CAVE! CAVE! DEUS VIDET. is a PC/Mac episodic visual novel inspired by the works of 16th century Dutch painter Jheronimus Bosch. Strange things happen in Lisbon Museum when 17-year-old punk rocker and Jedi-wannabe Hoodie meets a weird messenger who seems to know too many things about one of Bosch's most enigmatic paintings, the Temptation of Saint Anthony triptych. Click your way through what may either be the hallucinated Wonderland of Bosch, the plagued Netherlands of Year 1499 or the confused mind of an outcast teenager. After the award-winning Episode 0, CAVE! CAVE! will be back in September with Episode 1: new paintings by Bosch to be explored (including the controversial Garden of Earthly Delights), through the mind, heart and soul of three new playable characters investigating Hoodie's mysterious disappearance. Quoting one of our dearest feedback: "weird, informative, deep, creepy and confusing, like a fever dream I didn't want to leave".
CAVE! CAVE! was conceived in 2013 as a prototype for JB500 Foundation's Bosch Art Game international competition, which we eventually won. Despite having zero previous experience in game development, we had come to the belief that indie games are today what the works of artists like Bosch were 500 years ago: the most radical, avant-garde and popular form of contemporary expression. As gamers and designers, we asked ourselves: "why don't we try to be game designers?". The combination of our skills and backgrounds in visual design and storytelling for creating a narrative game has been our way of making "a virtue of necessity", also by choosing a rookie-friendly development engine like Ren'Py. Plus, visual novels' choice-driven gameplay fitted our vision of the game as a multimedia experience of the art of Bosch and of its possible diverse interpretations: a sort of "choose-your-own-meaning" game. From a visual standpoint, the game basically works by subtraction instead of addition - a choice we made precisely for "respecting" Bosch's works and make them stand out even more when they literally "flash" on screen. Whereas Bosch obsessively filled his paintings with details, the game reduces them to icons; whereas Bosch was all about colors, CAVE! CAVE! has a palette made mainly of black, white and just one more color at a time, and whereas Bosch created luxurious shapes, the graphics are as minimalistic as possible. We're also trying to experiment a "pop" approach to a 500-year-old matter by connecting it with other references from different times and fields: from retro-electronic soundtrack provided by Monroeville Music Center to mash-ups of Georges Méliès' films used as in-game cutscenes, up to not-so-random hints to punk rock music, Rorschach inkblots or sci-fi stories like Star Wars or The Matrix.