Xing: The Land Beyond

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You step into a tropical forest. It is night and you hear the birds singing their nightly songs.

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You walk on and find a stone with the words:

Anora
Ever since I lost my love
I looked up to the sky above
Shining down I saw the light
Fading from the day to night.

You wonder what these words mean and you look up into the sky. Hmmm? Who would leave such a stone here in the middle of the forest and why? You decide to walk on.

Suddenly your path is crossed by a pendula. You walk up to the pendula and suddenly the wheel on this very weird device activates. While the wheel is turning, you see the sky turning bright. You just made it daytime! How is this possible? Birds change their songs and you take a deep breath and look around through the lush environment you are in. It is so beautiful here.

This is how Xing: The Land Beyond starts. Or at least the gameplay video that the people of White Lotus Interactive have placed on their Kickstarter campaign page.

Do you love adventure games in the style of Myst. Games with beautiful surroundings, a living breathing, breathtaking world with a hidden story and a lot of puzzles? Than XING: The Land Beyond, is something for you.

Xing, in development by indie studio White Lotus Interactive, is a game with mystery. Xing starts at the end. You are dead, your body has stayed behind, but your life in the world of Xing has just begun. The Land Beyond: Xing plays in the afterlife.

White Lotus Interactive is an independent game developer located in Orange, CA and founded in 2013 by John Torkington, Koriel Venus Kruer and James Steininger.

In early 2012, John Torkington and Koriel Kruer were introduced to game development in a college classroom. They didn’t know it, but a simple level design assignment would become the bedrock and concept for XING: The Land Beyond. They were asked by their professor to submit the project to the IEEE GameSig competition at Chapman University. With the deadline only a few weeks away, they set out to expand a single map layout into a full-fledged game. Many hours and frozen waffles later, they created the land of XING – four levels of atmospheric island goodness, and made it as one of the top ten finalists for the competition. They gave their presentation in front of a panel of industry professionals took second place in the competition. Knowing they could do better, Koriel and John decided to continue production into the summer and accelerate development.
James Steininger joined in the Fall of 2012, rounding out the team with his passion for games and general work ethic.

In your new journey you will come across a series of strange islands, with their own stories to unravel and giving you plenty of difficult and complex puzzles to solve. You can change the environment around you and perhaps find other souls that will help you on your journey. The world of Xing is spiritually enchanted. The game has been inspired by games like the “Zelda series” because of the puzzles and interactivity with the game world as well as the lush environmental puzzle games “Myst” or “Dear Esther”.

There is no dialog, only stones with cryptical and mystical inscriptions and strange objects that can be interacted with. There is neither any form of combat, just puzzles for your brain and objects to interact with. Immerse yourself with your environment and become one with it to understand what is going on in this world. You will be able to change night to day and vice versa or switch the weather to your comfort.

Xing is true eyecandy, because of the beautifully designed environments, run through the Unreal 3 Engine. The music is inspirational and is always changing.

The team consists out of three very dedicated people that work well together in the team to create the best experience.
Puzzles have to be challenging and environments need to be enchanting and beautiful. Everything you see in the game is there for a reason, whether that is for the sheer eyecandy or whether it has actual functionality to help you move on in the afterlife in search for answers, is for you to figure out.

The Kickstarter campaign started on the 25th of February 2013 and made very quickly already the initial target of 15.000 USD. With nine days left on the clock and a current amount of about 18.000 USD, it is now time to make the stretch goals which will give the player more to play around with and add more functionality such as the support of the Occulus Rift (VR device that was Kickstarted).

– The first tier is at 20.000 with a new rainforest added to the game, which I am almost sure about that they will make.
– At 23.000 a physical reward for the backers will be added, a printed map of the world
– At 25.000 they will support the soon to come Occulus Rift, so you can see this game as if you are standing inside of it.
– At 30.000 a new environment will be added called 100 Island lake
– And at 35.000 a new environment will be added called Icescape
Further stretch goals are made hidden.

I really hope they will at least make the 20.000 but to be honest I wish them every dollar towards the 35.000 and beyond. This game looks very promising. I like the Kickstarter game projects where indies do not ask for more money than that they would need to produce the game. When Kickstarter projects ask 275.000 dollars or more from their backers, I start to wonder whether they charge the community for their next years salary. This game has an initial 15.000 USD for producing the basic game form and that is fantastic. Way to go White Lotus Interactive and let’s hope you make the 35.000 or more!

So, what do you think of this game? Interesting enough to pledge for a few dollars? I sure will!

Game on

Steven

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