What do you get when you combine stunning 2-D animation, anthropomorphic animals and one incredibly dedicated man? Stunning beat ’em up Dust: An Elysian Tail.
For the last eight years, Dust: An Elysian Tail creator Dean Dodrill has been single-handedly crafting an animated feature film set in his world of anthropomorphic creatures.
While the game shares a universe and art style with the film, Dodrill claims it is a spin-off at best, explicitly stating on the game’s website that “the feature film and video game are independent of one another.”
Even so, the game does share another important feature with the film: it clearly demonstrates Dodrill’s intense focus.
Dodrill began work on the game a mere seven months ago, only one month after he took up coding in Microsoft’s XNA game development suite. As a result, his game is now entered in the 2009 iteration of Microsoft’s Dream Build Play contest, which could earn Dodrill a share of $75,000 in cash and prizes and a lucrative development contract with the firm’s Xbox Live division.
Honestly, I don’t know whether to be more stunned that the XNA development suite can churn out such amazing, Disney-esque visuals or that this game was almost entirely crafted by one guy. He admits to hiring outside composers to craft the game’s tunes, but I’m going to assume that was simply in the interest of meeting the contest’s August 6 deadline.
Had Dodrill been given a few more months to prepare, I get the feeling he could have written an entire symphonic accompaniment, or at the very least taught himself enough molecular biology to resurrect Johann Strauss to do the work for him.