Tech-noir tactics game All Walls Must Fall is an indie game that it is probably too gay for mainstream publisher support. Developer Inbetween Games explains that a game that explores gay themes like this could be seen as “too niche or risky.”
All Walls Must Fall became a crowdfunded hit when it raised €36,576 on Kickstarter earlier this year. It follows other gay-themed games such as Your Royal Gayness and visual novel Eldet to strike a chord on the crowdfunding platform.
All Walls Must Fall is a Gay-Themed Spy Thriller That You’ll Definitely Want to Play
All Walls Must Fall is a futuristic spy thriller set in Berlin, Germany in 2089. Imagining that the Cold War never ended, a time travelling agent named Kai must visit an East Berlin nightclub and try to save the world from impending nuclear doom. Described as XCOM meets Braid, players will “carefully plan your decisions and use powerful time manipulation abilities to your advantage, as you carry out your mission in the shadows or in plain sight.”
While some of the game’s missions will require combat, speaking to me in an email, Inbetween Games developer David Hassel reveals that Kai can flirt his way to victory too. Since all of the patrons in the nightclub are men, it can get pretty gay.
— Debbie Timmins 🐋 (@weefz) April 5, 2017
The All Walls Must Falls alpha allows Kai to “seduce” one particular character in an effort to lure him to dance and then into a private conversation. It led one critic who played the game’s alpha to call it “strikingly gay,” which is a brilliant endorsement if I’ve ever heard one.
Though, Hassel recognises that All Walls Must Fall is a game that may not happen if it was not an indie title. The developer explains that although “it’s not like developers in these big teams or working with big publishers aren’t trying to pitch this stuff,” it probably wouldn’t happen “unless you have someone with a lot of personal power throwing their weight behind something.”
There may be a “few exceptions” but “it is unlikely that a game concept would go through all of the gating processes that are involved in shipping a big game and have the same kind of focus on aspects that might be seen as niche or risky,” says Hassel. The All Walls Must Fall developer adds that “the only thing that survives these meeting room discussions are things that are already proven.”
Hassel also calls diversity “one of the many aspects of the game we care about.” Unfortunately, All Walls Must Fall did not reach its playable female character stretch goal, but the team wants to represent the “very diverse” places that are Berlin nightclubs and hopes to “extend this much in the same way we will build up other features and content of the game over time as we go through our alpha phase.”
That All Walls Must Fall is an all-male affair for now is disappointing, but Hassel seems earnest when he says that “coming from a background in AAA [the Inbetween team was] previously often frustrated about not being able to make and implement choices in terms of character diversity that we thought were appropriate and interesting.”
The developer also confirms that an “extended Early Access” phase is planned. So perhaps in that time Inbetween Games will be able to make the character cast more diverse and add in other stretch goals that its crowdfunding campaign just missed out on.