The latest PixelJunk entry was titled PixelJunk 1-6 — until now, that is. Say hello to PixelJunk Inc. Hello!
Launching with four player co-op and slated for a Steam PC release later this year, PixelJunk Inc. follows the adventures of space explorers as they build an empire of... soup manufacturing. Why soup? As PixelJunk Inc. lead designer Rowan Parker explained to Kotaku, "Because soup is awesome." It is, and so far, PixelJunk Inc. also looks pretty awesome.
In PixelJunk, Inc., your little explorer has two lasers: One is a "negative" red laser that can melt everything in your environment and mine minerals; the other is a "positive" blue one that can create matter. So, the concept is that you must destroy matter to create matter.
And here, as you build your base and factory, you must also melt the enemies — such as tomato monsters, strawberry fish, or sausage bison — to turn them into soup...as one does! You also can grow and harvest various plants to make different kinds of soup. You can research and augment the soup in order to sell it at a higher price. You can build robots to help you out as your harvest ingredients, too. But you need to manage your factory's power supply, your money, and even your supply of matter as you build the business and export your soup off the planet.
But! This isn't just a soup management sim. You must protect your base with towers as enemy monsters are drawn to your factory, giving the game a strong tower defence element. And since the game is 2D, there's also a 2D side-scroller feel, with your little explorer punching and shooting enemies.
Before I saw PixelJunk Inc. in an eyes-on demo earlier this month, I had seen some of the concept art — and don't get me wrong, it looked good—but I really wasn't that excited about the game. In motion, PixelJunk Inc. looked great — better than any screenshot you'll see. The art style looks like something out of a children's book.
However, when I saw how the game's different elements — the simulator element, the tower defence element, the exploring element and the 2D side-scroller element — all seemed to fit together, I suddenly found myself very interested in PixelJunk Inc. It was one of those moments that I went, why hasn't anyone made a 2D side-scrolling tower defence space exploration co-op business management sim centered around soup... before? Seriously!
Currently, a very small team at Q-Games is working on PixelJunk Inc. The developers are planning on adding more features as well as worlds, which are all alive all the time. This means that your base might be attacked while you are not playing and that other areas might evolve and change.
The plan is to get PixelJunk Inc. out on PCs first during the second half of this year, with a sellable alpha version on Steam. Then, after that, Q-Games wants to get the game out on Mac and Linux. And, if there's the demand, perhaps home consoles.
"We are seriously considering a mod script [for the computer version]," said Parker, who also added they hope to eventually get the game supporting up to 32 player co-op. Q-Games aims to open up PixelJunk Inc. to the community in a way that no other PixelJunk game has ever been — hence, why putting the game out on Steam and running a developer blog.
"I'm not joking," said Parker. "We have made a whole game about exporting soup." Oh, but PixelJunk Inc. seems to be more that just that. Much more.