Meet the Factions: Hermes

The heart of the all-seeing eye

The existence of Hermes is certainly nothing new. But since you began to perceive magic, you’ve noticed there’s something… odd… about the internet. Sometimes you feel like the search engine is watching you. Sometimes you have the strangest dreams if you’re browsing too late at night.

Robo-Robbie, by Jon Hunt

Hermes. The biggest tech conglomerate in the world. Your ISP. Your webmail. The most popular search engine. A line of phones. Petasus, the largest web retailer. New projects like H-leaks, an archive of leaked information on corporate corruption they maintain as a source for the common good; or the controversial H-spec augmented reality glasses. Hermes is everywhere, helpful, innovative, free when possible, affordable when not. It’s not a monopoly if they have competitors in every individual service they provide, right? Competitors who never manage to do as well as they do?

Agent Mandalia, by Mandy Jürgens

But there’s more you don’t realize until a black-suited woman you’ve never met before saunters up to you in the favorite bar of the supernatural community and asks you how it’s hanging. That’s how you meet Agent Mandalia: she’s on a mission to taste every form of alcohol in the world, has a tarantula called Robbie, and yes, her first name is Agent. And she’s here to offer you a job. Step into the world of spies, working for Homeland Data Management, because your skills have caught their eye. How, you don’t know. How she leaves herself as a contact on your phone, you don’t know.

It’s nothing too sketchy, she promises. No renditions, no assassinations, just perfectly legal surveillance. Good steady work.

Perfectly legal surveillance conducted with all the data collected by the biggest tech conglomerate in the world. Because ever since an obscure government ruling, HDM has had access to everything Hermes knows. Agent Mandalia works for the joint office. And now, if you choose to drop down this rabbit hole, so do you.

Oluchi, by Duncan Eagleson

Then again, so does Oluchi Emeagwali, and you can’t imagine any organization that Oluchi Emeagwali would work for being all that bad. A brilliant scientist and mage, specializing in cutting-edge robotics and AI, friendly, outgoing, devoted to the common good. About the only flaw he has, far as you can tell, is being a workaholic. He has a pet robot spider he built for fun. Agent Mandalia calls it Robo-Robbie.

Your boss–well, he’s a little more like what you’d expect from a strange joint surveillance office of technological spies. Ethan Rye is brusquely professional, a career operative, but for all that he’s a hardass in some ways, he’s very level-headed and tolerant of his office of eccentrics. He also just might be a werewolf.

Ethan Rye, by Marty Kulma

But the rabbit hole keeps going down and down. You have no idea where Ethan stands in the chain of command, or what he does when he’s out of the office for weeks at a time. The internet, Hermes is discovering, has a mind of its own: spontaneously emergent sites that appear and disappear in the bowels of the deep web, defying indexing or categorization. And you still don’t know who that man you met in your dreams was, with the dark eyes and the wide smile and the polo shirt, but for some reason you keep expecting to turn an office corridor and find him…


Play in the Hermes faction, or one of 9 others, in Susurrus: Season of Tides.

“Angels of Our Better Nature”: Our first premium story content is live!

Tufayyar, by Duncan Eagleson

For the first time in Susurrus: Season of Tides, we are offering premium story content! We have contracted with Bram Stoker Award-winning horror writer Michael Marano to create a novella-length interactive story within the game, and “Angels of Our Better Nature” is now available for $4.99.

This artfully crafted, novelistic experience will carry the player along into a vast and totally new exploration of the lore of our world. In the course of a routine mission for L, you stumble across a terrifying ritual. There’s cult activity afoot, and it’s using unusual means to tear out pieces of the human psyche. This horrific desecration of the spirit draws you into a desperate race to prevent further atrocities and save innocent lives.

“Angels of Our Better Nature” is illustrated entirely by our art director Duncan Eagleson, known for his work on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics as well as decades of book and album covers, graphic novel work including Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour, and countless other projects in the TV, film, and music realms.

The story was edited and assembled by Phoebe Roberts, our writer and writer-wrangler, who is an emerging playwright best known in the local Boston scene for her Victorian lady-Batman series, Mrs. Hawking.

