Hidetaka Suehiro, aka the artist known as Swery, is back and ready to get weird. Today at PAX West, he let the cat out of the bag about his new game, The Good Life. His studio White Owls is running a campaign to rustle up $1.5 million on the crowdfunding and publishing platform Fig.
Suehiro is known for games like the surreal cult favorite Deadly Premonition. Earlier this year, he said that his next title would be “perverted, violent, and crazy,” as Eurogamer reported. So of course The Good Life is about the sleepy English hamlet of Rainy Woods where the townsfolk transform into cats at night.
“I want to make this game something that core fans will enjoy, of course, but also something that can be enjoyed by people who’ve never played my games before,” said Suehiro in an email. “There’s one thing I want to be clear about, though: This game is not ‘for kids,’ even though it does feature cute cats.”
Despite the adorable night life, The Good Life is a murder mystery. You’ll play as Naomi, a photographer who’s working to pay off her debt and stumbles across a dead body.
“I’ve created several mysteries over the course of my career and I’ve taken inspiration from English authors like Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Dickens, Joyce, HG Wells, Bernard Shaw, Thomas Hardy, Thackeray,” said Suehiro of his inspiration.
Though the murder mystery is the lynchpin, players will be able to decide how they want to spend their time. Naomi can take up odd jobs, hunt mice and bugs as a cat, and get to know her neighbors. Like other simulator games — such as Stardew Valley — the townspeople exist under the guise of their own complex lives and run on their own schedules.
“You can play it how you want regarding paying off debt, but you will want to dive into the murder mystery,” said Suehiro. “It is too juicy to miss! Paying off debt is not as laborious as it sounds, trust me, we are making it fun, and it will feel like a Swery game!”
The Good Life is slated for a Q3 release in 2019 for PC and consoles. Because it’s raising funds on Fig, folks can back the project for rewards (such as a digital copy of the game) as well as invest.
Suehiro says that the decision to raise on Fig came from a conversation he had with them at BitSummit earlier this year, particularly because of their philosophy to give developers free rein when it comes to content and branding.
“They said, if we were to work together, they would want to deliver 100 percent of SWERY to the people,” said Suehiro. “The second thing they said was about judging games with their own eyes, and that told me that they’re really serious as a publisher about delivering quality to their consumers. It told me that they’re prepared to take responsibility for their work.”