For those of you who have always imagined what it might be like to be a cat, here’s your chance to find out. “Peace Island” — a mix of science fiction, alternative history and mystery — is an open-world video game where players interact with the world and problem solve as cats.
Set on a remote island of Maine, “Peace Island” follows nine cats as they explore the island after their human companions disappear. Developed by Eric Blumrich, the game is nonviolent, as suggested by the title, and interactive, with a focus on discovery, atmosphere and exploration. The game showcases the beautiful views of Maine’s coast and honors the many cats Blumrich has met in his life.
Eric Blumrich is a Maine native that has been working in digital media for a quarter of a century. He has worked on presidential campaigns, for Fortune 500 companies, A-list celebrities and international labor unions. He works with video and animation, imagery and design and also illustration and sculpture. In addition to “Peace Island” he has also developed “Amuse-A-Cat,” an app meant to mentally stimulate cats who are confined indoors so they don’t get bored or depressed.
The story-driven adventure game begins with the cat Elizabeth, who falls asleep while going to the vet and wakes up to an empty apartment. She leaves her house to explore the island with eight other cats — Boy, Gary, Calinaigh, Anin, Girl, Zack, Ronan and Susea.
As the cats roam the island, they must problem solve to gain entry to new buildings and befriend new animals — which isn’t always easy. These side quests are meant to help the cats and players answer the questions: “Where did the humans go?” and “Are they worth bringing back?” To guide the cats, artifacts and documents of an alternate human history are left behind.
As they try to answer these questions, they also have to try and contain a new, invasive, destructive species which might be the key to everyone’s survival.
Elizabeth, who players start out as, is known as the newcomer to the island.
Gary is the island store cat and Boy, a sophisticated tuxedo, is the mayor’s cat. Girl, a gray tabby who is Boy’s sister, is quite musical and the calico, Calinaigh, is the island stray.
Anin, a Siamese, is fiercely independent and Ronan is tiny and agile.
Zach, an orange tabby, is the oldest and wisest and Suesea is the boat cat and ferry greeter.
Each cat has their own strengths and weaknesses, which can be useful for specific quests. Players can return to each character they have unlocked as they desire to help them move forward in the game.
The game world of “Peace Island” is huge with “four distinct communities, woodlands, scenic coastlines, secluded farmlands and crumbling WW2 ruins.”
Peace City Landing is the oldest and largest settlement on the island. It holds the grocery store, library, school, police department and hotel.
Greenwood Farms sits on land once occupied by an amusement park. It also owns and operates the lighthouse on Catnip Ledge.
LaFlamme Fishworks was once the largest employer on the island. However, at present, the small company town is abandoned except for the current LaFlamme descendant and those looking for cheap rent.
In addition to these locations, “Peace Island” has more than 50 other structures, almost all accessible to the cats. Players can explore “homes, studios, offices, abandoned factories, Victorian-era mansions and no less than three museums” as well as a radio station, a newspaper and much, much more.
All of the architecture and buildings are being designed accurately to those found in Maine. The schoolhouse is even directly inspired by the Cliff Island schoolhouse — one of the last remaining one-room schools in the United States.
The game will also feature realistic weather, day and night cycles and interactive fauna like deer, mice, squirrels and other woodland creatures, including insects.
A primary aspect of the game is aesthetics. The developers want to capture the beauty of the Maine landscape.
Development and Progress
The game is currently still in development for Mac, PC and Oculus VR and a beta version was promised for the end of July 2019.
At the beginning of the project, which was supposed to be a small, niche thing, Blumrich set a Kickstarter goal of $7,000. As of now, the project has raised over $13,000 and has 345 backers on Kickstarter. On his Patreon account, there are 1,590 patrons and the project is gaining about $10,000 per month. The amount of publicity and support that the project gained convinced Blumrich to quit his day job and work on “Peace Island” full-time.
Since going viral, several articles have been written about the project and both Amazon and Xbox have reached out expressing interest in the game. On his Patreon, Blumrich posted an update stating, “We will have met with the boring businesspeople, laid out a more cohesive budget and adjust[ed] our goals accordingly by August 8.” He has also released a video demo of the game, which gives a tour of the island and showcases the cats and the beautiful graphics.
So far, the game promises to be both engaging and beautiful, which speaks to the amount of energy and passion the developers are putting into it. Blumrich has expressed that “Peace Island is also a personal homage to the beauty of Maine Islands, and to the cats who I have been lucky enough to meet and share my life with.”