This page is for The Cave (Video Game) for the character see here
The Cave (Video Game) is a platform-adventure video game to be released by Double Fine Productions and digitally distributed by Sega on January 23, 2013. The game was created by Ron Gilbert, borrowing concepts from his earlier 1987 game, Maniac Mansion.
The Cave's story is based on a magical talking cave with a labyrinthine set of tunnels within it. Seven characters, drawn from across time and space, have come to the Cave, believing they can "learn something about themselves and who they might become", as stated by Gilbert, while harboring a dark secret. In one example, a knight character, seeking a treasured amulet, encounters a princess who possesses the amulet in distress from a dragon; instead of coming to the princess' rescue, he lures the dragon into eating her and recovering the amulet for himself when the dragon coughs it up.
At the start of the game, the player selected three of the seven characters, which they are then locked to for the remainder of the game; players can restart a new game to select a different trio of characters. The characters are based on stereotypical figures, such as a hillbilly, a pair of orphans (acting as one character), and a scientist.
As the player controls the trio to explore the Cave, they collect objects and interact with the environment in a manner similar to an adventure game. The exploration of the game is based on 2D platformer elements, though the game is presented with 3D graphics. Exploration is described as being "Metroidvania"-like, where more of the Cave's tunnels and chambers become accessible as players collect objects in a manner similar to Metroid or Castlevania. The player will need to work with all three characters, switching between them typically to activate multiple parts of a puzzle; one example shown in early press demonstrations was to use one character to ring a bell to distract a dragon, a second character to repair a hot dog vending machine as to provide bait, and a third to operate a giant claw machine to pick up the dragon to clear their path. Each character has a unique ability to aid in maneuvering the cave tunnels, leaving some areas inaccessible if the appropriate characters aren't chosen at the start.
The game is primarily a single-player game, but up to three player can participate cooperatively on the same computer or console, each controlling one of the three selected characters.
Ron Gilbert has been working with adventure games since his days at LucasArts, including several collaborations with Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman; together, they developed games like Maniac Mansion, its sequel Day of the Tentacle, and the first games in the Monkey Island series. Gilbert left LucasArts in 1992, initially creating his own development studio but then moving on to other games, including contributing to Telltale Games' episodic series, Tales of Monkey Island based on the LucasArts series. Meanwhile, Schafer would stay with LucasArts until the adventure game market fell in the late 1990's, and created his own studio, Double Fine Productions, with several of the former LucasArts developers. Though Double Fine struggled with well-received but financially unsuccessful titles Psychonauts and Brutal Legend, it became successful in marketing four smaller games developed during an "Amnesia Fortnight" period in Brutal Legend's development between 2010 and 2011.
In September 2010, Schafer revealed that he had hired Gilbert into Double Fine Productions to work on a title of Gilbert's own design. Gilbert stated that "an entirely new concept" and that "fans of those old adventure games will like it"
Gilbert used his blog to tease parts of the game's artwork done in collaboration with Double Fine's art team. Double Fine would later trademark the name "The Cave", affirming this was unrelated to the Double Fine Adventure game that was funded through Kickstarter. Just prior to its announcement, Gilbert provided more artwork which some noted fit perfect within an image published by Sega on their blog, suggesting that the project would be published by the latter. The game was formerly announced as The Cave on May 24, 2012, with Sega as Double Fine's publisher for the downloadable title. Schafer participated as creative director for the title. Sega opted to publish the title as part of its growth into downloadable titles; Hakuri Satomi, Sega's Vice President for digital business, called out to the game's originality and valued the experienced and creativity of Gilbert and the Double Fine team.
Work on the game had been progressing for about a year at Double Fine prior to the game's announcement; Gilbert stated that the six months prior to that period from when he was hired into the studio was used to start developing the ideas for them, with more earnest work by a larger team starting when they identified Sega as their publisher. Gilbert has stated that the idea of The Cave has been one he has had for a long time; he said, of his idea, "People have really dark secrets, and going into a cave which is really dark and deep… that metaphor really resonated with me". The Cave is a sentient character in the game, following on Gilbert's idea that the Cave has witnessed all of human evolution over time and mankind's fascination with caves, and thus would be an interesting character within the story. This made it a challenge in writing the story, as the Cave acts as a narrator alongside other voiced non-player characters, but the main playable one will remain silent.
Gilbert's earlier Maniac Mansion influenced him to revisit the concept of having several playable characters that the player can switch between. Gilbert noted that within Maniac Mansion, several of the characters have minimal use within the game, and sought to correct that within The Cave by giving equal weight to each of the seven playable characters. Gilbert recognized that with seven characters the player would need to play the game three times to see all the character-specific content in the game, but felt this was still a good number to use. He recognized that from Maniac Mansion, players would tend to gravitate towards or away from certain characters, and may always want to play with one specific character in the game. Gilbert maintained the same count in The Cave for this reason. While other aspects of Maniac Mansion may have influenced other design decisions within The Cave, Gilbert considered these less likely to have be conscious decisions on his part.
While the game is part platformer, Gilbert's intent was not to make it a challenge to traverse the Cave noting that it is nearly impossible to die by missing a jump. Instead, the platforming elements were added as to add variety to moving about the Cave, recalling that in the development of the Monkey Island games, player would become bored walking the same area over and over again. Gilbert's aim for the game's puzzles was to keep them less demanding to allow the game's story and visuals to be the main focus of the player's attention, comparing this to similar methods used in the game Limbo. Gilbert wanted the game to be playable by several people, recounting his youth experience of playing the text-based Colossal Cave Adventure with several of his friends, working together to solve puzzles.