I dont think that someone who plays Silent Hill or Dead Space is nessesarily someone who will play our games - and point and click players tend to have very specific types of PNC games they prefer to play.

Our market isnt horror players who play point and click games - its point and click players who like horror.
 

RaggleFraggle

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The niche genre is more 'horror point and click'.
I dont think that someone who plays Silent Hill or Dead Space is nessesarily someone who will play our games - and point and click players tend to have very specific types of PNC games they prefer to play.

Our market isnt horror players who play point and click games - its point and click players who like horror.
I see.

I like adventure games and I think they’re better at lingering horror than all these jump scare wannabe FPSes. I’m sick of running away from monsters to hide in closets, so being able to skip that time-wasting bullshit is quite welcome.

Remember Scorn? I just wanted to enjoy the art but it threw in all these annoying monsters just because video games are expected to have combat even it doesn’t suit the atmosphere. [insert gif where bearded Kevin Sorbo yells “Disappointed!”]

So thank you for providing these experiences.
 

lightbane

Arcane
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
10,253
Now that I finished the game, some musings:

The submarine and the temple sections feel like they were part of a separate game, which is kinda more or less what happened as they were made separately from the rest of the game.
I don't get why Moses could hear strange whisperings and laughs in the MULE laboratory. Or hell, even in the oil platform IIRC. What was that supposed to be? Early signs of infection? Can he be infected since he's a cyborg? One easy to miss comment from Moses is that he has one biological CPU kind of like the Lumen. Also, doesn't CAYNE use regular digital AI? What's the big deal with the Lumen and why are they so important?
I liked that the description stated that Lumen invariably become malicious.
Why was the one you find ingame abandoned though if they are so important? As a punishment for the fuck-up with the breach?
Lastly, those that are infected with the spores... Do they eventually mutate horribly, or only those with direct contact with the parasites? Speaking of: What was the deal with the giant brain you find that has a large parasite inside? Supposedly the parasite creature was born and produced on purpose. Was it made to make the brain extra-big or something? Didn't they use a variant of the spore formula?
 

Allanon

Augur
Joined
Oct 11, 2005
Messages
249
Just finished it. Absolutely awesome game, congrats Pyke. The story, the characters, the atmosphere supported by art directions and great voice acting, all hit me the right way.
Except a puzzle or two that didn't make sense to me, it was smooth logical sailing.
Keep 'em coming.
 

CyberWhale

Arcane
Glory to Ukraine
Joined
Mar 26, 2013
Messages
6,100
Location
Fortress of Solitude
The niche genre is more 'horror point and click'.
I dont think that someone who plays Silent Hill or Dead Space is nessesarily someone who will play our games - and point and click players tend to have very specific types of PNC games they prefer to play.

Our market isnt horror players who play point and click games - its point and click players who like horror.
TBH, at some point in future I don't think having a 3rd person horror game ala Silent Hill (first trilogy) set in the Stasis universe would be such a bad idea.
 

Zarniwoop

TESTOSTERONIC As Fuck™
Patron
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
Messages
18,788
Shadorwun: Hong Kong
Liking it so far, although it seems a lot less horror-y and gruesome than the first Stasis.

Having multiple playable characters kind of takes away from the sense of desperation I guess. Especially when one is a fluffy teddy bear.

Bought the full directors cut special edition version of course, to support the BROs.
 

Pyke

The Brotherhood
Developer
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Nov 29, 2011
Messages
1,198
Location
South Africa
Now that I finished the game, some musings:

The submarine and the temple sections feel like they were part of a separate game, which is kinda more or less what happened as they were made separately from the rest of the game.
I don't get why Moses could hear strange whisperings and laughs in the MULE laboratory. Or hell, even in the oil platform IIRC. What was that supposed to be? Early signs of infection? Can he be infected since he's a cyborg? One easy to miss comment from Moses is that he has one biological CPU kind of like the Lumen. Also, doesn't CAYNE use regular digital AI? What's the big deal with the Lumen and why are they so important?
I liked that the description stated that Lumen invariably become malicious.
Why was the one you find ingame abandoned though if they are so important? As a punishment for the fuck-up with the breach?
Lastly, those that are infected with the spores... Do they eventually mutate horribly, or only those with direct contact with the parasites? Speaking of: What was the deal with the giant brain you find that has a large parasite inside? Supposedly the parasite creature was born and produced on purpose. Was it made to make the brain extra-big or something? Didn't they use a variant of the spore formula?

The submarine and the temple sections feel like they were part of a separate game, which is kinda more or less what happened as they were made separately from the rest of the game.

This was something that I struggled with from an art direction point of view. I really wanted each piece of the world technology - the Mule, the Lima, and the Temple to feel completely different from a design point of view. The idea was a 'this is what happens when worlds collide'. I think I was perhaps a little too successful here. :D

I don't get why Moses could hear strange whisperings and laughs in the MULE laboratory. Or hell, even in the oil platform IIRC. What was that supposed to be? Early signs of infection? Can he be infected since he's a cyborg? One easy to miss comment from Moses is that he has one biological CPU kind of like the Lumen. Also, doesn't CAYNE use regular digital AI? What's the big deal with the Lumen and why are they so important?

