On September 17th, the Canadian indie solo developer Cross Couloir released their second title Lamprey. It’s a short indie visual novel with a charming pixel-artstyle made with Aseprity and programmed in Ren’Py.
Lamprey is a sci-fi visual novel about four employees at a tech company who become trapped in their office after an experiment with a top-secret AI goes haywire.
Fang couldn't be happier about her new job at the prestigious tech startup Riverstone, Inc. When she starts on her new team, building a revolutionary workplace assistant AI called Lamprey, she jumps into her work head-first. However, it's not long before things start going wrong, with a software bug causing Lamprey to trap the team in their office. Will Fang and her co-workers be able to escape a prison of their own making?
Lamprey was developed for the SuNoFes game jam, where it’s been one of the top 3 most popular and highest rated submissions.
- 10k+ words (approx. 1 hr playtime)
- Optional interactive terminal minigame
- Full original soundtrack
- Content warnings: death, mental illness, alcohol
Since Cross Couloir (Jed Estep) is an active member of the development space on the Fuwanovel discord, we could easily contact them to give us some further insight into their work and Lamprey. Thanks for their time on short notice!
H: This game has been made for the SunoFes Jam. Is this the first time you participated at a jam? Can you outline your experience? J: This isn’t my first time participating in a game jam! In the past I’ve worked on teams for Spooktober 2021, Winter Jam 2021 and Bird Jam 2022. However, this is my first time directing a game for a jam, and my first fully solo entry. SuNoFes is a pretty relaxed jam, and I was able to start well before the jam started. The extra time let me add a lot of extra polish. H: What's your opinion on AI assistance in the work place and does this reflect inside the game? J: I use GitHub Copilot from time to time at my day job. I’m a fan of tools like this, which use AI trained on your own code or other assets to assist you. If AI is used responsibly, like this, I don’t think it reflects negatively on a game. What does reflect negatively is super low effort AI assets, and the obvious use of AI that was trained on copyrighted content. H: Is Lamprey a full story or do you plan to expand on it as part of a greater franchise? J: Lamprey is intended to be a standalone story rather than a franchise, but I do still have plans to add some extra content and polish I plan to add to the game. This includes builds for other platforms. Watch this space! H: Do you prefer being a solo developer or would you want to join/lead a team? J: As a director, I think I prefer working solo. It’s nice to have the freedom and flexibility of working alone. But I do also like working in a non-director role on teams! I’ve done the soundtracks for The Last Matches and We Were Forever. H: Why did you go with the pixel look? J: My art skills are pretty limited, but in the past I’d gotten some experience with pixel art from making custom Pokemon sprites and I decided to roll with that and try to take advantage of the little knowledge I had. Plus I love minimal colour palettes, which are great with pixel art. H: More games planned for the future? J: I have another game in the pipeline! It’s still too early on to say much about it, but it’ll be a definite step up from Lamprey in scope.
If you want to follow Cross Couloir on SNS platforms, check out their linktree!