Project Sense - 不祥的预感: A Cyberpunk Ghost Story

Created by Benjamin W Widdowson - ProjectSenseDev

In 2083 Neo Hong Kong, a young woman named Mei Lin Mak is dragged into a maelstrom of supernatural horror. As she peers deeper into the century old mystery, Mei will be forced to question her perception of reality and her trust of her cybernetic eyes. Under the neon lights of a cyperpunk dystopia, the ruins of the 'Chong Sing Apartments' hides a bloody mystery illuminated by both the traditions of Chinese folklore and the innovations of the industrial future. If there is any hope of escaping this nightmare, Mei-Lin must explore this complex, piecing together the stories of 14 lost souls, and discover the truth of her own family curse.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

#32 - Demo 3.0 Progress, NPCs, and Neon lights
about 1 month ago – Wed, Feb 20, 2019 at 01:03:19 AM

Hey Everyone! 

This month's update Is a bit light on game details while we finish up our demo, so I wanted to pad it out a bit by showing off 2 new NPCs which will be added to some of our new street locations. Warning: One of them is not what they seem! 

Of course, there was also our little Chinese New Year image you may have seen on our social media as well. We  want to wish you all a Happy 2019 full of both wealth and good health! 

Now, for an update on the demo progress.


The toolkit necessary to continue our work is still in development, so no major progress on the demo content has been made except for the completion of all the key art assets. So once the toolkit is done, we will be able to re-build all the interactions and add in the new content. I do want to make sure to say that we will intentionally be removing all cutscenes (even the ones you saw in the old demos) for 3.0. Many of these will be reworked entirely anyway, but the new ones I want to be fresh and exciting for you when the game is in your hands later this year! Note that these changes are obviously not final, but we want our backers to be able to play the demo sooner than later, and redoing the cutscenes needed will push back the demo date even further.

A Call to Action

If you are reading this then you most likely have at least some interest in Hong Kong, and recognize the one of a kind beauty of the country. Personally, the neon signs are what showed me the true face of Hong Kong. Not the brand name, ultra up-scale shopping districts like Central, but the quiet hidden and forgotten places where you can get the best yam-cha, or find a rare old anime figure for less than $10. These are the areas that you find the famous signs. Neon Light art was not just pioneered by Hong Kong artisans, but also became a key feature of the country. Since the British relinquished Hong Kong to Chinese rule however, many aspects of Hong Kong's identity have been "adjusted" and washed away for various reasons. The biggest and most obvious of these losses is the mass removal of the iconic neon signs. Areas like Sham Shui Po, Jordan, and many others have seen a huge change in the past few years as businesses have closed due to a weak economy, weather related damage, apartment tenant complaints, and some other more tin-foil-hat level causes. Signs that have lit these streets for more than 50 years have been unceremoniously removed and thrown away over night. At the current rate of removal, Hong Kong's neon lights will be gone without replacement within a few years. 

Sad reality stated, there are several groups that have popped up attempting to not just preserve the art of making neon signs, but also purchase, house, and protect the ones that must be removed. The most active one I have found is The Hong Kong Neon Heritage, who has a facebook page you can visit here

Another good one is Neon Signs.HK which is more of a gallery of famous signs and inspired art. But they have been chronicling the removals with photos. 

I honestly don't know if anything can be done to bring the signs back to the streets at the volume of the 80s and 90s, but groups like the HKNH could definitely use some support and love. If enough Hong Kongers see interest from foreigners for this aspect of their culture and history, perhaps a change can be made, who knows. I'm not asking anyone to donate or anything, just go over to those facebook pages and give them a like and comment. The least I can do is ask you guys to share the love. One of my personal goals is to get SUZAKU's official studio sign made by a Hong Kong master some day, I believe that thanks to you guys we will have enough success to do that and help keep the art alive.  

Shout Out! 

Finally, I also wanted to shout out Ron Z's latest kickstarter, which looks awesome Samurai of OZ!

