Brigador, the neon-soaked isometric mech piloting game from new developer Stellar Jockeys, will be launching along with something a little odd for a brand new indie game: an audiobook. A $30 bundle on itch.io (opens in new tab) will include the game, audiobook (which is also titled Brigador), as well as the original soundtrack by Makeup and Vanity Set. On Steam, the audiobook and OST package will be sold as DLC (opens in new tab).
The novel (which will also be available in text on Amazon) is written by Brad Buckmaster and read by voice actor . It fills out the story of Brigador's world so the game can give full attention to all its little tanks and mechs crushing fully-destructable pixel art cities, which is fine by me. You can check out a sample below:
Why include an audiobook? “The biggest [reason] is just that we wanted to follow through on what interested us, try different things,” says Stellar Jockeys CEO Hugh Monahan. “And if this is the only game we ever make then I didn't want to leave anything on the table.”
Monahan describes a new “arms race” among developers. No longer is the battle over who can cram the most polygons and particles into their games, but who can get players most invested. “Making a ‘good game’ feels like a starting point now rather than the end unto itself,” says Monahan. “That and there's just a degree of spectacle at play; with how many people are jumping into independent development it's increasingly difficult to get any kind of attention, especially on a first title.”
Designer and lead artist Jack Monahan, Hugh’s brother, adds that the novel is them putting Brigador’s story in its “natural habitat,” citing the difficulty of meshing story and game design. “Maybe we'll try a more integrated effort next time,” writes Jack. “But for a first game on an original engine, it made a lot more sense to us than tiny talking heads and cutscene dialogue most people just want to skip as fast as possible.”
Also going on sale, independant of the special edition, is a $15 vinyl pressing of the soundtrack (listen below). All combined, the extras are the Monahans’ way of extending the potential for Brigador to entertain—“different ways to enjoy it,” as Jack puts it.
“I don't think the multi-format tie-in approach is solely the purview of big content producers,” he says. “We've got our own little club, which includes a great musical artist, and a very entertaining action writer, so why wouldn't we invite them along with us?”
Brigador is currently in Early Access on Steam, and will release in full—along with the audiobook and soundtrack—on June 2nd. That bundle can (opens in new tab). Pre-orders for the vinyl soundtrack will be available on launch day, and the records will start shipping in August. For more, from last summer—with the caveat that Brigador has surely changed since then, and we’ll have a full review of the release version next month.