Backbone — noir dystopian adventure

Created by EggNut

Backbone is a pixel art noir detective adventure. Step into the shoes of Howard Lotor, a raccoon private eye. Interrogate witnesses through branching dialogues inspired by classic CRPGs, sneak through diverse districts of a now walled-off dystopian Vancouver, sniff out clues, and choose which leads to follow.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

2019 has been great
almost 2 years ago – Mon, Dec 30, 2019 at 11:49:05 PM

Dear friends,

Happy holidays! Hope you're taking care of yourselves this chill season, eating plenty of food and playing good games (psst, Disco Elysium is pretty amazing). Just wanted to give you a quick update on what kind of year we've had at Eggnut. Spoiler - it was the best year of our lives. 2019 was only possible because we got early support from our Kickstarter backers in 2018. So, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.

local twin goths vibing to Mepeche Dode

2019 in review:

  • Backbone: Prologue launched as a free title on Steam in April. Right now it has 120k downloads, 98% positive reviews, it is the 165th best rated game on Steam of all time, and it brought 75k wishlists on the main game. MINDBLOWING.
  • Danny, Julia, Diana, Radu joined the team. Now Eggnut is 10 people working full-time, and 2 part-time, spread across 5 countries. We have managed to build a real dream team, and it's our most cherished asset as a studio.
my favorite pawbucks barista
  • Backbone was awarded with Epic Mega Grant. Epic Games have been instrumental in our journey so far, both with the technological marvel that is UE4 and with all their marketing and financial support. It means a lot for a new studio to find a trusted partner like this.
Howard Lotor cosplay guide
  • Exhibited at PAX West in Seattle, USA. It was both the most overwhelming and happiest 4 days ever. Thanks to everyone who came over and said hi!
  • Awarded with Best Indie at Strasbourg European Film Festival in Strasbourg, France.
  • Nikita and Radu gave a talk at Unreal Dev Days in Seattle, USA. It's about how we combine 2D pixel art with 3D world in Unreal Engine:  
  • Exhibited at AdventureX in London, UK. Definitely coming back next year, it was so nice being surrounded by storytellers from all over the world.
  • Awarded with Gran Prix, Best PC Game and Best Art at DevGAMM Unreal Engine competition in Minsk, Belarus.
  • 50 press publications about Backbone, among them Kotaku, Rock Paper Shotgun, GameRevolution, UnrealEngine.
  • Backbone: Prologue OST released on all major streaming platforms. All backers received it as a free download through BackerKit (check yours!) and it's also available on YouTube:
  • Our artist Maria and co-founder Nikita had a BABY (they made a human out of food this is INSANE)
maria and meera reedus in Mom Standing (2019), dir. Eggnut
  • Production schedule, departments pipelines established, dev tools complete. We wrapped the 2.5 years long pre-production and managed to transition to production smoothly and without crunch. We crunched 2 times so far: during Kickstarter and before Prologue release, and it’s our main priority to not let this happen again - so far so good! We’re taking physical and mental health of the team very seriously, as well as project and time management.

There was another very important achievement that changed everything, but we’ll tell you about it early next year!

Our 2020 resolutions:

  • Meet up! It's been almost 3 years since we started working on Backbone, and we still haven't all been present in one geographical location to hug each other to death. It's hard!!
  • Go to SUPER exciting industry events. Can't wait to tell more later!
  • Don't crunch, stay healthy, happy, and motivated, maintain and evolve our work ethic. 
  • FINISH THE GAME. YES.
chillin' it in Gastown baybe

Next year is going to be the best so far. We have time, resources, people, a huge support network in the industry and our community, and the creative freedom to turn Backbone into something truly exceptional. We’re going to be working on the project we love, surrounded by people we love, and for the audience we cherish. Some really major events are in store for our small team, and we’re looking forward to sharing this journey with you. With that said, as we get closer to the release, it’s becoming more challenging to share assets and ideas from the game without spoiling the final product. We are hoping for your patience and trust in our vision, and will do our best to do frequent updates without oversharing. 

If you want to get more immediate updates on the project, feel free to follow us on Twitter and talk to us directly on Discord.

Thanks for everything, and see you in 2020!

Your Eggnut

Backbone: Prologue Update - settings, controller, Mac & Linux, and more
about 2 years ago – Sat, Oct 26, 2019 at 02:09:02 AM

Hey there! We’ve been busy at work, implementing features and tweaks that you’ve asked for (and more). It’s been a wild ride so far, and we’re so happy you folks are already showing so much passion for Backbone!

We have some more updates planned, but for now it’s time for us to sit down and get going on making Backbone the best it can be. The kind of game we will be proud to put our names on, and the kind of game you will be talking about ten years down the line. 

And for now, feel free to replay the Prologue -> https://store.steampowered.com/app/992310/Backbone_Prologue/

To those of you who made it possible for us to come this far, our backers and early supporters: From the bottom of our hearts – Thank You.

