Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition Brings Its Magic-Realism to PS4

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Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition Brings Its Magic-Realism to PS4

All five episodes of the acclaimed mystery-adventure are making their way to PS4 as a complete package.

Hi y’all! For the last several years, I’ve been working with Tamas Kemenczy & Ben Babbitt on “Kentucky Route Zero,” a magical realist adventure game about a secret highway in the caves beneath Kentucky. We’re happy to tell you that, as part of a collaboration with Annapurna Interactive, Kentucky Route Zero will also be available on PlayStation 4.

Our release date philosophy has always been “when it’s done,” but we’re looking at early 2018.

We started working on Kentucky Route Zero almost seven years ago, thinking it was going to be a relatively short sort of exploratory, non-violent game set in Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky. The project grew into something a lot larger in scope: a story that links together dozens of fully-realized characters and the places (some mundane and some surreal) where they live and work — a contemporary tragedy about debt, family, capitalism, and the electronic ghosts of abandoned futures.

As it grew in scope, we decided to release Kentucky Route Zero episodically, which gave us some space to really develop each of the game’s five acts and let them grow into their own through the creative process. The episodic format also gave us a way to keep our heads above water while keeping a manageable pace of work for such a small studio (only three of us!) developing a game full of detailed stories and hidden rabbit holes.

In between episodes, we released standalone “interludes,” short games that offered different mechanics and perspectives, and some more background on the world of Kentucky Route Zero.

For “Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition,” we’re collecting all five acts and all of the interludes together, so the game on PlayStation will be complete from the day it’s released. We’re adding localization in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean for the first time. Finally, we’re doing some tuning and accessibility work to help the game look and play its best on TVs — adjustable font sizes, brightness options, stuff like that. The game already plays great with a DualShock 4 controller.

Releasing a version of the game tuned for TVs is especially meaningful for us — we love TVs. I won’t spoil anything now, but television plays an important role in the story and world of Kentucky Route Zero. It has also played an important role in our lives — the early video artists we studied in school (and still study!) who were entranced by broadcasts and live video feedback — and even earlier late night sessions flipping channels and fiddling with antennas, ears pressed against static, listening for ghosts. Whether you can relate to these particular memories or not, we’re sure you have some vital connection to your TV, and we hope you’ll explore it with us when Kentucky Route Zero comes to PlayStation 4 next year. Maybe, like music critic Ian Penman wrote, TV “has made us all ghosts.”

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