Ed Key and David Kanaga
Based in Cambridge, UK and Oakland, California
30 January, 2013
DescriptionProteus is a game about exploration and immersion in a dream-like island world where the soundtrack to your play is created by your surroundings. Presented and controlled like a classic first-person shooter, the primary means of interaction is simply your presence in the world. The procedurally generated islands are home to creatures natural and imagined, tranquil valleys and ruins with magical properties. Think Doom meets Brian Eno.
- Meditative play: the responsive world and lack of any text or hints distils an essence of curious, investigative play, and rewards patience and immersion.
- Dynamic soundtrack composed by award-winning musician David Kanaga follows the mood of the world and will appeal to fans of Boards of Canada, Brian Eno.
- A distinctive 2D-but-3D graphical style with wild shifting palettes that sits somewhere between 8-bit videogames and early 20th century modernist painting.
- Islands are uniquely generated every time, and although it's theoretically possible to see everything in one playthrough, no-one ever does.
- Built-in "postcard" function encodes world data into each screenshot, allowing islands and discoveries to be saved and shared.
Ed began work on Proteus in his spare time in late 2009 as one of several experiments at creating a game to capture the feeling of freedom and wandering. The game was heading towards being some sort of open-world RPG but development in this fairly generic direction was already losing focus. Talking to David in early 2010 about music quickly bloomed into a conversation about something where music was a core part of the design: the world would sing to you and give a sense of performing the landscape.Early Development and Response
We first started showing the project to people in 2011 and were almost surprised to find that the idea actually worked. Over the year it was refined further, still as a spare-time project, keeping things simple. We took it to Indiecade in October 2011 where we came away with the award for best Audio.Beta
We released a Beta version of Proteus in February 2012 just before taking it to GDC as a finalist for the IGF's Nuovo award. Over the past few months we've been gradually adding new music, creatures and locations, the "postcard" system (see "Features") and filling out the overall arc of the game with a couple of dramatic new systems and effects. We were one of the final few games accepted onto Steam before the introduction of Greenlight.
Awards & Recognition
- "Indiecade 2011 - Winner: Audio" Los Angeles, 6 October, 2011
- "A MAZE Indie Connect - Winner: "Most Amazing Game"" Berlin, 26-27 April, 2012
- "Independent Games Festival 2012 - Finalist: Nuovo Award" San Franciso, 4 December, 2012
- "GameCity 2012 - Shortlist, GameCity Prize" Nottingham, UK, 23-28 October, 2012
- "MoMA - Selected for MoMA Studio's "Common Senses" exhibition" New York, 24 September - 19 November, 2012
- "Lunarcade Shanghai 2011 - Official Selection" Shanghai, 2-4 December, 2011
Selected Quotes & Articles
- "It’s a wonderful game about exploring and understanding. Not much is explained, and not much happens, but the style works amazingly well, and it’s full of atmosphere and personality. It’s affected how I do game design from now on. Using small tools to convey big messages that might not even be there is a wonderful thing."
- Markus Persson (Creator, Minecraft)
- "If you enjoy meditative interactive experiences and haven’t yet played Proteus, you should seek this game out as fast as you can."
- Richard Lemarchand (Lead Designer, Uncharted series)
- "It is pure poetry."
- Eric Chahi (Creator, Another World, From Dust)
- "Playing Proteus filled me with a sense of smallness, reverence, and wonder."
- Max Temkin, Giant Bomb
- "What surprised me most about Proteus was I found myself going back to it over and over. There’s something delightfully intoxicating about it."
- Rick Lane, IGN
- "This is a world that feels alive, and it feels as though you’re a part of it.... It’s enough to just wander, and have the world sing to you."
- Phill Cameron, Eurogamer
- "Proteus blends the natural and the mystical in intoxicating fashion. ... You definitely will want to explore Proteus’s island – trust us on that."
- Staff, Edge
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About Ed Key and David Kanaga
More information is available here.
Composer, Audio Designer