Here’s a list of what we’ve improved:

  • Settings menu for visuals and sound.
  • Mac and Linux support.
  • Controller support.
  • Optimization.
  • New fluid NPC animations.
  • Alley truck puzzle polished.
  • Dialogues edited for clarity and snappiness.
  • New original song in The Bite.
  • Tiny and big bug fixes.

To stay on top of all things Backbone, be sure to follow us here:

  • Twitter - https://twitter.com/backbonegame
  • Discord - https://discord.gg/backbone
  • Newsletter - https://eggnut.net/

Backbone is going places!
over 2 years ago – Sat, Aug 10, 2019 at 02:51:41 AM

Dear friends,

It's been a while since we've talked. So many incredible things have happened since the release of Backbone: Prologue in April. Finally, we're able to share all of them with you!

Backbone is coming to PAX West. Aug 30 - Sep 2, Seattle, WA, USA.

SEATTLE!
SEATTLE!

Backbone has been selected to participate in our first ever expo - PAX West! Find us in the Indie Mega Booth section, #764. We're bringing a polished version of the demo for you to play, and our friendly faces from Canada, Russia and NL. Feel free to get in touch with any questions - hello@eggnut.net.

Backbone is selected for Strasbourg Film Festival. Sept 13-22, Strasbourg, France.

STRASBOURG!
STRASBOURG!

Backbone has been selected among 12 games to be presented during the festival and to participate in the award ceremony.  Backbone is inspired by our passionate love for cinema, so we're very proud to be included! 

AND we'll see you at Adventure X! Nov 2-3, London, UK.

LONDON!
LONDON!

Possibly the best place to celebrate adventure gaming - Adventure X conference in London, British Library. We will be among the line-up of incredible titles, and can't wait to meet people from all across the world who are as excited about stories as we are.
The tickets will go on sale on the British Library website on Sept 4th, 11AM UK time. Don't miss out, they'll be gone in the matter of minutes!


We've hired new incredible people to work on Backbone.

School uniform concept by Kristina
School uniform concept by Kristina

Eggnut is now a team of 13 people living across Canada, Russia, US, England and Netherlands. With this stellar ensemble we are able to make the game better than we've ever imagined. Let us introduce them:

  • Julia - environment artist and possum buddy. Russia.
  • Diana - general development in UE4, plugins, widgets, tools, game logic. Russia.
  • Radu - tech art, lighting, effects, 3D, optimization and beautification. US.
  • Danny - main story and narrative design. Worked on Röki, Harold Halibut and Krumit's Tale. UK.
  • Tori - dialogues and most of the text you'll see in the game. Worked on Elders Scrolls Online and won awards for it. US.

 And here's the rest of the team:

  • Nikita - co-founder, lead developer, game designer, composer. Canada.
  • Alex - co-founder, project lead, writer, marketing person. Netherlands.
  • Artyom - generalist developer, tech art. Russia.
  • Aleksander - UI designer. Russia.
  • Maria - Vancouver scout and mom (literally had a baby during the development). Canada.
  • Kristina - senior artist, designer, characters. Russia.
  • Kirill - animation, characters. Russia.
  • Toma - environment artist and leading witch from the woods. The Woods.

Thank you for believing in us and kickstarting (heh) our whole company. This wouldn't be possible without you.

Backbone: Prologue has been doing incredibly well.

98% REVIEW SCORE WHAT
98% REVIEW SCORE WHAT


It is now rated 98% Overwhelmingly Positive with over 1000 reviews. It's #230 in the best rated Steam games of all time. It's been downloaded 100 000 times. The main game page has been wishlisted 50 000 times.

It's freaking crazy how well people reacted to it, and it gave us so much confidence in our vision. Backbone is getting bigger, more beautiful and intricate than we've ever anticipated because of this. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Huge Prologue update coming soon.

Fanart by @orcadolboebicus
Fanart by @orcadolboebicus


Right before or slightly after PAX, we'll publish a free big update for the Prologue. Here's what we have in store:

  • Visual overhaul. All-new animations, smooth and beautiful. Lots of revised and new assets - even more tiny environment storytelling details for you to find.
  • Story overhaul. We've updated some puzzles and edited all dialogues to the snappy perfection.
  • Optimization. All light sources in the game optimized to make the experience run and look better.
  • Settings menu. Now all resolutions are supported, and you can even play on a weaker machine by tweaking visual settings. This in particular took a lot of work, and we're very happy with the results.
  • Controller support. You can now chill in a rainy noir city right from your couch. 
  • Mac & Linux ports. Yes! Finally!
  • Prologue OST release. It will be available on a huge number of streaming services and Steam. Backers of all tiers will receive it for free through BackerKit. The full game OST will be out after Backbone release, and will be available for free through BackerKit for the Backers whose tiers include the OST. Physical release is also planned for much later, we'll keep you updated.

 What's in store for Backbone?

