Oak Park kids and adults alike could soon find themselves earning bonus points and leveling up in a new video game conceptualized and developed by one of their own.
Incarnate: Body, Mind, Soul is the brainchild of Hisham Saleh, 30, an Oak Park and River Forest High School graduate, which could be available for Mac, PC, Linux and Nintendo as early as next year.
“It’s like Final Fantasy Tactics meets Magic: The Gathering,” Saleh said in a recent interview. “If that doesn’t mean anything to you, we say it’s kind of like chess meets poker.”
The fantasy role-playing game, developed under Saleh’s game development company Skeleton Hand, allows players to customize their characters who do battle on 3-dimensional terrain.
“We realized that people like tactics games and card games for a lot of the same reasons,” Saleh said. “What makes Incarnate special is the ridiculous amount of customization that can go into your character. There are four classes with three pieces each (a body, a mind and a soul). There are already 64 unique characters, and that’s without including deck variety.”
Saleh, who graduated in 2006 with a computer science and business degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology, said he’s been interested in problem-solving since he was a kid. As a student at OPRF High School, Saleh “used to make games for the TI-83 calculator in my spare time.”
He originally envisioned Incarnate as a board game, but after shopping it around to friends and family, he was encouraged to redesign the concept as an interactive online video game.
“It’s a 3D tactical strategy game, but the way we were doing it, you just visualized it in your head,” he said.
He said the concept for the game, although not yet released, has gained support on Steam, an online market for gamers, and Incarnate also has been accepted on Nintendo’s platform.
“We submitted our project and the next day we were accepted,” Saleh said.
The game currently has a campaign through the online fundraising website Kickstarter, raising pledges of $6,241 as of Nov. 18. The fledgling gaming company might fall short of its fundraising goal of $48,000 by Dec. 1, but Saleh said the campaign is about building a community of gamers excited about the releaseof Incarnate.
“What’s awesome about Kickstarter is it gets the word out,” he said.