Publisher Sindiecate Arts and developer Brainwash Gang have announced a rather peculiar simulation sandbox game that purports to examine Western culture and its system of social classes, and it's called Damnview: Built From Nothing. The game is focused on the exploration of a decadent urban sprawl, as the player works precarious jobs to either get absorbed into the soul-crushing system or get cast out of society and the corporate machine.
The developers promote it as a game about despair, about the relentless hostility of capitalism, and the need to seek a better future. The city acts as an enormous monster that players must defeat with their lives and their hard work, "or maybe also with their fists and dirty money." The game asks how far are you willing to go to survive and succeed in such a hostile environment. The pathway to success can be found by being smarter, meaner, or just not giving a damn about people.
Damnview: Built From Nothing features a rich city teeming with different social classes and cultures, which can be discovered through interactions with the people who inhabit it. Each character has their own story and purpose in life. Decisions made by players in their relationships will be tied into what must be done to survive in the city. Players can take on a variety of occupations: cab driver, video store clerk, laundromat clerk, smuggler of goods, drug dealer... With the money they make they can manage their income and expenses, and build their home from nothing as they try to maintain their lifestyles.
Damnview has been called Stardew Valley meets Hotline Miami, with anthropomorphic animals living in a pixelated world. The city looks gritty and unique. At the end of the trailer the words "Drive, work, buy, sleep, meet, deal" flash at the viewer, each in a new frame, expressing the endless and dehumanizing loop of capitalism. It seems to provoke players into breaking free from this loop, yet this might cost them everything they built until then.
Damnview: Built From Nothing is coming to PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch in 2019. The developers can be found at PAX this year.
What do you think of Damnview: Built From Nothing? Do you think a critique of capitalism is possible while depending on its system? Let us know in the comments below!