Download (hosted on IndieDB):
Note: Version 1.1 should fix a bug in which the end cutscene animation would freeze. Please let me know if you still get this bug in version 1.1!
“Katabasis isn’t really a game. It is about as interactive as the encarta 3D virtual tours. Those had some atmosphere too.” -RC-1290’Dreadnought’
“I worked so hard walking around the place, slowly, for that ending? Wtf…..” -Sebastianveroamore
“F*ck this game! its pointless no type of storyline to it sorry but no this was whack…” -Pinchenano
“I’m wandering through the forest, higher and higher up the mountain. The feeling of my own insignificance grows stronger as I see the immensity of my surroundings. But I keep moving, because I must move or reject the game entirely and shut it off, and it’s a good game so I don’t.” -Porpentine, from Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Katabasis is a game about enigma, exploration, and myth. It is about a father, a son, and ancient gods. The player possesses a father who has taken his estranged young son on a trip into the Russian wilderness. He must simply wander through wilderness environments and architectural spaces, while attempting to understand things that might not be understandable.
This game was my senior thesis project to graduate with my degree in Game Art.
The title, katabasis, is an archaic Greek word which simply means a descent. It has various meanings in different contexts, but the most relevant here is that of the archetypal descent into the underworld: such as Orpheus’ journey to retrieve Eurydice from the clutch of Hades, and Odysseus’ trip to the mouth of the underworld to question Tiresias.
The initial concept for the game was inspired by the tragic and still-enigmatic Dyatlov Pass incident, in which 9 experienced ski hikers, at the beginning of their trip, for some unknown reason ripped out of their tent in the middle of night during below-zero temperatures in 1959. All nine died from hypothermia or trauma related injuries with unknown causes.
Incidentally, the event took place on the side of a mountain known by the native peoples of the area, the Mansi, as Kholat Syakhl, which translates as The Mountain of the Dead. The major events of the game are based upon the mythologies of the Mansi people, especially a particular myth involving Mir-Susne-Khum, the World Surveyor Man.