Tangiers is a dark, surreal game: a love letter to the avant-garde of the 20th century. It’s set in a world built from the broken prose of Burroughs and the social dystopia brought about by Ballard’s architecture. It is inspired by the Dadaists’ play with the absurd and grotesque, by Throbbing Gristle’s way of teasing the edge of public decency with homemade video loops, by the dark, ambient textures of Oophoi and David Lynch, and the uncivilized, primitive dance of Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty. It is a world of solitude, where contradiction and paradox are found and reflected in violent strokes of light and shadow.
Tangiers is in many ways an homage to and an emulation of these sources of inspiration. It is a way to take hold of and explore the ideas, concepts and emotions that drove these artists’ expressions through a new medium: the video game. Our means is the method they share: of looking at a medium sideways (and upside-down, and inside-out), in order to challenge what’s expected of it and see what can be twisted, shifted, cut-up, broken, and reassembled to reveal the potential which lurks on its edges and in its darkened corners. But our perspective is not the coldness of post-modern rationality. We will remain conscious of and true to the heart of our medium: gameplay, and we will hold tight to that center throughout the process of creating the world of Tangiers.
Tangiers is a stealth game at its core, following and building upon many of the mechanics set up by the “Thief” series of games. You stalk through the shadowy fragments of an oppressive city, scattered across a dying, emotionally burnt landscape, avoiding the light and planning your infiltrations and assassinations by observing your foes’ public and private lives.
The world you’ve arrived in is falling apart, its reality is fracturing and shifting in strange ways. The words of its inhabitants materialize physically: a guard’s frustrations at being unable to find you can be gathered up and thrown down the street, sending him astray. The overheard words of an intimate, illicit conversation can be collected and used to unveil hidden pathways and otherwise unseen aspects of the world. This fragile reality presents itself as an adversary to you, for you are an outsider, a pathogen, and your interactions with it cause it to crumble further. Your play “cuts up” the world, which rebuilds itself in response to your impact, attempting to fix the error of your existence. As you travel through the sandbox-style environments of Tangiers, your inevitable mistakes will become embedded in future areas, creating a game that, subtly or not so subtly, is unique to you.
Tangiers is currently in development for Windows, Linux and Mac, with a projected release date in mid-2014.