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Image: Annapurna Interactive

One of the many challenges for indie game developers is being pigeonholed into a specific genre, making it important for some developers to subvert expectations by tackling surprising projects.

Why it matters: For developer Ben Esposito, establishing that his new game, "Neon White," is a sharp turn from his previous work has been at the forefront of how he's presented his game.

  • "Neon White", a first-person shooter about slaying demons in Heaven, is his attempt to move away from the wholesome persona he established with "Donut County."
  • Esposito's "kind of ridiculous" goal was to make a game for everyone, regardless of their experience. "Neon White" is the opposite — a game for very specific people, which Esposito lovingly defines as "freaks."
  • By the time "Donut County" launched in 2018, wholesome or cozy games — a relentlessly cute, whimsical genre — had exploded in popularity. Esposito grew tired of being nice: "Let's go ape s--t."

He's leaned into the weird, retro vibe of the game to get ahead of reactions from players who might expect the same from him.

Details: "Neon White" is heavily influenced by anime like "Cowboy Bebop" or "Trigun" — the Y2K Toonami era — and mixes together elements of retro shooters and visual novels.

  • The game is being published by Annapurna Interactive and will launch for PC and Nintendo Switch.
  • "I'm doing this because I'm in a unique position," Esposito says. "I can make whatever I want. And so I'm going to exercise that."

The bottom line: Esposito has leaned into the radical change between games to get ahead of reactions from players who might expect the same from him. "If it's not for you, that's fine," he says. "We don't need you. But if it is for you, it might be your favorite game."

Go deeper

The big face-off between Halo, Call of Duty and Battlefield

"Halo Infinite." Image: Microsoft

The video game horse race to watch this fall is between “Call of Duty: Vanguard,” “Battlefield 2042” and “Halo Infinite,” three shooter games from giant franchises that keep bumping into each other on their way to release.

Driving the news: Two of the expected mega-games will intersect tomorrow, as Activision’s “Vanguard” and EA’s “2042” both run online showcases at 11 a.m. ET to reveal new modes.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
7 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 9 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."