To describe the upcoming Stone sounds a bit like you've just thrown darts at a wall full of random words, or played Mad Libs with a second-year Philosophy Major after their third pint. And I mean that in a good way.
Put simply, Stone is a narrative-driven game starring a koala detective who loves hip-hop and smoking weed, on a quest to find and rescue his missing boyfriend. Take a moment to re-read that if you need. Really let your brain chew on it, and ponder how in the world you'd effectively weave those threads together. The answer, at least according to developer Convict Games, is to lean hard into each culture and sub-culture represented by this quirky blend.
"I wanted to make Stone a different type of story from what you usually see in games," says Convict Games' founder Greg Louden. "For me, a cool story lets you experience, lets you see other cultures. I think it's more traditional in other mediums to see other cultures represented, but I wanted to do that in a game. I want to see more international stories."
Louden, an Australian animator who has worked in both film (Legend of the Guardians, Prometheus) and games (Quantum Break (opens in new tab)), says every line of dialogue is "laden with subtext." And though said subtext will undoubtedly appeal most to people already familiar with the game's disparate subjects, he expects people who aren't Australian, or stoners, or hip-hop lovers (or koalas) to pick up on and maybe even learn a few things.
Though the short demo I played didn't stand out from a gameplay perspective - there's a lot of walking around, examining clues, and talking to NPCs a la Telltale's recent outings - I can personally attest to learning a few Aussie words and phrases. Thus far, I've picked up "Chookie" (a nickname for a loved one like "honey" or "darling"), "Shamus" (a slang term meaning private investigator or detective), "yonks" (a long period of time), and "no wucking furries" (swap the W and F for the real message).
Stone's humor is pun-heavy, referential, and wordplay-focused. You play an anthropomorphic koala, ie. a furry, so "no wucking furries" gets extra mileage. The koala's name is Stone, and he himself is known to enjoy marijuana, aka getting stoned. Some of these jokes are extremely on-the-nose, while others might require a deeper knowledge of authors like Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson, or movies like The Big Lebowski.
Summing up Stone as well as anyone probably could, Louden asks, "What if there was a game where you were playing as The Dude, but he's Australian?" Sounds far out, man. Stone arrives on PC this fall.