I have backed 2 of Ron's other books and was very happy with the books. Both Patriotika and VS had great art and solid writing. I'm a life-long comic book collector and now trust Mount Olympus Comics more than either of the big 2. Samurai of Oz is far closer to my type of book thematically, so i was happy to back it and highly recommend each of you to check it out!

As always thank you all for your support and taking the time read this long message today. I apologize for having a lot less to talk about regarding Sense's development today, but I assure you very soon we will have a HUGE update for you on that front! 

#31 - Sexy Cyborgs, New Logos, and a special announcement
2 months ago – Tue, Jan 15, 2019 at 10:39:37 PM

Hello everyone! Today we have more exciting news on MANY fronts, so I'll be breaking it all down into sections to keep it all organized. 

First up, I wanted to show off the finalized Logo for Sense. We were unable to find a Hong Kong based graphic designer for a price we could afford, but having a native Hong Konger as wife and co-founder of the studio worked out just fine. With help from Kay's sister we were able to create something that's authentically cantonese and a much better representation of the game thematically and visually. Take a look! 

Sense's new logo
Sense's new logo

Next, I wanted to announce the next collaboration NPC for Sense's neon-lit streets.  Brilliant "maker" and actual cantonese cyberpunk Naomi Wu, who you might know as the "Sexy Cyborg", will be testing out some new DIY tech in up-town Neo HongKong. 

We weren't sure if KS would allow this so we decided to link it off-site. So go check out the image here!

Naomi is an incredibly talented engineer, and a leading voice for bringing girls into DIY,  open source tech, and engineering. She's also a voice for freedom of expression and an open internet. Like Count Dankula, SUZAKU is very proud to extend a hand of friendship to Ms. Wu. 

Finally, I've got a BIG announcement concerning the whole "backer-builds" part of our kickstarter campaign. We'll be announcing the date of our first build very soon!  Our production toolkit is nearly complete, and once it is we can begin implementing a lot of the art, assets, and concepts I have crafted. So much art has been completed over the past few months, so this current bottleneck going away will be a huge gust of wind in our sails. The pieces of the jigsaw have been crafted, and soon we'll be able to put them together, so to speak.

That said, this is how our backer builds will look until launch;

- This first build will include the 2.0 demo content completely adjusted to the final game's logic and chains, and will also include a new segment of gameplay made to show a new gameplay mechanic we'd like your feedback on. We'll label this build Demo 3.0.

- Demo 3.0 will also be made available to the public after the backers (we're open to suggestions on the exclusivity period, and what you backers think is most fair to you, so please feel free to comment below!) We intend to use this new demo to reassure non-backers of the quality and build interest for new potential customers.

- Each build after this will be a short segment of gameplay meant to showcase a mechanic/puzzle/ or event we're testing out for polish and quality. This is where our forums will hopefully become more active and useful. 

All this said, The past few months have been insanely busy, so I hope no one felt like we were too quiet. From the launch of Demo 3.0 we will be very careful with what we show, but will be more vocal about what is happening behind the scenes. As always, thank you all for your continued support and enthusiasm, we look forward to seeing what you think of the new content SOON! 

(Oh, and subscribe to pewdiepie) 

#30 - Holidays and a check in
3 months ago – Fri, Dec 14, 2018 at 06:34:04 PM

Hello everyone! While I just returned from a short vacation I know many of you, including my team mates are getting ready to go on there own holidays. We do have a big surprise for you guys early next month, so rest assured Christmas is not interfering with development! 

Next thing up is a little bit of showing off. Many of you following us on twitter may know that we have had some crossovers with a few cosplayers, game developers and internet personalities. Today I wanted to share a look at 2083's biggest free speech advocate and professional dog trainer, Dankula. 

Bit of a small update this time, and I apologize for that, so many pieces of art have been completed behind the scenes, but sharing too much would definitely not help us in the long run. That said, I hear Jan 15th-ish could be a bit more exciting. 

