Indie game developer and critical darling Mike Bithell has a
treat for patient fans of his Bafta Award-winning platformer Thomas
Was Alone — free DLC.
Although originally released for PC and Mac in 2012, when the
game was launched on PSN in April 2013, Bithell debuted Benjamin’s Flight alongside it, a cluster of levels
that serve as prequel to the main game.
However, with the latest update to the desktop versions, Bithell
has made the content available to all, and isn’t asking for a
penny. “I’ve been keeping desktop players waiting for this content
for too long, I thought it’d be cool to bring it out for everyone
on Steam!” Bithell told Wired.co.uk.
Thomas Was Alone sees players controlling a group of
self-aware artificial intelligences, represented as coloured
rectangles. Each boasts a different ability to aid the group as
they jump through minimalistic but hazard-filled environments on
their way to digital emancipation. The game was rightly lauded for
its brilliant platforming gameplay and its surprisingly emotional
story, as narrated by Danny Wallace. The Benjamin’s Flight
pack introduces the eponymous new hero who, perhaps unsurprisingly
given the title, has a jetpack.
Bithell’s next game is the futuristic Volume,
a retelling of the Robin Hood myth. Vlogger Charlie McDonnell voices
the main character, Locksley, while Wallace is also set to return.
“Volume is a stealth game, it’s deliberately targeting a
more niche audience than Thomas Was Alone did,” Bithell
says. “I’ll be shocked if it hits the same number of sales, but the
beauty of indie dev is that it doesn’t have to! It’s going to be
fun seeing how players like it.”
Besides the stealth gameplay, Volume will also allow
players to remix, expand and create their own levels. It’s an
ambitious leap for the developer and the small team he’s assembled
to work on the game, but Bithell is pleased with how it’s coming
along. “We just had a good demo at Radius, but there’s lots
to change and add based on feedback there,” he says. “The next big
milestone will be the playable demo at Eurogamer Expo, so we’ve all
got our heads down getting ready for that. Getting there.”
Thomas Was Alone is available in the current Steam sale
with Benjamin’s Flight included. Bithell was unable to
comment on whether the PSN version of the DLC will become free.
Volume is set for release in 2015.