Oh, To the Moon! What a wonderfully touching exploration of human life, dressed up like simple Japanese role-playing game from '90s, that was. A few hours of game which will stay with me for years.
Now - finally - creator Kan Gao and his very small team at Freebird are ready to release the follow-up...
No, it's not To the Moon 2 really, as the trailer jokingly suggests, and no it doesn't have loot boxes and explosions and alien baddies. That was Kan Gao's cheeky little joke. The real game is Finding Paradise, and it's coming out 14th December on PC and Mac.
Narrative-driven sci-fi adventure To the Moon is getting a fully fledged sequel with Finding Paradise, due next summer on PC, Mac and Linux.
Like To the Moon before it, this adventure will star doctors Eva and Neil as they perform an operation instilling false happy memories to folks on their death bed.
"Finding Paradise is the second full episode of To the Moon's series. It follows the life of the doctors' new patient, Colin, as they attempt to unravel a life that is split down the middle, and fulfill a wish that appears to be self-contradictory by nature," developer Kan Gao said on the game's Steam page.
Interactive sci-fi drama To the Moon has received a second "minisode" fleshing out its cast in preparation for its true sequel, Finding Paradise.
This brief episode follows a Holiday Special chapter that came out on New Year's Eve and featured To the Moon protagonists Eva and Neil stuck at work amid protests against the company they work for - a place that gives people false memories, a little like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in reverse.
Each minisode should last around 20 minutes or so and give players some idea of what Finding Paradise is really about (hint: Its patient is the boy from To the Moon's follow-up, A Bird Story, all grown up).
Update: To The Moon 2 is in fact not real but a new game called A Bird Story, developer Freebird Games has announced. It's due out mid-2013.
The new Indie Royale Fall Bundle has launched, containing such titles as To the Moon, Blackwell Deception, AVSEQ, Reprisal and Oil Rush.
2K Games boss Christoph Hartmann has gone and said something controversial. He's declared that only when games approach photorealistic graphics will they be able to broaden their genre-horizon and properly do nuanced emotion like Brokeback Mountain - rather than the Mission Impossible experiences we get today.
"I'm like the guy with a drink in the corner of the party, just sipping on it and looking at who's here," says Kan Gao, hitting on the perfect analogy for his current situation. Everything, he quietly explains, is so different to how things were before he made To The Moon, the cult indie game about a dying man's last wish that launched to a rapturous reception back in November and left a trail of player tears in its wake.
A smorgasbord of indie game talent is now freely available to sample via OnLive, sponsors of the annual Independent Games Festival.
Most games wouldn't go near the kinds of topics that To the Moon crafts a whole story around. But To the Moon isn't most games. That brings about its own difficulties: when a game is so entirely structured around its fiction, how do I explain why it's brilliant without spoiling what makes it so?
Its scenes, its characters and the very specific issues it takes on are special - without exception. To talk about any of them in detail would be to do this fantastic indie game a great disservice.
I can safely say this. In the future - somewhere around 2060, I'd guess - we will have developed technology that allows us to access the memories of others, and to change the course of a person's life as they perceive it. It's under this premise that two doctors embark on fulfilling the last wish of a dying man called John: to have become an astronaut and visited the moon.