We really like Kentucky Route Zero. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s the Ideal Kill Screen Game: aesthetically surefooted, poetic, funny, surreal, and melancholy. (The other pole of this is, like, last year’s Bloodborne, or something.) So when designers Cardboard Computer tease more Kentucky Route Zero in their inimitable, coy way, we jump all over it:
That image is all Cardboard Computer tweeted out. Since their customary pre-episode interlude has already been released (2014’s delightful Here and There Along the Echo) I can only assume this is from Act IV proper. I’m sure I’ll wake up in three weeks or so and a elderly, neatly-suited man will knock at my door. He’ll deliver a bottle of ice-cold milk. A chicken will shuffle into my foyer as I speak to him. Taped to the bottom of the bottle is a USB drive containing Kentucky Route Zero Act IV.
There’s a quote from Martin Scorsese that Cardboard Computer seem to innately understand: “cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.” Kentucky Route Zero has been uniquely interested in frames, from a TV that shows the future in Act I to the transportive, celestial musical interlude in Act III. All we can see here is an apartment block, stretching beyond the frame in every direction, with a single figure standing on a balcony. It’s a prosaic image, but following the more industrial Act III (contrast with the earthier Act I and II) it suggests the scope will be widening even further on the story of Conway and his friends.
But there’s no use trying to divine where Kentucky Route Zero is headed. It’s the most mercurial, exciting, ambitious game going, and we hardly deserve it.