Earlier this week, Defiant Development shared the unfortunate news that the studio would be shuttering, citing the company’s supposed inability to adapt to “changes both big and small” in the larger gaming industry as the main impetus behind the closure. As a parting gift, Defiant has also provided a brief glimpse at what would have been the studio’s next game, a project that was tentatively titled The World In My Attic.
The World In My Attic would supposedly follow a family as they started “a new life in a new home,” only to discover “a strange board game” there known as Hexes & Heroes. This board game would act as “a bridge to a fantastic world,” complete with the requisite fantasy tropes one might expect from a riff on the iconic Dungeons & Dragons alliteration.
Much like Defiant’s previous work on the Hand of Fate series, The World In My Attic appears to blend both tabletop strategy with action-adventure set pieces. Where the former focused on deck-building, however, the latter would presumably have featured a world created with the distinct hex pieces seen in tabletop games like Settlers of Catan.
In the short preview above, a warrior-type character can be seen traversing a landscape made up of these six-sided segments and, at one point, a large orc or troll is shown being placed on the “real world” game board before it appears in the fantasy setting.
“A world filled with strange characters and ancient darkness,” the narrator explains. “A world searching for a hero. A world that needs to be made whole again. A world that is vast and treacherous. A world balanced on the edge of destruction. This is The World In My Attic.”
Although this is just a glimpse of what could have been had Defiant not been forced to close, I’ve been enthralled by the short video since I first watched it. The distinct landscapes that evidently would have served as the backdrop for the on-foot segments of The World In My Attic provide a very striking aesthetic when combined with the more mundane fantasy elements, and the Jumanji-esque way in which the board game would have affected the world around the family playing it could have opened up all kinds of gameplay possibilities. And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
“You folks should crowdfund this,” reads one YouTube comment. “I would fund the hell out of it!”
“This had me really excited, then I checked Twitter,” wrote another commenter, referring to the unfortunate announcement of Defiant’s shutdown.
Like dusty boxes in a loft, The World In My Attic may never see the light of day, but the tantalising glimpse provided by Defiant as they write this final chapter will always be a testament to the studio’s creativity and a bittersweet reminder of what could have been.