A Shining City That Mortals Might Build
“Cracktrack was a gift from the light above the world. When Glory touched the first life-motes with this language, they entered the waking world. They were Illuminated.”
Big news first: GET HYPE! We can finally reveal that BOOK OF HOURS is launching on Steam and GOG (across Windows, Mac and Linux) on…
✨ 17th August 2023 ✨
This means we can extend the beta and make it a more polished game on release. It’s later than we’d hoped, but the feedback so far makes us think we could make this lil’ library game really special. We want to take the time to do that. ✌
Now: click below to watch BOOK OF HOURS’ first ever trailer!!!11!
This game is increasingly like an only slightly poisonous puzzle box of luxury chocolates. Is that a clear enough description? There are chambers and secrets and little jewels to find and lore to discover alongside Mrs Killes’ cooking and the sound of rain on a stormy Cornish night. And deadly bon-bons. We originally intended to make a light, agile game like Cultist Simulator, which has tonnes of words in it (200,000+ including DLC, I think?) but hasn’t had a good meal in weeks. But over the years BOOK OF HOURS gained a patina, and the game grew roots. It’s now probably the ‘deepest’ game we’ve ever made, with layers and layers of lore lain on top of one another like resting bones in Mesozoic rock.
One of the key parts of BOOK OF HOURS that we haven’t discussed much is the player’s ability to influence the Secret Histories – or at least what’s canonical in the Histories. The Wisdom Tree is part skill tree, in traditional RPG style (‘I kill u with Horomachistry’; ‘I am so unskilled in Bosk I cannot even wear this green hat’), but also part branching narrative, where the Librarian gets to decide what’s ‘true’. AK tweeted a thread on this recently, but to illustrate on example: every skill can be assigned to one of two nodes in the Wisdom Tree. Which one you choose not only increases your understanding of that particular Wisdom, but also makes a lore statement about the nature of the invisible world. Take ‘Pentiments & Precursors’, which can be assigned to Skolekosophy or Birdsong:
Is Medusa a Name of the Twins, or is she descended from the Carapace Cross? (Preservation suggests: whichever is true, you should be polite.)
AK’s also been writing contagions, so our long-touted game description – “Defend your library against storm, fire, theft and the occasional theoplasmic assault” – is now a reality! Horribly, some contagions can spread to OTHER NEARBY THINGS:
“This book is blotched with keeperskin, a luminous fungus that grows in the Wood we see in sleep, and enters the world when a dreamer inhales its spores.”
Then there are other types of contamination, which might not start a pandemic, but will make you equally unhappy. Take winkwell, for example, which illuminates parts of reality better left unseen:
“Sometimes when I turn this book to the right angle, I see an eye peering at me from its pages or covers. They close and fade when I leave them in the dark… but light will always bring them out eventually.”
The latest beta build, BARONIAL, went live yesterday, adding all rooms in the central core of Hush House: this includes the ultra-hygge of the Librarian’s Quarters; the glittering Hall of Mirrors, with its Pierrot le Fou energy; the homely charm of the Kitchen, where one might indulge in a shnack… Along with more text and functionality, we’ve also started incorporating a mini-Easter Egg hunt throughout the library, where you can (should you wish!) populate the Grand Ascent with the busts of all significant Barons and Librarians of the House that you’ll find scattered through its 107 rooms. What happens if you get the order wrong when you assemble them up the stairs? Just ask poor ol’ Abbot Thomas.
If you’re signed up to the beta list but didn’t get an email yesterday, don’t worry! We’ll be adding new testers about twice a week, so you have DOUBLE the chances next week of getting in. I understand statistics, I am a artist. DOUBLE.
Speaking of art, all Hush House art is now complete (including seasonal variants, which will be going in soon…), so we wave a sad goodbye to our fabulous Breton freelancer, Adrien. His Gallic personality and an infamous misunderstanding when we asked him to draw ‘pigeon holes’ – a phrase apparently that does not translate easily into French – will be missed. He ended on a bang, though: check out his version of ‘Our Lady Beneath’, the post-Roman chapel of the Sisterhood of the Knot in the bowels of the rock beneath Hush House:
I, meanwhile, have descended into trolling AK through aspects (there’s one I drew the other day that I don’t think he’s spotted yet – he will probably make me take it out).
And I’m slowly but inexorably dropping gentle animations through the world, like a poor man’s version of the Flowermaker.
Hope you like what you see so far of BOOK OF HOURS and its trailer! We really think it’ll be something special that you haven’t played before. More beta, more lore, more Secret Histories and more MORE coming over the next very rich four months. Please stand by. ♥