Image: Meeygun Hill and Mary LaPensée
Indigenous owned and operated video game company Achimostawinan Games to launch their first Kickstarter in June 2019 for their newest video game Hill Agency. The Kickstarter project, titled Hill Agency: BARK&byte, will be this company’s first foray into crowdfunding which is fitting as this Hill Agency is also their first major game as a company.
The year is 2262 and you’re, Meeygun Hill, a tough as nails P.I. working in the slums of one of the last major cities in North America. Life is all missing kids and cheating spouses until a dame from the Risen- City barges in and changes your life. Her sister has been murdered and the cops are useless. It’s up to you to find out who the real murderer is. Interview witnesses and suspects, collect evidence, sort out what’s important from the red herrings, compile your case and make your accusations.
That may sound like a textbook noir story, but this game has a twist: it’s a wholly Indigenous-imagined future.
The brainchild of Âpihtawikosisân (Métis) game designer Meagan Byrne and Maliseet animator Tara Miller, Hill Agency was conceived as PURITY&decay during 2017 as an exploration of what a world on the edge of freedom from colonial oppression might look like. Created first as a small game jam
prototype, Meagan didn’t think anything of putting it online but the reaction was immediate and overwhelming: the world wanted to know more.
This positive feedback is what prompted Byrne to seriously start developing Achimostawinan Games, which is Indigenous-owned, but more than that Byrne strives to have a team that is made up of at least 51% Indigenous staff. Byrne says, “Achimostawinan means ‘tell us a story’ in Cree and is the mandate of our company.” Two years after that first game jam, Achimostawinan Games is ready to take that next step and create a prologue, titled Hill Agency: BARK&byte, which they plan to use to secure full funding and a publisher for the full game, titled HILL Agency: PURITY&decay.
“Hill Agency is an exemplary work of Indigenous Futurisms that is sure to speak to many audiences across mystery, noir and cyberpunk” Elizabeth LaPensée, Creator of Thunderbird Strikes
“[W]hile so much detective fiction orbits around what’s wrong with the individual [Hill Agency] examines how personal faults are related to social issues. In this future, colonial trauma is just beginning to heal.
“Things are improving, but nothing is utopic.” Alfea Donato, Broken Pencil Magazine
“At first blush it’s a faithful adventure game with some snappy dialogue to read and decisions to make, but its art and music are immediate standouts.” Austin Wood, PC Gamer