Keenan Mosimann knows a thing or two about making video games a spectator sport. Better known as ‘Criken’ to his fans on YouTube and Twitch, the 20-something livestreamer has been producing a steady flow of content for about a decade, becoming something of an expert on the subject. When not actually playing them, he has been studying video game design at the University of Southern California. Drawing on his media savvy and some serious 1337 cred, Mosimann is bringing us a wholly new entertainment experience with his upcoming Twitch-based game I.C.U.
I.C.U. is a horror game/reality TV show controlled by a live Twitch audience. A single player assumes the role of a hapless victim whose only goal is to make it through the episode (or level, if you prefer) alive. And thanks to an already successful Kickstarter, we know that the first episode will be “The Forest,” which finds our contestant trying to make their way through the dark woods while avoiding a mysterious assailant. Survival horror at its finest!
What make I.C.U. innovative, however, is the extent to which the Twitch audience can affect the gameplay. Want to give our victi—er, hero… drunk goggles to make it harder to maneuver? Shrink them down to the size of a child? Trigger more creepy environmental effects? The game promises many chances for viewers to interact with the contestant in real time, including a proprietary overlay on the Twitch UI that that allows viewers to access buffs and hindrances. Some of these are immediate, some more deliberate in their execution. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Mosimann also makes it clear that while the I.C.U. experience may begin in the woods, it certainly won’t end there. It is his goal to make every episode feature a new location with new monsters, as well as rewarding returning viewers with increased interactivity. While this is an ambitious to goal to say the least, if the early footage is to be believed, this could very well become a long-lasting phenomenon. Skeptical? Check out this clip featuring Strippin, who could also school us all in a few things when it comes to game-streaming:
With just under two weeks to go on Kickstarter and almost 2,000 backers to date, it seems highly likely that we’ll be seeing more of I.C.U. before we know it. Check out the game’s Twitch page to see some behind the scenes footage and actual gameplay from IndieCade 2016.
Oh, and bring a flashlight…
Is I.C.U. a glimpse in to the future of entertainment? What levels or environments would YOU want to see or play through? Does this remind anyone else of the Black Mirror episode White Bear? Let us know!
Photo Credit: Criken