#29 - Sony & Censorship
5 months ago – Thu, Nov 08, 2018 at 11:37:48 PM

Hey everyone, we know this has been a topic of concern, so thank you for your patience with everything so far; we've gone over the topic, and had some thoughts about the ongoing situation regarding Sony's apparent change in content policy. 

As you can imagine, we wanted to make sure we understood the situation and were transparent about this, and fair to all parties involved as we formulated our thoughts on things. This is a curious issue, and one that could lean to a lot of issues dependent on our reaction, so we didn't want to jump the gun and rush an official response.

The mission statement of SUZAKU is to be bold in who we are and make games that exist outside the typical sphere of western AAA games, in ways the industry most certainly would not associate themselves with. This means bringing back the fun, SEXY, and awesome visuals and ideas of the long gone 90s and early 00s. As such, these potential policies may not have directly worried us, but were certainly concerning; however, as of writing this update, Sony has neither reached out to us nor demanded any changes. However, of course, we are not yet to a stage in development where that would naturally occur as well, so we really cannot say whether or not any of this will be a problem for us and Sense going forward. Furthermore, from our observations, these policies have seemed rather scattered and inconsistent, so we also unfortunately can't exactly anticipate any potential outcomes for better or for worse. The following is the official view of SUZAKU on the topic;

On Censorship - Freedom of Speech, freedom of thought, freedom of expression. Nothing is more important to art and the medium of video games. NOTHING. forced censorship is not just wrong, it is abhorrent. It stifles creativity. It stops growth. Censorship is a cancer, because the only things that proliferate under that kind of environment are boring, gray, dead lumps that eventually destroy the host. Censorship will kill our industry and our hobby if we let it. More than that it will destroy an entire generation or more of storytellers and artists. Fight censorship tooth and nail anywhere you see it. That said;

On Sony - I love Sony. I am a long time Sony fan and avid buyer of their products. I have no way to prove one way or another the specifics regarding whether SIE has suddenly implemented any kind of new policies regarding censorship or sexual content. I also have no reason to disbelieve what multiple developers are saying, and what is being reported on the topic. If this policy is as I've heard, it is a massive misstep and breach of my trust as a long time supporter and customer. However, requiring a developer to meet certain standards with their product in order to have access to their platform is not censorship. It is content curation. Unfortunately, the decision to censor comes from the developers themselves. Is Sony forcing the developer's hand? Of course. Is our hand being forced? Not yet, but if Sony requires some kind of editing on our part, then yes. Is it ethically wrong? 100%. Is there anything we can do? As long as I want to release Sense on a Sony product, no. Sony has the right to dictate their standards, who they chose to do business with and how. They are also the largest shareholder for the audience, and we would be incredibly stupid not to forge a relationship with Sony, and make sure we have a stable future with them. Why?

On our future - change takes some level of clout, power, and numbers. a brand new studio with one game in development by a few relatively unknown developers does not have the ability to fight these type of decisions if it means risking the future of their studio.  A SUCCESSFUL, well-funded, and trusted developer does have the ability to start speaking up and being vocal. A studio with a solid, well received game and killer I.P. has the ability to point to their success and say "do you want this on your platform or not?"; They might just decide to be console exclusive to a certain handheld with detachable controllers for their sequel game if it means not having to censor anything. Do I want Sense to be exclusive to one console(and/or PC)? Of course not. But with proof of an audience comes bargaining chips. That said, if Takaki couldn't get it done, then perhaps the future is decided. We are really hoping that Sony reverses course on this decision, or at least clarifies their position. 

On our decision - With all of this laid out, I want to be very clear about what will happen if Sony demands any content edits. 

  • Any edits and censorship required by Sony to release on the PS4 and VITA will be made as needed. We do not anticipate in an absolute worst case scenario this will be anything beyond minor edits to art, but it's still something which we wanted to prepare for.
  • The game will remain unedited on PC and Switch, regardless of distribution platform.
  • We will be extremely clear on what content was cut and how it is being changed, and the art book will feature cut art so that you will be able to see it clearly. 
  • Every person who backed the kickstarter or pre-ordered the game on PS4 or PSVITA will receive a digital Nintendo Switch or PC copy for free (PC via steam or direct download). 

