About this project
(Note: The demo represents an in-development version of the game. Everything is subject to change and improvement!)
The Rabbit and the Owl is set in the world of Yril, an ethereal world fractured into light and dark. Where a vibrant land once existed now lies a faded shell of its former self. Remnants of an ancient conflict litter the landscape.
Now, two kindred spirits, for reasons unknown, have manifested themselves as the Rabbit and the Owl. You will help guide the Rabbit and the Owl through tranquil forests, harsh deserts, crumbling cities, and more while seeing echoes of the past along the way toward a fateful encounter in the depths of Mt. Rulnar.
The gameplay features a negative space landspace in which the white Rabbit occupies dark areas and the black Owl occupies light areas. Changes to one of their environments inversely affect the other.
The game consists of a series of puzzles that you must solve. There is generally very light platforming. Each level requires you to explore and understand how you can manipulate the environment and how you can utilize the characters' special abilities to reach each of their respective goals.
The game emphasizes thinking rather than hand-eye coordination.
Take a look at some introductory gameplay with commentary:
As you progress through the game, you will discover snippets of stories of those who once lived on Yril in the form of myths, letters, journal entries, and more.
You will also discover art pieces that also provide a visual glimpse into certain moments in time.
Piece these together to discover what happened to the people of Yril and why the Rabbit and the Owl are here now.
Tired of the GIFs? Check out the game in action with our gameplay trailer!
- Interdependent landscape of light and dark
- Painterly artwork by artist Andrew Chen
- Calming, original soundtrack composed by David Huff and Patrick Neff to enjoy while solving fun (i.e. difficult) puzzles
- Each level is a unique combination of mechanics; hours of gameplay
- Thought-provoking, interpretive story
- Controller support
- Game can be fully completed solo, but local co-op (2 controllers or Keyboard/Mouse + 1 controller) will be available if you wish to solve puzzles with a friend
- A few more features to come if stretch goals are reached!
The amazing music that David and Patrick has put out is such an important part of the game. Check out some of our favorite tracks below.
We've already been Greenlit on Steam. We'll be targeting PC, Mac, and Linux for initial release.
We will also port the game to at least Xbox One and PS4 which we hope to do a simultaneous release but due to unforeseen circumstances may release several months after initial release.
Finally, we hope to port to handheld options following console release (3DS, PS Vita, iOS, Android).
Formal Sheep is an independent game development company which aims to create thought-provoking, surreal, and fun experiences. It was founded in March 2016 by Gary Chao. It is currently based near Sacramento, California.
Gary Chao - Creator, programmer, game designer
Gary has loved video games ever since he played his first game, Commander Keen, as a child. Immediately out of college, he decided to follow his dream of creating video games. He spent over a year trying and scrapping game ideas before coming up with the basic mechanics for The Rabbit and the Owl.
Justin Olesen - Level designer
Justin is a lifelong gamer and loves games on PC and every console all the way back to his very first NES playing Super Mario Bros. and River City Ransom. Gary and Justin have been best friends since high school.
Andrew has been gaming since childhood and began drawing after being inspired by the fantastical worlds in games. Gary met Andrew on a trip to Vegas, where all eternal friendships form. He is excited to be able to contribute to the creation of The Rabbit and The Owl's unique world.
David has been deeply interested in music all his life. He has been in a couple of bands of his own and was involved in music education since childhood. In recent years, he developed a passion for music production that is derived not from a desire to create music, but rather from a desire in discovering sounds and constructing atmospheres.
Patrick is currently the Director of Bands, Choir, and Orchestra at Rosemont High School in Sacramento, CA. He is a lifelong pianist and is very excited to collaborate on this project with his good friend, David Huff.
Topher Pirkl is a freelance sound designer for games and live theater hailing from St. Paul, MN. In his spare time he works as a Contributing Editor for Designing Sound, an online magazine focused on sound design across media. In whatever hours he has left, he spends writing horror stories, most of them bad.
If you would like to add specific rewards, you must pledge at the Early Owl tier (the $15 one) or higher to qualify. Add-on values are listed below these instructions.
Step 1: Go to the Kickstarter and click the "Manage" button in the "You're a backer!" section.
Step 2: Increase your pledge in the "Pledge Amount" box by the total value of the add-ons you want to add. Add-on values are listed below.
Note: Do not change the reward tier you are pledged at unless this is what you truly want to do. You would then need to add the total add-on value to the value of this new reward tier.
Step 3: That's it! At the end of the Kickstarter campaign, you will receive backer surveys in which you can answer questions on how you want to allocate the extra pledge amount to add-ons. If you do not answer these, they will be considered as extra gracious donations :)
A digital copy of the game ($10): We will provide a Steam key or DRM-free version of the game.
