Bulwark in the City of Flesh

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About

Half a millennium ago, the people of my planet realized we were drifting toward the event horizon of a black hole. If that seems like a slow-motion apocalypse to you, imagine how many years passed for your planet in the meantime. We experienced generations of denial, despair, riots, and war before Earth was even a wet rock.

I was born after the dust settled, and I grew up knowing this: Someday, our planet will reach the black hole, and then everything we've experienced and created will be destroyed. In a way, it never existed at all.

You might think life was super grim for us, but the thing is, there's a hierarchy to problem solving. You don't focus on cosmic catastrophe. You focus on what you can control.

Or, at least, what you think you can control.

–Priscilla

Bulwark in the City of Flesh is an audio game, a video game, and a radio drama. It can be played with your ears, your eyes, or both.

Audio Game

If you choose to play the audio game, the screen is blank throughout. In this mode, stereo headphones and a 4x8 grid of keys are required. The keys are mapped on first launch.

Video Game

Alternatively, you may choose to play Bulwark in the City of Flesh as a video game. In this mode, the game is a mix of visual and nonvisual scenes, all of which are fully playable without audio if subtitles are enabled.

Radio Drama

Bulwark in the City of Flesh is partially a radio drama, which means you’ll often be an observer while audio-only scenes play out around you. If you’re not a fan of noninteractive experiences of that sort, you may wish to sit this one out. If you like the concept but, like many people, struggle to focus when you don't know what to do with your eyes, it may help to turn on subtitles. Some players like to go the other way and close their eyes—or even put on a blindfold.

Audio Trailers

Video Trailers


Notes

If you experience poor performance with the default graphics settings, hold the Alt/Option key after double-clicking the .exe/.app/.x86_64 file (before the game launches). An options menu will appear.

There is a light content warning on this game. Gun-like violence is depicted frequently, although it is abstracted and lo-fi.

Controls

The game requires a mouse and keyboard, and stereo headphones are strongly recommended. On first launch, the game will ask you to select key mappings. Instructions are provided whenever needed, but the controls are also listed below.

Grid (4x8) Select puzzle spot (audio game). Up/Down/Left/Right Walk and sidestep. Mouse Change look direction, select dialogue option, etc.
Interact Switch houses, talk to resident, repair power node, etc. Listen Navigate (audio game). Exit Skip scene/quit to menu. Bug Reporting

Found a bug? Please report it here.

Cast (In Order of Appearance)

Collin McClutchy
Reilly Lucas
Michelle Surka
Matt Boyd-Surka
Alyssa DeMarco
Sabrina Boyd-Surka
Julie Boyd
Katie Smiley

Julie Boyd and Sabrina Boyd-Surka were the casting directors.
Dia’s songs were written by Sabrina Boyd-Surka and performed by Sabrina Boyd-Surka and Julie Boyd.

Additional Voices

Ashley Eddy
Morgan Foster
Aderu Moro
Christine Surka

Acknowledgements

A Sound Effect
Aseprite
Blender
EZ Camera Shake
FMOD
Freesound
Gaia
GameSounds.xyz
ink
Reaper
SampleSwap
Sonniss
Unity
wowamusic
Yughues

Development

Bulwark in the City of Flesh was developed by Matt Boyd-Surka. Entries in Matt’s developer diary can be accessed below.

1. January 13, 2018 A year of starts, restarts, and rewrites. 2. March 8, 2018 The audio/video toggle. 3. March 25, 2018 A tutorial for the audio puzzle. 4. July 23, 2018 At the gates of the studio. 5. August 15, 2018 Blanket forts. 6. December 31, 2018 Ending the year. 7. March 8, 2019 “But it’s their birthday, isn’t it?” 8. June 5, 2019 If I die… press ‘Publish’ on itch.io.
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Matt Boyd-Surka
Age rating
Not rated
Bulwark in the City of Flesh screenshot, image №2117189 - RAWG
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Last Modified: Aug 6, 2019

Where to buy

itch.io