betaworks doesn’t often launch games, but when they do, it tends to stick. Just take Dots, for example, which ended up spinning out of betaworks as its own game studio.
Today, the startup studio is launching its second game in the form of CHKN.
Imagine that Minecraft had a baby with a Tamagotchi from the 90s and you’ll have a pretty clear idea of how CHKN works. It’s a Sandbox game that lets you build not only structures, but actual creatures, all of which have their own emotional features that learn over time.
The game has two modes: creative mode and adventure mode.
In either case, you start with an avatar that represents you. The little guy can wander around and interact with other creatures in the world.
In creative mode, you start with a pre-found inventory of creature ‘parts’ like a head, legs, torso, etc. From there, you can construct a creature out of whatever parts you want, giving him or her an elephant head, a giraffe neck, a tarantula torso and pig legs. Or, you know, something less terrifying.
In adventure mode, you start out with nothing. Your avatar must wander around and search out food and wood to feed themselves and build structures that will help shelter forthcoming creatures. The avatar can also find creature parts to build out their own creatures, or try to collect food and tame an already-existing creature.
What’s interesting is that these creatures are constantly changing, and their emotional makeup is based on their physical makeup. For example, a creature made entirely of snake parts and tarantula parts will be more difficult to tame than an animal made of sheep parts and puppy parts.
What’s perhaps more interesting is that there is no objective or goal associated with either mode of the game. The idea is for players to use their imagination and see where it takes the game.
That’s why betaworks is launching CHKN as part of Steam’s early access program. The more the team of developers learns about the way users want to play the game, the more it will be tailored and tweaked to offer more, different experiences.
For both creative mode and adventure mode, there is a cooperative mode, meaning that users can play with other players across the world. In creative mode, users can create creatures with the help of their friends or other players. Meanwhile, in adventure mode, the cooperative mode may be a tad more dangerous, with users having created fierce pets and structures that may make survival difficult.
You can check out CHKN for yourself here.