Home Gaming ID@Xbox’s Below isn’t meant to be explained

ID@Xbox’s Below isn’t meant to be explained

2 min read
31

GC below

ID@Xbox isn’t just an awful name – it’s Microsoft’s attempt at helping indies get the support and exposure they need to be successful. In fact, unlike the other indies that Geoff and I had to go visit at the megabooth, I actually ended up with an appointment to see more about Below – already proof that ID@Xbox is worthwhile for this indie.

Below is played without any text, dialogue or explanation. While it has certain rogue-like elements, the developers were careful to point out that there is a beginning and an end with multiple paths in the middle. Players work through a chronology of lives – paths that you unlock, shortcuts and even quick travel stay with you as you die and try again. Each level is procedurally generated with some set moments or areas within the randomness. This enables players to work towards specific goals, find the corpses of dead travelers (previous attempts) for items and progress through the story.

The game is slower-paced and more about exploration than most rogue-like games. The intro is designed to be rather slow to ensure that players know this isn’t a hack and slash game; if you go in swinging you will probably die. When hit, players begin to bleed. Just like in real life, if characters bleed for long enough they will eventually die. However, if you find a fire while bleeding, you can actually stick your sword in the flames and cauterize your wounds – this doesn’t heal you, but it does stop the bleeding. Players can also craft items or consume meat; without explanations, it’s up to trial and error to find out what each craft potion or type of meat actually does.

There are environmental clues throughout that guide players towards understanding the story, but nothing is clearly stated or laid out. The developers are interested in hearing how people interpret the story and if it aligns with their intentions. They are also excited for the game to be released to watch the YouTube guides and speed runs.

Below certainly looks like a unique and pretty indie. While I prefer some more explicit story lines, it’s nice to see this approach to the rogue-like/rogue-lite genre. Here is their new trailer:

While I’m glad to see games like this getting support from Xbox, I’m curious how well it will do on the platform. Will Xbox owners be picking up indie games, or will it fare far better when it releases on Steam? ID@Xbox has helped with exposure at least – now we’ll just need to see if that exposure translates into success.

Last Updated: August 18, 2014

31 Comments

  1. Pieter Kruger

    August 18, 2014 at 09:16

    “ID at Xbox” “ID at Xbox” “ID at Xbox” Nope, must say an easy to remember self explanatory name if I my say so…..not sure why it’s so terrible?

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      August 18, 2014 at 09:17

      Rubbish. You know ๐Ÿ˜›

      Reply

      • Pieter Kruger

        August 18, 2014 at 09:20

        Also, it seems to refer to “Indie Developers at Xbox” which also seems to be self explanatory….AWFUL I say, AWFUL! ????

        Reply

        • Her Highness the Hipster

          August 18, 2014 at 09:22

          yes, i know how it’s supposed to be pronounced and what the intention is. unfortunately, my eyes read it as “idiot xbox” every time until i correct it ๐Ÿ˜›

          Reply

          • Hammersteyn

            August 18, 2014 at 09:26

            Everyone does, it’s how the human brain works. I can type “Cna Yuo Raed Tihs” and you can because your brain can shape the word if the first and last letter isn’t scrambled.

            Now that’s probably why ID@Xbox makes us think of “idiot xbox” or just “idiotbox”

          • Kensei Seraph

            August 18, 2014 at 09:44

            The last letter of ‘can’ and ‘you’ are scrambled but I can still read it perfectly.
            I blame the people who constantly mistype ‘the’ as ‘teh’.

          • Hammersteyn

            August 18, 2014 at 10:04

            Oh right, maybe it’s if the words are longer than three characters. I can’t remember where I tread it.

          • Pieter Kruger

            August 18, 2014 at 10:05

            LOL! Nice xeample there….

          • Hammersteyn

            August 18, 2014 at 10:36

            ๐Ÿ˜€

          • Kensei Seraph

            August 18, 2014 at 10:15

            I remember seeing an add or something on Discovery a few years back about it.
            Both myself and my sister could read it fine but my brother couldn’t.

          • Pieter Kruger

            August 18, 2014 at 09:28

            Poor MS, hard to compete with negative preformed perceptions….????

        • Kensei Seraph

          August 18, 2014 at 09:42

          So that’s what it stands for.

          Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      August 18, 2014 at 09:27

      I thought it was an incomplete email address at first.

      Reply

      • FoxOneZA

        August 18, 2014 at 09:33

        It’s a tweeter handle, no?

        Reply

        • Pieter Kruger

          August 18, 2014 at 09:35

          NO! That’d be @ID@xbox….wait….?

          Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          August 18, 2014 at 09:36

          Where’s the #?

          Reply

          • Pieter Kruger

            August 18, 2014 at 09:37

            #@ID@xbox.com.co.za

          • Hammersteyn

            August 18, 2014 at 10:03

            There you go. No one can miss read that.

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        August 18, 2014 at 09:40

        IDIOT@XBOX.com (Clearly this is Phil Spencer’s email address?) By the way, have you noticed that Phil is now just like Don Mattrick? It’s like the jacket corrupts all! Or… MS execs are all cut from the same dick cloth.

        Reply

    • FoxOneZA

      August 18, 2014 at 09:32

      The press says it’s a horrible name so “Deal With It!”

      Reply

  2. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    August 18, 2014 at 09:35

    lol IDIOT BOX! What an unfortunate tag.

    Reply

  3. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    August 18, 2014 at 09:39

    Kinect is still starring into my soul, and it’s just as freaky as day One. When is the Gamescom COD boner advertising supposed to end?

    Reply

    • Pieter Kruger

      August 18, 2014 at 09:46

      When broke ass Sony decides to put up some moolah! ????

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        August 18, 2014 at 09:53

        When you’re the top dog, you don’t need to pay the peasants to love you. You earn their respect from being awesome!

        Reply

        • Pieter Kruger

          August 18, 2014 at 09:55

          You know how much Sony spent on advertising the Poniestation??!

          Reply

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            August 18, 2014 at 09:57

            A mere fraction of what the boner spent on boning xboners.

          • Pieter Kruger

            August 18, 2014 at 10:04

            You are wrong unfortunately, Sony outspent MS by almost double just on TV advertisements the first half of the year! No wonder they’re broke! Also, signing out and up voting yourself?

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            August 18, 2014 at 10:23

            Citation needed!

  4. Kensei Seraph

    August 18, 2014 at 09:40

    It sounds pretty interesting and I look forward to seeing it on Steam.

    Reply

    • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

      August 18, 2014 at 09:41

      Same, I’ll check it out next year during the summer sale on Steam. Mmmm that one dollah sale!

      Reply

      • Kensei Seraph

        August 18, 2014 at 09:45

        I was thinking more along the lines of a potential week 1 purchase.
        You know when it has that 20% off sign.

        Reply

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