Fanart by @Neungsonie
Fanart by @Neungsonie

Backbone's development is in full swing. We will be showing you more things from the game in the next updates, while trying not to spoil anything. Thank you very much for trusting us and our vision. There are more exciting things happening that we still have to keep secret, but we'll see you again very soon!

To stay on top of all things Backbone, be sure to follow us here:

 Talk soon, detectives!

Backbone: Prologue is out on Steam!
over 2 years ago – Thu, Apr 25, 2019 at 03:02:33 AM

Dear friends,

Backbone: Prologue is out on Steam! Get if for free here - http://bit.ly/bb_prologue

Thank you for your invaluable support, kindness, and patience. This game wouldn’t exist without you. Please let us know what you think about it, we worked really hard to make the Prologue an enjoyable 1-hour introduction into the world and story of Backbone. Your opinion is very important for us! 

If you enjoyed it - please leave a review on Steam, it really help us out a lot.

The game is only available for Windows and in English for now. We will work hard to bring it to Linux and Mac soon, as well as provide localization for as many languages as we can. We’ll spend the next year working on the main game and patching Prologue, so consider this to be a demo / early access / first story chapter of Backbone.

Join our Discord community to discuss the game with us - https://discord.gg/backbone

And follow us on Twitter for quick news and pics - https://twitter.com/backbonegame

Thank you! Enjoy!

Quick beginning of 2019 recap!
over 2 years ago – Sat, Apr 06, 2019 at 01:47:15 AM

Dear backers,

This update is long overdue, and we’re very sorry for keeping radio silence for three months. Here’s a recap of what’s been going on:

We have been working hard on developing Demo Prologue since the end of this campaign in May 2018. It’s been an exciting and rocky road full of revelations and turns, and the game evolved a lot. A year later, and today we're almost through with it, all content and features of the Demo are complete, and it plays really well! 

Stealth!
Stealth!

As of today, Backbone is an exciting mix of point-and-click adventure, complex branching dialogues inspired by classic CRPGs, puzzle-infused stealth sections and beautiful environment exploration. The story of Prologue will introduce you to the world, main characters, and begin to reveal the ugly underbelly of dystopian Vancouver. Main story of the game is going to be focused on intense and up-close character study, the tragedy of living in a society, and showcase the strategies different people use to adapt to horrible circumstances. We are very satisfied with the direction the game is heading right now, and hope you enjoy this personal story that aims to examine the human condition as much as we do.

Prologue is about 1 - 1,5 hours long, and takes up about a fifth of the whole game we have planned so far. It has some level of replayability, as every character you meet could be treated in various ways, and you can follow the different paths while solving the case. It’s not our goal to make the game open-world, instead, our mission is to tell a cohesive story with strong characters. But some level of variety is always a plus because it enhances the feeling of being present in this world.

Close-up view!
Close-up view!

A small group of volunteer beta testers have been helping us in catching bugs and giving general feedback about the pace of the Prologue, and thanks to them, we think we arrived at a good level of balance. At the moment, we’re preparing a final build for beta testers and Steam review. There are couple of new gameplay features we implemented in March, and we’ve been enhancing the visuals and writing all the way through, so the extra time we took really paid off. We also made a release trailer that'll be out as soon as we have a confirmed release date from Steam!

Howard Lotor in his natural habitat!
Howard Lotor in his natural habitat!

Pease know that we're working really hard on bringing the game to the high level of quality and out for everyone ASAP. We've been in crunch mode since at least December 2018, and it's taking a toll on us, so right now the best decision would be to go slow and steady. We don't want to push the team to do overtime and crunch even more. 

So, wrapping up, the best answer to «When is the prologue going to be out?» right now is «As soon as humanly possible with the level of quality that we're proud of!». We’ll post a Kickstarter update when it’s out, but also feel free to wishlist the game on Steam to get notified via e-mail: https://store.steampowered.com/app/992310/Backbone_Prologue/ Please don't hesitate to ask any questions - you're the best!

Granville street!
Granville street!

That brings us to the next topic - Backbone will not come out in 2019. After the Prologue is out, we will start looking for additional funding and most likely a publishing partner, so we can fully realize our vision and get ourselves more time to work, resulting in better game on the day of release. It’s a common thing for Kickstarter games to postpone the release, but we want to ensure you that we don’t want to release it later than 2020. Thank you very much for being patient and understanding about this! More news about this later.

Dialogues!
Dialogues!

Some of you may have noticed that you’ve been charged by BackerKit for any additional pre-orders you’ve made after Kickstarter. We did this early to support our development cycle until we can secure additional funding. If it’s in any way inconvenient of you - please let us know by e-mailing alex@eggnut.net and we’ll return the money any time. Thank you!

_____

If you want to receive tiny bits of weekly updates instead of big chunks like this one, and be able to talk to us personally - please join our extra friendly Discord server https://discord.gg/NU7nRQX or follow us on Twitter or VK (for Russian speakers)

That's it for today, thank you very much for your support, and we'll see you soon in the next update when the Prologue is out.