Day in and day out the process repeats itself. You spend your life as just another cog in the corporate machine. Maybe you make it home to repeat the pattern all over again. That is, until the day you don’t. It’s not something you’d want to dwell on, because the premise is incredibly Bleak.

Such is the idea lurking just beneath the surface in Chad Williams’ new project on Indiegogo. Seeking a flexible funding goal of $1,500, Bleak is a dark somewhat depressing platformer. Inspired by Downwell, The Binding of Isaac, and the personal financial struggles of its developer, Bleak is all too relatable.

“At the time development started on Bleak, I was working two jobs and was still struggling financially. I was very depressed and knew that if I spent the rest of my life working like this without games that I would be broke and unfulfilled forever,” Williams said.

Nothing Else Matters

In Bleak, the player takes on the role of a nameless, nondescript creature who has one purpose in life. Spelunking deep into caverns to collect power gems for “The Boss.” Keepers stand in the player’s way by guarding the power gems. The player must destroy these creatures to progress further into the cavern and collect more gems. Ultimately, the player’s goal is to turn over all of the gems to “The Boss.”

The game takes players through a series of randomly chosen levels where they will have to defeat Keepers to collect gems and fragments. Creatures use the fragments to buy valuable upgrades. This aids them in accomplishing their ultimate goal, delivering more power gems for unknown reasons.

“I’ve made a few games in the past two years, but none of them really had a meaning or much art work, so I wanted to make something that’s meaningful to me,” Williams explained. “We spend all our lives gathering these “power gems” while still not having a real purpose.”

Despite wanting to add meaning to his game, Williams didn’t want the project to be bogged down by it. “Games should be fun first and then if you care to look deeper into it, then you can find the meaning,” he said.

Williams is developing Bleak for PC and hopes to release the game by April 10th. “My goal for Bleak is just for people to play it and have fun. Maybe even to see the meaning (not very far) below the surface. Also, the game is fairly difficult so I hope it pisses people off in someway,” he said.

It might be worth mentioning that he’s also taken some inspiration from Edmund McMillen’s infamously frustrating, Super Meat Boy. Yet another parable for our modern age.

About the Author

Joanna Mueller

Joanna Mueller is a lifelong gamer who used to insist on having the Super Mario Bros manual read to her as a bedtime story. Now she's reading Fortnite books to her own kiddo while finally making use of her degree to write about games as Cliqist's EIC.

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