Those whispers actually come from Moses. :D
As for what the Numen are...
The Nexus - the afterlife - is a digital space. The Numen can travel and exist in the Nexus and in our world. So they act as a sort of bridge between the afterlife and the physical world. They are angels - messengers. At least, thats what they want us to believe.

Why was the one you find ingame abandoned though if they are so important? As a punishment for the fuck-up with the breach?

I do have an in-world explanation for that that I want to explore in a further game - but you're like... mostly right.

Lastly, those that are infected with the spores... Do they eventually mutate horribly, or only those with direct contact with the parasites?

The spores hatch into those insects that eventually burrow into the brain. If you survive, you're connected to the network of everyone who also has one - sharing thoughts an memories. Most don't survive (the naked guys in the dungeon, etc). This is how the captain managed to exert control over the tribe - and his strength of believe in a higher power 'seeped into' the minds of the tribe. I'd posit that it's because they had lost their belief in a higher power, believing that their gods had abandoned them.

Speaking of: What was the deal with the giant brain you find that has a large parasite inside? Supposedly the parasite creature was born and produced on purpose. Was it made to make the brain extra-big or something? Didn't they use a variant of the spore formula?

That was a sort of aberation from the experiments that the doctor was doing with his wifes mind. A sort of apparition of her thoughts, but given physical form. The brains themselves are always just that big - but that allowed the 'tumor' to grow inside. These brains are an advancement from the experiments that were being done in Cayne (where they cut that guys head off, but kept him alive). Plus - whenever there was an opportunity for some sort of cool wierd biotech, I jumped at it!
 

lightbane

Arcane
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Messages
10,253
This was something that I struggled with from an art direction point of view. I really wanted each piece of the world technology - the Mule, the Lima, and the Temple to feel completely different from a design point of view. The idea was a 'this is what happens when worlds collide'. I think I was perhaps a little too successful here. :
About that, why does Cayne use classic tech such as ancient computer screens and DVDs? The latter I can buy as you see modern versions of it. The gameplay explanation is to make puzzles more immersive, but I suspect Cayne are being cheapskates.

Also, can you tell me what exactly the QR Codes do? There were some I couldn't scan, sadly, such as the one corpse with a QR code obscured by a blue light, back in the MULE, when you have to repair the cyber-lungs with Moses.

As for the whispers, was Moses laughing too? I thought it was a callback to the first game's mysterious "may be ghosts" thing.

As for the Nexus, I found that the artbook has more info about it, which is a good reason to get it.
It also shows how the characters got progressively uglier as the final version came closer.

Regarding the Captain using the concept of an higher power to influence the tribe, it didn't seem to do much, as they used an hilariously high number of bones to do creepy stuff, more than what they should have, but I'll assume that's "horror logistics" and they don't make sense. That tribe was waay too evil for sure.

Lastly, regarding the tumor horror parasite thing, I thought it was intentionally created for... Reasons, seeing the old lady fed it with milk.
By the way, is there a way to find more info about the mysterious Baron guy that is mentioned from time to time? I hoped that he would have dropped a PDA explaining all of his evil plans, as they usually do, but no dice here.

We really need more games set in this universe. An isometric action game would do wonders.
 

Elthosian

Arcane
Joined
Mar 14, 2012
Messages
1,138
I only played the first STASIS and half of the free game, but I loved them. I don't think I'll have time to play this anytime soon but I bought on Steam all the same just to support the sales, and I am quite happy to see it's getting such nice feedback around here :salute:
 

Spukrian

Savant
Joined
May 28, 2016
Messages
700
Location
Lost Continent of Mu
I finished this last night. What a ride. Fantastic story, great worldbuilding. Moses is such a great character! I really liked the dialogue between Moses and Faran, it struck a chord with me.

About the ending though:
I feel it would've been more fitting if Charlie had sacrificed herself so that Mac could live.

I did get stuck a lot, most of the time because I wasn't paying enough attention. The puzzles all make sense.

I liked the ping system, but yeah, it's a lot to take in. Maybe only show interactable hotspots when pinging? I don't know...

Overall a game I enjoyed immensly. Even better than the earlier entries.
 

Be Kind Rewind

Educated
Zionist Agent
Joined
Mar 14, 2021
Messages
487
Location
Serbia
Finishing Stasis 2 felt like both finishing Sanitarium and having watched a good 90's summer blockbuster film. The film industry isn't interested in making this style of story anymore but despite not being overly reliant on cutscenes this game hit that same spot. It's as if someone dug up a script from a science fiction would-be classic that was just too expensive to film at the time and adapted it for an equally 90's isometric puzzle-horror game. The only bad thing I have to say about it is that the interaction hotspot system took over the game and instead of being focused on the jaw-dropping environments you were really walking around between these circles with lines guiding you to them. And also that the descriptions are at times redundant since the game is so graphically detailed.The best and most impressive part of the game was that every character had unique commentary on items and Moses always had the best things to say about them. Moses is brave and strong btw.

moses139e3h.png

moses23fc1u.png
 

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