Forget self-driving cars, Unbox is all about self-delivering parcels

9 Sep, 2016

The North’s games industry has a long and illustrious history that stretches almost as far back as videogames have existed. It thrives to this day, offering everything from blockbuster triple-A hits to tiny indie studios punching above their weight.

Case in point for the latter – Manchester’s Prospect Games, who this week launched a PC title that began two years ago as a weekend hack project.

Unbox is probably the first game ever that casts you in the role of a cardboard box. Set in a world where parcels deliver themselves, you’re a ‘sentient package’ who must find your way to your recipient. Inspired by 90s classics like Super Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie, there’s a real 90s vibe to this 3D platformer. And I’d say there’s more than a touch of 2002’s Super Mario Sunshine in the video below, too (minus the annoying water jetpack).

What’s in the Unbox?

The game launched on Steam two days ago and so far it’s garnered positive reviews from players. But the story of its genesis stretches back to a game jam event in late 2014. The three-man Prospect team had been trying out a bunch of ideas for games to develop as their first commercial project. Inspired by the event’s theme of ‘What’s in the box?,’ they created a basic demo that weekend. On Boxing Day they decided to drop their other projects and focus on turning Unbox into a complete game.

Andrew Bennison, Jack Bognar and Tim Sherliker met while studying games development at the University of Salford. Bognar went on to work for legendary UK firm Codemasters but eventually the three of them rented a flat together and began living and working in the same space to produce games as an independent team.


While Prospect’s headcount has since grown to seven, Bennison says that in total, more than 70 people contributed to Unbox’s development. He says people really got behind the game – from contributing music for free to offering business and legal advice.

In fact, he places some of the credit for the game’s successful launch on Manchester’s collaborative spirit, both within the games industry and more broadly. The city’s transport links and growing tech sector are other reasons Prospect intends to stay based there.

What Prospect does next depends on the reaction to Unbox. While they’d like to bring it to consoles, Bennison says there are plenty of other game ideas they’re keen to develop too, including a possible sequel.

Unbox is available now for PC.

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