A mysterious game is afoot with something called the “HK Project,” by a self-described team “composed of two people and two cats” (https://hk-devblog.com/ ). The people are Koola & Viv, they are from the south of France, and they have been working on a game where one might fulfill a dream of doing parkour with feline grace. Set against a vaguely dystopian and futuristic backdrop, HK Project (the game’s very tentative title) gives the player control of a cat with which to run, leap, and climb around a cityscape very much inspired by Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. The game does not occur in any particular time frame, nor does it have a detailed premise so far. The worst part is that HKP is also lacking even a little bit of a release date, as it is the product of the aforementioned very small company. It was apparently very difficult to create a quadrupedal model as well: the cat, made in the Unreal 4 Engine, was falling through the floor and clipping through walls when the team first started work on it. After a good deal of tinkering and re-thinking, they were able to make a beautiful working model of a small cat able to move about freely in a demo setting.
A new and much more detailed video was recently released on their site (https://hkgame.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/hkgraphtest123.gif) showing the cat character jogging through a narrow, rain-slicked street peopled with, well… not people, actually. Two humanoid robots appear to be having a casual conversation at a junction of the alleyway, and as far as has been shown in their other previews, these could be the only other entities one might interact with in the game. This is of course all speculation; the most we really know about it at the moment is that it is intended to be a first person, solo adventure game. The furry protagonist has a cute little backpack so it looks like we might have an inventory of items to use, or it could be used in missions to move things around the city as a kitty courier. Who knows? For the time being, not anyone but the developers know what’s in store, and they are fairly tight-lipped about the concepts behind the game. They have said that it will be a few years (boo) before they get the project to where they want it to be for public consumption, but there is already quite a lot of interest from the online community for this uniquely fun take on the first person adventure genre. It doesn’t seem like we’ll be able to get a sneak peek any time soon, or get our hands on an early release, but the team promises to keep updating their blog with their developments.
What little there is to see of this future masterpiece is still incredible: the backgrounds are dynamic and intricate, capturing the look of the largely ungoverned KWC in exquisite- albeit, fantastical- simulacrum. The shading, coloring, and detail are beautiful, and the feline hero’s movement has obviously been crafted with care. Environmental artist Koola was employed for 8 years with Ubisoft Montpellier, doing FX and lighting as well, when he decided to dedicate his time to HK. His artwork can be seen on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/99646627@N03/) if you want to spend a good hour wishing Koola rendered your world. His skill in 3-D landscaping and architecture is such that you might have a hard time believing that you’re not looking at a photograph. When and if the HK Project does become reality, cats will probably finally have achieved total control over us and the internet because it’s hard to imagine this game won’t capture most people’s attention like a kitten spotting the red dot of a laser pointer.
Follow Koola & Viv on Twitter @HKdevblog to receive more updates about HK Project and tell them @Meowlentine sent you… It won’t get you anything special, they don’t even know who I am, I just want people to tell them I sent you so maybe they remember me when the game comes out. Purely selfish motivation. Now go, you have a job to do.