No, that hand crank doesn’t power the system.
Panic Inc., known for publishing Firewatch and the upcoming Untitled Goose Game, has announced Playdate: a bizarre, yellow handheld system with crank controls and weekly game releases.
Playdate uses a 2.7-inch, 400×240 black-and-white screen, features a d-pad and two face buttons, includes the aforementioned hand crank controls, will feature twelve brand new games, and is set to be released sometime in 2020. Teenage Engineering partnered with Panic to design its signature crank.
The new games are being kept secret until they appear on Playdate, but Panic revealed that creators Keita Takahashi (Katamari Damacy), Zach Gage (SpellTower), Bennett Foddy (QWOP), and Shaun Inman (The Last Rocket) are among those who are making games for the device. Some of the games use the crank exclusively, while others don’t use it at all – it can be tucked into the side of the device when not in use.
One image (included in the slideshow above) shared by Panic showed the title screens for four games: Bennett Foddy Presents Zipper, Crankin’s Time Travel Adventure, 360 and Executive Golf DX. Panic also shared a gif on Twitter demonstrating how the system works with Time Travel Adventure, where a wind-up man is late for a hot date, and needs to be cranked up to get there in time. However, players need to time his movements to get there safely, and if he’s late, a wind-up woman suplexes him.
The device will ship in early 2020 and cost $149 USD, with all twelve Season One games included in that initial cost. Those interested can sign up via a waiting/email list on Play.Date to be first in line to preorder the device when ready.
For more from Panic, check out our Firewatch review, where we called the Campo Santo-developed game “Amazing” saying “Firewatch is among the best of the ‘walking simulators’ thanks to stellar writing, art direction, and voice acting.”
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Colin Stevens is a news writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.