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Promising indie game Twelve Minutes is officially in the works

Along with a new look

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

The development of Twelve Minutes, the Groundhog Day-like point-and-click game, is now fully funded, and creator Luis Antonio is working on the game full-time, he announced today.

Antonio began development on Twelve Minutes three years ago, while he was working as an artist on Thekla's The Witness. He has been working on his game in his free time, and showing it to other developers and members of the press at conventions like IndieCade, the Game Developers Conference and PAX East. For more than a year, Antonio has been trying to secure funding and collaborators for Twelve Minutes, and both elements are now in place.

While Antonio did not want to specify the funding sources for Twelve Minutes, he did say that they are sufficient enough that he won't be going to Kickstarter. In addition, his backers allowed him to retain full creative control without setting hard deadlines.

Twelve Minutes character concept 1920

Antonio also found other individuals to join his team to help out with elements such as writing, animation and audio, although he said he is currently the only full-time developer on the project. Andrea Blasich, a sculptor who has worked for animation houses like DreamWorks and Pixar and contributed to The Witness, is providing character design for Twelve Minutes.

Along with the news, Antonio revealed an updated art style for Twelve Minutes in the form of new concept art by illustrator Luis Melo. You can check out the full image below, and compare it to the somewhat more cartoony style of the prototype that we played at PAX East 2015. Antonio told Polygon in a phone interview that although the concept art comes closer to the art direction he envisions for the final game, it's not there yet.

"I was happy with how moody it feels with so little content," said Antonio. "I want things to read very well — what objects you can use and you cannot use. And I noticed [in] the image, some of those things got lost. So it was also a test to see, how far can you push things without overcomplicating the readability, so you're not pixel-hunting or anything."

The goal for the art, Antonio said, is for Twelve Minutes to be able to "convey an apartment lived in that has a story and personality," since the entire game takes place within the apartment. He isn't going for a photorealistic look because he believes it would detract from immersion.

Antonio told Polygon that it is now possible to play Twelve Minutes from start to finish, but there's a lot of work still to be done. From here, Antonio intends to spend the next few months cleaning up the prototype, and updating his development tools to make it easier for his collaborators to contribute. Then the team will work on polishing the writing, animation and character design before building the final art assets, since the look will depend on how the rest turns out.

During PAX East 2015 last March, Antonio said he planned to launch Twelve Minutes in the summer of 2016. That's obviously not going to happen at this point. Antonio isn't giving a time frame for the game's release right now, but it seems that we'll have to wait a long while. He does plan to provide regular updates on the Twelve Minutes blog.

Check back soon for much more from our interview with Antonio, including why he plans to post progress updates even though he doesn't have, say, Kickstarter backers to appease.

Twelve Minutes concept art 2000

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