Return 2 Games Manifesto

As you probably already know, Book of Demons is the first part of a much larger project – the Return 2 Games series. A set of seven unique games, with every title being a tribute to a single hit game from the 90’s.

It’s not easy for us to explain the whole spectrum of emotions that, over the years, have built inside us and later became the foundation for R2G. So, we’ve decided to present it in a different way – an animated manifesto. Hopefully, it will shed some light on the topic and you will find our motivation interesting and insightful. Our team has a long history making various games, and the project we are now working on is a culmination of our experiences and our passion. We also want to make a promise about how awesome the whole R2G series will be.

If you are interested, Joshua Vanderwall from The Escapist Magazine wrote a little piece about it. You can read it here.

So sit back comfortably and either watch a video version of the Return 2 Games Manifesto above or read the text-only version below.


Games are a wonderful and absolutely unique medium. A medium that made a giant technological leap over the last 20 years and that is now delivering experiences unlike anything else. With thousands of titles being released each year on many platforms, the gaming landscape is as thrilling as it is diverse. This really must be the pinnacle of gaming.

Yes, it is impressive, but some people think that it’s just the beginning and that games will soon have even more to offer. We at Thing Trunk also believe so and we want to take part in the shaping of this future. Ironically, our inspiration came from the past. Let’s travel back in time…

Do you remember the first computer game you played? The pure awe and excitement? How it captured your imagination? Chances are the first game you played was technically inferior to any of the games downloaded to your smartphone. It probably had giant pixels, crude mechanics, and silly lo-fi chiptune soundtrack. But if you’re anything like us, the very memory of playing those old games makes you smile and miss that special kind of magical excitement.

This shouldn’t be surprising. It’s not hard to impress a kid, especially one who is presented with a magical adventure machine, full of mysterious places and fearless heroes. Very few things can beat discovering for the first time that it is your actions that affect and shape those virtual worlds. Some experiences are simply unrepeatable and this is why playing games many years later, no matter how technologically superior, is rarely as magical and engaging as it used to be.

But what if it could be? What if we could somehow recapture a bit of this magic and make you feel once more like a kid discovering games for the first time? This is our ambition and the core idea behind the series.

So how are we going to do it? Is it really possible? You probably think this must be some kind of dirty trick. Yes, there will be tricks. Lots of tricks. In fact, we’ve dedicated almost two years to prototyping of new gameplay mechanics and testing different approaches. In the end, we came up with a recipe – a combination of unique gameplay designs and artistic direction that complement each other. Mix that together with uncompromised execution and it will all create an experience that is engaging and novel yet still familiar.

This all sounds very clever, but who is it for? Will it be any fun to play? Let me answer with a question. When playing new games, do you ever sense that you’re not having as much fun as you should be? That the games don’t live up to their hype? Do you ever struggle finding time to master all the quests in the latest DLC of that big AAA hit game you were waiting for? And are you really spending quality time when playing the latest “Angry” mobile game during your daily commute? If any of these questions resonate with you, you’ll want to keep an eye on R2G.

Obviously, Return 2 Games should be a treat for the fans of classic PC games that inspire us, but we are also working very hard to delight gamers who aren’t driven by sentiment, who simply want to have fun. We love how early games weren’t targeted at any specific types of players. We love how developers in the 90’s weren’t afraid to innovate and this freedom resulted in the birth of most of the genres we now play. Today, in their obsessive quest for profits, the mainstream publishers have created an artificial divide between the games for the casual gamer and for the hardcore enthusiast. In the process, many gamers have been alienated, left with nothing to play.

Fortunately more and more independent studios see this problem, and games that cater towards broader audiences are slowly emerging. This is the so-called mid-core segment and we want R2G to be at the forefront of this movement. Games could be so much more!

We want this manifest to be a promise and a statement of our passion. Return 2 Games is an idea that has captured our imagination and we are working diligently to bring it to life. Will we succeed and will it really be that good? Only time will tell, but we are giving our best. So keep your fingers crossed, and visit us often. Because you never know when the gates open and when once more we will all be able to return to games we love!

– Thing Trunk, 2016