It's Only Money (opens in new tab) is an upcoming open-world co-op "lowlife simulator" for 1-4 players that begins with an interesting premise: The new mayor of Rockhaven is looking to gentrify the city in a hurry, and to make it happen he's throwing everyone who doesn't fit his vision into a hole—a literal, giant hole.
The residents of the Undercity, as it's more formally known, decide they're not going to take this forceful subterranean eviction, and so they band together to strike back—which in this case means starting fights, stealing things, destroying stuff, and causing general chaos wherever the opportunity presents itself. But it's not just mayhem without mercy: You can also buy up houses and businesses, cars and clothes, or whatever else strikes your fancy, all with the longer-term goal of taking down the mayor's corporate lackeys.
It sounds a bit like GTA Online by way of a small indie studio, but at a much smaller scale: The Steam page describes the city of Rockhaven as having "several dense 'territories,' each with their own micro narratives and Mayor businesses to destroy." There will also be an assortment of mini-games to help keep things rolling, including snail races, street racing, and prop hunt.
The plan is to launch It's Only Money into early access with one territory to play with and take over, and then add more—with new hubs, businesses, minigames, narrative missions, and other content—as development continues.
"I'd say in terms of raw size for launch, it's comparable to one island from GTA 4, though we plan to continually add to the world size as we go," Aaron Alexander, co-founder of developer Usual Suspects, told PC Gamer. "The Early Access launch will have the first territory that players can take over from the Mayor. This involves an arc of narrative missions, side missions, businesses and homes to buy, micro-PvP games and obviously an open world players can tinker around with. We have more of a focus on 'petty crime' and smaller scale activity. There's a focus on density as opposed to sheer breadth.
"I think generally speaking, we can't compete with the production value of Rockstar, but we're poised to pivot and make good on the features and suggestions the community puts forward in a way larger studios can't."
It's Only Money's announcement coincides with the start of the Games Made in New Zealand event (opens in new tab) on Steam, which as you might surmise features current and upcoming games made in New Zealand.
There's more of 'em than you might think:
There are more than 75 games featured in the Made-in-New Zealand event, many of them also on sale—highlights (as chosen by me) include:
The Games Made in New Zealand event on Steam runs until August 25. It's Only Money doesn't yet have a release date, but is "coming soon" to Steam.