Back in March, I attended PAX East for the first time. It was my first time attending a convention since I went to Toronto’s Anime North in 2016. It was also my first time ever attending with a press pass! I got to talk to a lot of cool developers (such as Nobuyiki Okajima, producer of the EARTH DEFENSE FORCE series) and sample many cool games. One of the games that stuck out to me the most, however, was Binary Space’s GHOUL BRITANNIA: LAND OF HOPE AND GOREY. The brainchild of Binary Space’s lead writer, Jonathan Howard (whom I interviewed), I am greatly looking forward to when I get to try the full version for myself later this year.

What sort of game is GHOUL BRITANNIA, you may ask? Well, from a gameplay standpoint, it’s in the style of a classic point-and-click adventure game. Think of something along the lines of the MONKEY ISLAND series popular in the nineties. By pointing and clicking the world around you, you interact with it, find items, and solve puzzles in order to progress. It’s a style of gaming that was immensely popular during the nineties, before hitting a slump in the new millennium. Since then, adventure games, point-and-click or otherwise, have created a major resurgence. And I believe that GHOUL BRITANNIA will be a part of that resurgence!

So what is GHOUL BRITANNIA all about?

The banner at the GHOUL BRITANNIA booth at PAX East 2019, featuring the protagonist Hope Andrews. Courtesy of Binary Space

So you may be asking, what’s GHOUL BRITANNIA: LAND OF HOPE AND GOREY all about? What kind of name is that? Is it some kind of horror game? Is it some kind of gorefest a la MANHUNT? Are there zombies in it? The answer may surprise you! GHOUL BRITANNIA, as mentioned earlier, is a point-and-click style adventure game, where you interact with the world in order to solve puzzles and progress through the narrative. It’s not really a horror game; at least, the game I sampled at PAX East certainly struck me as funnier than scary.

It has zombies in it, and it takes place in a zombie apocalypse, sure. But you may be wondering: everyone and their dog has created a zombie game at this point. One could argue that they were to the late 2000’s/the early 2010s what World War II games were to the early/mid-2000s.   So what does GHOUL BRITANNIA do that, say, THE WALKING DEAD by Telltale does not? How does it set itself apart from the pack?

The answer lies in its premise.

Zombie Apocalypse? Project Fear!

GHOUL BRITANNIA hope andrews
A screenshot of the gameplay was sampled at PAX, showcasing some of the game’s British language. Courtesy of Binary Space

GHOUL BRITANNIA, you see, takes place in a post-apocalyptic Britain. Or, rather, a post-apocalyptic Brexit Britain. You see, the apocalypse was caused by the disaster of the UK leaving the European Union.

It’s hysterical!

You may be asking, how the hell does that happen? Now, I will readily admit that I am a hardcore Remainer who thinks that Brexit is an act of historic and catastrophic stupidity that will decimate my birth country. But the zombie apocalypse? That’s a bit much, right? The explanation GHOUL BRITANNIA provides is just as absurd as the premise itself. Do note, however, that I am not speaking derogatorily of absurdity here. This game is, at its heart, comedic, and absurdity is a hallmark of British comedy!

Anyway. After Brexit predictably leaves the UK economically devastated, there’s no one left to do the job none of the Brits want to do. Like agricultural work! My dad used to run a cheese business in the West Country, and they even had signs in Polish because they employed so many Poles. He said they were very hard workers. And no EU means no more Polish workers making cheese. God forbid Brits would make their own cheese!

Anecdote aside, with no more EU workers doing these essential jobs, what does Britain’s government do?

This can’t possibly fail!

The UK Ministry of Works decides that, rather than admit Brexit was a total disaster and we should never have done it, decides instead to raise the dead to do the job none of the living Brits want to do.

What could possibly go wrong?

GHOUL BRITANNIA zombie brexit
Oh… (Courtesy of Binary Space)

Predictably, everything goes balls up, as the Brits would say, and the entire country is overrun by a zombie apocalypse. Bet you didn’t see that coming! The story follows a young woman named Hope Andrews, as she travels from what was once Weston-super-Mare all the way across the country to London, or what’s left of it. Along the way, she meets an unlikely ally: Dave Gorey, a zombie (though he insists otherwise) who has somehow managed to retain his sentience and personality. Hence the subtitle of GHOUL BRITANNIA: HOPE AND GOREY!

GHOUL BRITANNIA: Coming Soon and Greatly Anticipated!

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I can’t wait to try the full game when it comes out later this year! (Courtesy of Binary Space)

My time playing the demo of GHOUL BRITANNIA was brief; as much as I’d have liked to play for longer, at PAX, developers and press alike are on a tight schedule, after all. However, the brief time I spent playing the game left me hungry for more. After getting to chat with Jonathan about the game and getting to try the demo for myself, I can safely say this is honestly one of my most anticipated games of the year. And that is not an exaggeration! I’m a sucker for political humor, and GHOUL BRITANNIA certainly will not fail to deliver in that regard.

The release date is currently simply “2019,” and the year is almost halfway done already. But I will be keeping a close eye on this game for its release later in the year. And if you enjoy humorous adventure games, you should, too!

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