Austin developer Minicore studios are working on an Xbox Live Arcade game called Laika Believes that I think you should know about. It's not that Minicore has much of a track record, it's that the idea of the game is so cool, so ambitions and utterly bat-crap, that it could be amazing.
Here's the idea:Laika Believes is an alternative history platformer in which Laika, the famous Soviet space-dog that was the first animal to ever to orbit earth, didn't die in orbit. Instead, she returned as a half-robot half-canine hybrid. The earth has been taken over by the Soviets, and Laika sets about rescuing the survivor of the USSR's dystopian horror-world. More ambitious than most platformers, eh?
Minicore aims for a release sometime in 2013 or 2014, and promises the following features:
- Massive, nonlinear levels that model the layouts of real locations in a way as of yet unseen in other platformers
- Large, choice-rich skill trees that let players approach the game how they want to
- A novel defensive mechanic that lets players turn the firepower of Laika’s enemies against them
- Smoothly flowing, fast-paced shooting action
- A story of struggle and hope, full of twists and revelations
- Rich, evocative art depicting a world overgrown by a technologically ascendant Soviet empire
- Secrets and rewards hidden in every corner for the determined player.
Semi-tangentially: The real Laika became an overnight sensation in Russia after she was blasted into orbit and is among a handful of truly historically significant dogs. Sadly, the Soviet space program scientists who launched the good-natured pup into space made no plans to bring her down -- she was apparently meant to orbit for a few days and die when the oxygen in her capsule ran out. Plans to bring her back to earth probably wouldn't have mattered anyway -- Laika died in orbit a few hours after her launch when the heating system in her pod malfunctioned.
The first American animal in space was a chimp named "Ham." He survived his space flight with only a bruised nose and lived for many more years as a celebrated national hero.