Zeno Clash

This year’s standout finalist in the IGF “Excellence in Visual Art” category and ModDB’s Best Upcoming Indie game for 2008, Zeno Clash, a tiny yet potentially explosive close combat -oriented indie FPS built around the Source engine, is coming fresh off the back of a string of accolades preceding its actual release.

Ghat and Deadra
Ghat and Deadra

In the game, players settle in the role of Ghat, a young man fleeing away from his creator, the Father-Mother, the most powerful clan leader in the city of Halstedom. The rebellious chap must escape and fight his way thru the dangerous lands of Zenozoik together with his companion, the high-spirited and trust-worthy Deadra.

The most distinct quality of Zeno Clash seems to be its ability to potently divide an audience like Moses did water, and if anything, the fearless look and feel rooted in a mind-bending array of influences – including Hieronymus Bosch, John Blanche and Dark Crystal – seems like an open call for opinionage.

Obviously, for an indie game, it’s definitely better to go down in flames than simply fade away, and the ACE Team have this all planned: Project leader Andres Bordeu indeed notes that the team actually feels safer about the off-the-hook stylistics:

From a certain point of view going for the unconventional has been the safe thing to do for us. … We knew it was impossible to compete with big companies that tend to put a lot of their muscle in technology graphics-wise.

If you’re interested, RPS have posted an article on the game in their Unknown Pleasures series, and the two-part ModDB article can be found here and here, respectively. The team promises a solid 4-5 hours of gaming, for the competitive price tag of $20, and if Arkane’s Dark Messiah from 2006 is anything to go by, Zeno Clash is bound to be an exciting, corporeal experience at best, and a curious piece of gaming ephemera at worst.

Personally, I expect nothing but the best from the project. For a few more screenshots, check out the gallery after the jump.

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