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Double Fine cryptically announces new puzzle game Hack 'n' Slash

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Double Fine Productions will release hacking-themed action puzzle game Hack 'n' Slash, a game conceived during the company's annual Amnesia Fortnight game jam, in the first half of 2014, the developer announced today.

Hack 'n' Slash features a young elf who "uses her computer hacking skills to cheat her way through a classic action/adventure game," according to a release from Double Fine. "By subverting old-school gaming tropes with unique hacking mechanics," Double Fine said, "Hack ‘n' Slash allows non-programmer players to experience that same sense of mystery and discovery."

Double Fine's Hack 'n' Slash announcement is something of a puzzle itself. The game's website features a downloaded JPEG that's more than 12 MB in size. Embedded within that image file is a message from Double Fine.

"You may have figured out that this JPEG is more than just an image. It is not an ARG. It is not a transmedia narrative. It's just a puzzle we've built for you that will give you some more Hack 'n' Slash tidbits as you peel back its layers. If you're into that kind of thing, we hope you enjoy it!"

Un-RARing the file reveals a few new tidbits, including a text message from an in-game "Acting Regent Wizard" outlawing "all enciphered messages," an audio file of the game's theme and a brief video. That video contains a series of glyphs itself, which appear to relate to the cipher in the original JPEG.

We'll update this post with any additional clues that come out of Double Fine's teaser.

Hack 'n' Slash originally debuted as a pitch during Amnesia Fortnight 2012 and was selected to be turned into a two-week prototype after garnering the most votes from the public. Development of the game was funded by Indie Fund, Humble Bundle, Hemisphere Games, make all, AppAbove Games, Adam Saltsman, The Behemoth, Morgan Webb and Rob Reid as part of a two-game deal that also includes Double Fine's recently released Spacebase DF-9.

Linux, Mac and Windows PC versions of Hack 'n' Slash are currently planned for release in 2014.