We played Do Not Feed the Monkeys at Gamescom and then some more at Madrid Gaming Experience, and as we ready our hands-on preview we asked Fictiorama Studios (Dead Synchronicity) to describe the pretty unique concept behind their new graphic adventure.
"The way we describe Do Not Feed the Monkeys is that it's a 'digital voyeur simulator'", explains producer Luis Oliván, who describes how the game can't fit into traditional genres. "You're accepted into a very exclusive club, which is called the 'Primate Observation Club'. It's not a nature observation club as it may sound; in fact, it's more like a criminal organisation that hacks surveillance cameras and sells those video feeds to its members".
To further explain what you do, the player is accepted in this club, which according to Luis "has very, very strict rules. Number 1 rule is of course you cannot talk about the club itself - because they're criminals. Number 2 rule is you have to progress in the club, you have to buy more and more of these cameras, these so-called 'cages'. And number 3 rule is you can't interact with the people in the cameras, people in the 'cages', which are called 'monkeys'. So number 3 rule is the most important one: You should not feed the monkeys, you shouldn't interact with the people you're spying".
The idea came about as "we wanted to make a game in which the main mechanic was to watch other people leaving their ordinary - or not so ordinary - lives. We thought it was interesting because it's very common; I mean, we all are used to watching other people while on the subway, or while walking, and we usually wonder about their lives".
Hence, the main mechanic is all about observation. "In the game you can find clues about the people you spy via these cameras, you can look for things you write down in your notebook in a Google-like internet searcher. So you have access to lots of different stories in these cages/cameras, but there's also a big (main) narrative arch all through the game that tells the story of a very special government and a technology corporation".
But there's more things involved than that, things such as moral implications, the micro resource management of money (to invest and pay the landlady), health (food and sleep), different characters and visitors, and the option for players to choose what they want to focus on, leading to "dozens of different endings".
Do Not Feed the Monkeys will be published in early 2018 by BadLand Games on PC, and more details can be found on the video interview above and the reveal trailer below. Do you like the initial concept?