This exclusive content is available now in the Susurrus store; you can also acquire it (along with other in-game goodies) if you become a patron of our Patreon at the $10/month level.

Play at SusurrusGame.com now and go to the Store to get the 399 Crystals you need to play this epic questline! Once you unlock the story, go to the Brookside location to begin.

If you’d like to hear more from the author’s mouth about the process of developing the story and working with artists to create a cohesive product, read more at Michael Marano’s blog.

Play Susurrus: Season of Tides

This Black Friday, support your local creators on Patreon!

We know, lovelies. We know that the retail giants call to you, their tendrils waving sinuously, their guttural howls nigh-impossible to ignore. We know they cry to you with their bells tolling the year’s end, their slick, capitalist voices enveloping you in cinnamon-scented ichor and commercial lust.

We know, darlings.

But this Black Friday, perhaps a better way to spend your dollars would be to support those creators – like ourselves, coincidentally – that make the art you want to be a part of. Perhaps you – yes YOU – wish to become a part of that writhing mass of teeming souls – uh, that is, the discerning and self-selecting group of independent persons – who directly help us make our game continue to happen.

As the holiday shopping season grinds lurchingly to life, we ask you to consider becoming a Patron at our Patreon page

Also, don’t you want to do what Adric asks you to?

We have been working hard on improving Susurrus: Season of Tides and bringing it to its full potential. We’ve revised the UI, and will continue to tweak it as time goes on. We’ve added new premium content, by award-winning horror writer Michael Marano.

But to keep making this game – while still letting it be free to play – we need the help of people like you, people who love strange things, who appreciate literary games, who want their interactive experiences to be rich and full, like the fine Syrah offered in that screenshot…

So please, consider heading over there and joining the other wonderful folks who have already chosen to support us on a monthly basis. We will be thrilled to have you join the collective.  Patronage starts at just $1 a month. And, if you support us at higher levels, you might even get to see yourself in the game.

Haven’t you always wanted that…to be part of someone else’s game…

Meet the Factions: The Gandolfinis

Nice mansion. Be a shame if anything happened to it

You knew about them almost before you knew anything else about this magical world you’ve found yourself swimming in: The Gandolfinis, the most influential crime family in the city. They’ve been around for generations, keeping a quiet handle on things: influencing the government, doing “business,” and, you figured, getting rid of people they didn’t like. But you never fully understood the extent of that last one until you walked out onto your street that morning, the morning before you changed, before everything changed. There was a face in the sidewalk, moving in slow agony, that you hadn’t been able to see before. “Poor guy pissed off the Gandolfinis,” a passer-by told you. Now, you can’t un-see it.

Mr. Ferri, by Duncan Eagleson

Since you’ve become a part of this magical underworld, the choices you’re making have been attracting attention. There are powerful forces at work, and they are looking for fresh recruits. Depending on your actions, you might receive a visit from Mr. Ferri.

He’s neat and unassuming in appearance, well-dressed but his suits are old, starting to go out at the elbows. He speaks in a way you know is designed to make you trust him.

You don’t trust him.

But if life on the inside of a major crime syndicate appeals to you, you can go to work for them.

Priscilla Gandolfini, by Jon Hunt

They have a rather strange setup at the moment. Outwardly, they’re an Italian crime family like any other you might have heard of. Inwardly, they’re torn by a fundamental division: between the old and the new, the cautious and the aggressive, and – strangest of all – the mythical and the real.

The house patriarch, Giancarlo Gandolfini, has a peculiar delusion, you see. Or else, a peculiar plot that looks a lot like a delusion. He has decided – and Mr. Ferri is determined to promote the idea – that he is the literal god Pluto, of Greco-Roman Underworld fame. Which makes Priscilla Gandolfini – his niece, and current face of the organization – Persephone.

Cheryl Gandolfini, by Duncan Eagleson

But in spite of Mr. Ferri’s own insistence in the matter – after all, his name and position both lend themselves well to the role of Charon – Priscilla is not pleased with the development. When you are called to the mansion to meet the rather grand lady, you can see that she is caught in something larger than herself – something she is trying hard to steer back toward sanity.

