Today, developer Playdead announced in a tweeted image that development for its next game is underway. Playdead crafted 2010's masterful Limbo [Gaming Nexus score: 9.5 out of 10], and 2016's even more masterful Inside [Gaming Nexus score: 9.8 out of 10]. The tweet states:
Thanks for your warm reception of INSIDE. Since release, Playdead founder Arnt Jensen and the team have been working on the next adventure.
This singular concept art for Playdead's next game (pictured below) depicts a pilot stranded on a snowy mountain ridge. They're dragging a parachute backpack, looking over their shoulder in the distance at some kind of aircraft going down in a meteoric blaze. This pilot is inadequately equipped for the rigors of mountain climbing, nor dressed for the freezing temperatures at that altitude. An oversized helmet, round and smooth, gives the character a big-headed childlike quality, which is appropriate for the developer's past protagonists. I have to admit: coming of age in a Playdead game is not a great proposition. The washed-out atmosphere is stuck in a starless dusk or dawn, it's hard to tell. The palette lifts directly from Playdead's now-signature color-drained scale.
This is concept art, not a screenshot. But their artists are skilled. I have no doubt that this lovely image may be reasonably close to whatever ends up being the finished product.
The image in and of itself feels tame. That is, unless you've ever played Limbo or Inside. If you have, then you're already getting a sense of inexplicable dread just looking at this one pic. Playdead is capable of some weird stuff. The team, led by Arnt Jensen, is two in a row for crafting wordless, artisanal purgatories.
I'm shuddering just thinking about what psychological hell is being crafted for this poor sap.
There were six years between Limbo and Inside. With that in mind, I'm doing my best to cool my jets. Playdead isn't in the business of pumping out a yearly franchise. And, if Limbo is any indication, then they'll be simultaneously working on porting Inside to mobile devices in the coming years. Which is great! If that can pay the bills while they're working on game #3, I'm all for a few years of posting news on Inside finally launching on this platform and that platform. It's one of the best indie games of last year, in what was a stunning year for indie games as a whole.
So: One image later, I'm looking forward to whatever Playdead has in store, and it'll be on my watch list from now until (quickly calculates six years from now) 2022 or whatever. It's entirely possible that timeline is crunched, but I'm okay with the wait, since Playdead is now under a big, hot, indie spotlight as we speak. Take your time, Playdead. We know you'll make the time count.