Sadly, at this early stage in SUZAKU's life we just cannot take a hit on potential fans, feedback, and support by losing the Sony platform for our first game, ESPECIALLY since so many of you pledged specifically for the Vita & PS4 releases. I have been looking forward to being on a Sony console, this has been my dream since I was a kid playing Metal Gear and Resident Evil on my brother's PS1. So as you can imagine this is a bit difficult for me personally. If all goes well none of these issues will effect us and Sense will release without any changes. 

I sincerely hope you all understand the position we have taken. I hope that no matter what happens you will support us and help SUZAKU become big enough to help move the industry back to the open, free, and creative field it SHOULD and CAN be. I know it may not be what you were looking for and I know it may all be completely useless as we are several months out from even needing to worry about this issue. We just felt it was important to clarify everything and make our position known while the storm is still swirling overhead.


Note From Top Hat Studios, Inc.:

We stand alongside SUZAKU's decision and position regarding censorship, and it is important to us to allow associated, partnered developers on our label to be able to express their beliefs on such and make these decisions for themselves. Personally, we're also disappointed with this decision, and will continue to inquire about further information in regards to it, as well as continue to be transparent with any games - including Sense - which we publish on the PS4 & VITA Platforms. We do not anticipate that this will effect anything in a serious fashion, but as Ben stated, we are prepared for a slight delay on Sony platforms in a worst case scenario if certain edits are requested by Sony. While we are very happy to be partnered with Sony and value their partnership immensely, we think this is a policy misstep - and much like Steam is opening itself to new content - we hope Sony will rethink this decision in the near future. Unfortunately, as Ben said above, we aren't big enough either to be able to bargain with the wider industry on these topics, and thus are at the mercy of platforms we distribute through and partner with. We understand a lot of these issues end up hurting the consumer the most in the end, which is why we're especially disappointed with this change in policy. As such, we'll do our best to honor additional copies for PC or Switch to dissatisfied backers who backed on PS4 or Vita, as mentioned above. This should not effect physicals at all, so there's no need to worry about that. To sum up again, we deeply resonate with the idea of freedom of expression and unbound creativity, and will do our best ourselves to uphold these tenets, even if the cards dealt to us are less than ideal at times.

#28 - Happy Halloween! + (VITA/PS4 Preorders on Backerkit!)
5 months ago – Thu, Nov 01, 2018 at 12:59:38 AM

As above, Happy Halloween to all our backers! 

In the spirit of the day, I'd like to start off with a look at Mei's Jiang-Shi costume sketch. 

will she bounce?
will she bounce?

The costume will have several unique animations and possibly an ability or two (depending on what we manage to make work). No matter how we make it work, unlocking this costume will certainly be quite the spooky task! 

As far as other progress, a lot has been made! No in-game footage/previews yet, but a ton of assets and objects have been painted up and implemented. Once all the locations for a floor have been completed, we will then be adding in game logic, puzzles, and chains to it; but of course, the art comes first. Since floors can be very large, this is quite the exponential task. So just a heads up, it will likely be a few more weeks before we have anything super solid to show beyond some previews. That said, expect a testing build for backers sometime by the end of the year - pretty crazy that it's already almost 2019!

hallways are not fun to paint, but someone's gotta do it
hallways are not fun to paint, but someone's gotta do it

In the meantime, we also have a bit of GREAT news. Our Sony devkits have arrived for both PS4 and PSVITA! We're getting some stuff setup with them, but in the meantime, this means we are happy to take preorders for physical copies of the game on those platforms! If you have been waiting for these, head on over to the store here;

Since we're sure we'll get questions about it, yes, Switch ones will be coming in the near future! We're still working to get a few things worked out prior. We assure you, good progress is being made on that front though!

As always, thank you all for following our progress and sticking around! I cannot wait to show you what we have planned later this year - and beyond!