And then there’s the family’s three-headed hound, the 20-something siblings who haven’t quite decided what side they’re on. You know little so far except that they’re dangerous, but maybe the thing to do is get on their good side. Help them out, and maybe they’ll help you out.

The one thing you know for sure is that the only thing you want less than a pair of concrete shoes…is an entire concrete life.


Play with the Gandolfini faction, or one of 9 others, in Susurrus: Season of Tides.

Meet Red, the “young” vampire

Red, by Duncan Eagleson

Nice kid, that one who calls himself “Red.” Not something you ever thought you’d be saying about a vampire, but then, a few weeks ago you didn’t know you’d ever say anything about a vampire in real life. It’s just another sign of how strange things have gotten lately, that this toothy teenager with the eponymous shock of hair ignites a protective streak in you, fangs and immortality notwithstanding.

You met him in the close and quiet aisles of Conliffe, the antiques shop you’ve come to frequent when you’re looking for magical artifacts, or another clue from Rhys’ notebook of anomalies. While the proprietor eirself is a bit off-putting, Red is the opposite: sweet and welcoming and a little too open.

He tells you, if you ask, about how he was changed at the young age he now finds himself at for eternity. Some kind of joke, apparently: something an older, crueler man thought it would be cute to do the kid he was supposed to have taken under his wing. Red tells it without a trace of anger; it was a long time ago, but you feel it, just a bit, on his behalf. It’s the way he looks down when telling it, smiling slightly in that way that tells you it hurt him, but he doesn’t yet know you well enough to show how much.

You can’t help but wonder, too, whether one can ever truly get over something that happened to them at a young age, when they never get to leave that age.

In spite of all this, Red’s sunny disposition seems entirely genuine. He loves his work, loves his boss, and makes the best of every situation. Maybe, you think, getting to be a sweet young thing forever isn’t the worst thing that could happen to a person.

Definitely not the worst thing. You’ve seen many worse things in the past while.

But still you wonder. Who he was before. Where else he might have ended up. What he’ll do if Rhys decides to move on, what he might get mixed up in.  Whether wisdom comes with age even for those who don’t age. Whether his pluckiness and cheer are truly evergreen.

Whether he’ll survive what’s coming.


Learn more about Red, Rhys, and countless others when you play Susurrus: Season of Tides!

Just how Cosmic is that Coffee?

There’s one on every corner, or so it seems. That retro spinning Saturn; that loopy text: Cosmic Coffee calls your caffeine-fueled cells home to its embrace most weekday mornings. True to its name, it seems to be not just the center of the universe but also its edges, and like the universe, its edges are ever-expanding.

This was not always so.

Another company so pervasive as to constitute some percentage of the air you breathe, The Keane Candy Company, also wasn’t nearly so popular in the past.  Founded nearly eighty years ago, its products did not receive wide distribution until it was bought by a certain food service giant. The same one, of course, that owns Cosmic Coffee and many other familiar brands.

Keane Candy. You know, Tum-Tums? Small, spherical confections, the bag-bottom detritus of any Halloween haul, and the lollipops you’ve seen on the desk of every bank you’ve ever been to. Cheap sweets, the sop to every impatient, fidgeting child who has ever had to wait for their parent to finish doing their boring, adult business. If you look inside the wrappers, there are sometimes coded messages. Most take no notice, thinking it akin to a cereal-box-top marketing game, a toy in the package of caramel corn.

Look deeper.

In your local Cosmic Coffee – the one you frequent – there’s a barista with iridescent eyes and a beard of prey. He’s always been nice enough, but there’s also always seemed to be more to him. Or rather: since that morning when you woke from the dream, the morning that began the descent into all this madness. The morning you became what you Are now, what you had no choice but to become.

He knew you. He saw you, somehow. Even if you managed to evade his deeper scrutiny, you know you didn’t get by him that day, not completely. He’s one of you, somehow. These days, you can always tell.

