Kitfox Games is a small team, born in five different countries at the time of writing, all gathered in Montreal to bask in the warm collaboration of the local indie scene. They’ve earned millions of dollars with their various original properties, sold primarily on desktop and console.
According to their Captain, Tanya X. Short, the Kitfox mission is to ‘create intriguing worlds’. So, what does it mean for a game-world to be ‘intriguing’, exactly?
Perhaps on the surface, an ‘intriguing’ world can simply be one that is procedurally generated, offering an element of unpredictability. In its first titles, Shattered Planet (2014), Moon Hunters (2016), The Shrouded Isle (2017), Six Ages (tbd) and Boyfriend Dungeon (tbd), core gameplay elements are randomized, from the terrain to characters to myths, making for a different play experience every time.
But that’s not the whole picture. For example, Boyfriend Dungeon is hotly anticipated by the likes of GQ, yet it’s a game about “dating your weapons”, a rather absurd fantasy of adventurers’ swords becoming gorgeous people you can take on romantic outings in-between killing monsters. Such a premise is intriguing the way the setup for a joke is intriguing – the world wants to know what happens next. Kitfox has been restrictive with access to their demos of the game, but they’ve announced innovations in offering gender roles too, with progressive options for player pronouns (he, she, or them) and two non-binary weapons to romance.
To look a bit deeper, Kitfox titles paint ‘intriguing’ into every detail of their games, from the art to the interface design to the A.I. behaviours. No pretty image is purely for aesthetics; there are untold secrets to find; the systems beg for just a little more curiosity; surprising introspection breaks up the action. Each game is relatively easy to start playing, even for the inexperienced but offers rewards to those who dig in deeper, and who are willing to explore.
Fundamentally, to be curious is to be brave. To be curious is to take a risk, and try to find new knowledge and insight. There is a timeless joy in curiosity, whether when innovating in technology or wandering a game world, because to explore is to grow.
Original Kitfox Games founders, in 2013. From left to right, Mike Ditchburn, Xin Ran Liu, Tanya X. Short, and Jongwoo Kim.