Original Soundtrack ($10): A digital copy of the game's original soundtrack, composed by David Huff and Patrick Neff. This will be over 60 minutes of great stuff.
Backer credit ($5): We will feature your name (if you'd like) in the game's ending credits. If ordered as an add-on, you can get another "line" in the credits.
Digital art book ($5): A PDF file composed of early to late stage concept art and in-game art produced by Andrew Chen.
Perler bead figurines ($10): Receive a pair of these adorable, handmade figurines of the Rabbit and the Owl.
Stickers ($8): Stick these 2" x 3" stickers of the Rabbit and Owl on your notebook, laptop, or anything else! We're also coming up with additional sticker designs that will come with these current ones.
Buttons ($8): Attach these 1.5" buttons of the Rabbit and Owl to your favorite lanyards, bags, or anything else! We're also coming up with additional button designs that will come with these current ones.
T-shirt ($25): A 3-color t-shirt (white, black, and grey). We can do sizes from S to 3XL. If no size is specified, we'll send an M-size t-shirt.
Poster ($15): Spice up your home decor with a gorgeous 12.25" x 17.25", high-resolution poster of the game's box art.
Hardcover art book ($75): This is the digital art book reward printed out in a high-quality physical hardcover book, signed by our artist, Andrew Chen. There will be developer and artist insights complementing the artwork throughout so you can get an understanding of the process!
Name something in the game: Work with us to come up with the name of a character, place, or event in the game's story. Subject to approval. Cannot be ordered as an add-on.
Art piece idea: Work with us to come up with an art piece for the game's story. Subject to approval. Cannot be ordered as an add-on.
Use your likeness in an art piece for the game's story: We can use your face, silhouette, body shape, etc. to be featured as a story art piece in your likeness. Subject to approval. Cannot be ordered as an add-on.
These stretch goals are nice features that we want to add to the game but will take additional time investment. These will be implemented after initial release as to not delay the game (with the exception of online co-op which we really want to be a release feature).
- $10,000: Dedicated visual effects budget - this will set the bar higher than what we could accomplish just by ourselves
- $12,500: Online co-op - play with a friend so close, yet so far away
- $17,500: Free challenge puzzle pack for all owners of the game
- $25,000: Exclusive co-op campaign - these puzzles would be impossible to solo because you'd have to do things simultaneously
- $35,000: Level editor - share your genius for puzzle design with friends
- $50,000+: (LOCKED) Something really cool!
I've very much been inspired by the overall experience of gameplay, story, and aesthetics that games like Braid, Limbo, and Dark Souls have captured. I wanted to tell a story that could have multiple levels of interpretation. Stories in which you as a player have to piece things together have always engaged me more in depth than if it was just spoon-fed. I've drawn from games like these to create a story in a style where you have to draw direct, indirect, and metaphorical connections among stories and art pieces combined with subtleties in the background environments to see the whole picture.
On top of just the story, I loved the way that gameplay was delivered in these games. The common element is challenge, where things are never as easy as they might seem at first glance. Really, it boiled down to me wanting to make the player think - after all, these are the types of games I love and I know there are others who do too.
I wanted to do a co-op experience specifically because there seems to be an emphasis on competition, e-sports, or PvP in many recent games. I wanted to take a step back and provide a rewarding experience for gamers to play with a friend without always having to compete but instead work together to reach a common goal.
Finally, the direct inspiration for the game's story itself, I think, was a subconscious accumulation of anxieties and stress of my own long-distance relationship with my girlfriend at the time. We were close because of technologies that let us stay in contact like Facebook and Skype, but we were far away physically. The themes I wanted to tackle like duality and balance definitely stemmed from this. The Rabbit and the Owl are close, but always separated by an abstract barrier. Despite this, they help each other constantly and are indispensable to one another. They rely on each other. It's a very bittersweet situation.
It is an absolute blast to work on The Rabbit and the Owl. I'm so excited to share the game with you! We've depended entirely on our supportive friends and family to help fund the game so far, but we've come to a point where there's only so much we can ask from them. With your help, you can make the journey easier for us.
Risks and challenges
The core of the game is done - all of the mechanics and puzzles have been completed. What still needs to be done is everything around it like finalized UI/UX, visual polish, storytelling, and a bunch of finishing touches.
Although the game is guaranteed to be released at least with this current look, we want to strive for a higher bar of visual quality. Extra detailed artwork and animations with interesting effects would make the game look much better but will take more time and care. We don't know if we'll ever be completely happy, but we'll work hard to make the best of the resources we have.
We don't want to just finish the game, we want to make the best possible version of it. That's our priority, so like most game development stories, there may be unforeseen delays in releasing the game. Rest assured the game will be finished as we have come too far just to abandon it (not that we would even think about doing that).Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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