You’re not sure what that means about Cosmic Coffee, or Keane Candy, or any of the other products that make up the warp and weft of mundane, modern reality. There’s an overlay to everything, now, a transparent glow of the non-mundane. Everything seems infused with it, these days. What are they putting in the coffee? What do the symbols on the candy wrappers mean? Would you like to see the secret menu?

How deep does it all go?

Look closer.


Go deeper into the mystery. Play for free at SusurrusGame.com

Join Susurrus at IndieCade!

We continue to be tickled senseless by having been selected for IndieCade this year! We know not everyone lives in Los Angeles, or can even make it if they do, but we want to encourage those who can attend to come see us in the Library of the Japanese American National Museum, starting Friday October 6 at 4pm!

For those who can’t join us, please tell your friends about it! If you are an indie developer, are friends with indie developers, or just love Susurrus and want others to play it, spread the love around. Use the hashtag #IndieCade17 on Twitter and other social places, and tag us @SusurrusGame.

We’ll be appearing along with the cult hit Dream Daddy, fellow text-driven mystery The Black Widow, based on the story of one of the first lady serial killers, and other awesome text-driven games that take a retro form and turn it toward new ends.

See the full lineup of games here!

It’s a crazy honor to be chosen, of course, but it’s also just awesome to be able to go to this gathering of the people who are riding the edge of the game industry today, and show off this thing of ours, with its dense, rich writing and its wacky cast of characters who break genre, gender, and any number of other norms. We love this little game, and we’re looking so forward to showing it to other people who, we hope, will see it the way we do.

And in case you haven’t seen it yet: play the game for free here, on any browser.

 

As requested: More of ‘L’ in Susurrus

Last week’s game update included, per player feedback, another quest to go on with ‘L,’ the mysterious vigilante who shows up to kick fifteen shades of ass shortly after your character’s awakening in Susurrus: Season of Tides. We like her, too.

For us, L is one of many examples in our game of characters who break certain molds for video game heroes. She’s female, for one thing; while female protagonists and supporting characters are on the rise in video games, it’s still somewhat rare to see a woman character show up in-game who is there to give beat-downs to bad guys without also being a skintight-clad sex object. (Not that we have anything against skintight outfits, but really, other outfits truly are possible!)

It’s also less than common for such a character to appear who doesn’t make some kind of move on the player character. While we plan, in the near future, to make certain NPCs romance-able, we also find it tiresome that the assumption for female characters continues to be that they show up to be the love interest.

So it’s not all that surprising that our player feedback tells us they love L: female, fiercely competent, combat-equipped, straightforward, and interested in how you can help her in the work she’s already doing. Granted, this shouldn’t be a rare thing, but at present, it still is.

There are more mysteries that are apt to unfold about this somewhat epic fighter; get to know her a bit better, and you’ll learn some interesting things about why she dresses as she does, and how she got so powerful. Find her in the latest update, and stay tuned for more character development, more story arc, more quests, and, well, more as we continue to add content to the Early Edition, every two weeks!

Play for free, now:

Play Susurrus: Season of Tides

Come see us at BFIG!

BFIG logo
BFIG logo

This Saturday, 9/23, from 9am to 6pm, we’ll be at the annual Boston Festival of Independent Games, affectionately known as BFIG.

This surprisingly giant event occupies two floors of MIT’s Johnson Athletic Center, with the digital games on the top floor and the tabletop games downstairs. We’re going to be in a row of booths along the far right wall of the digital showcase floor, so come say hello, get a button, watch our nifty art reel, and try out Susurrus: Season of Tides!

To get tickets in advance, go to this page – they’re only $15! You’ll get to see a boatload of the Boston area’s best indie tabletop and digital games, all in one place, and vote on your favorites for a chance at a coveted Figgie award!

We’re proud to be there helping support this awesome local outfit, and we look forward to seeing you there, in your awesome local outfits. Or something. Wait. Yeah, sure, that works.

In the meantime, check out what we’ve been working on, and join our mailing list for regular updates on how we’re making Susurrus even better!