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Death Stranding-like game in works by An Airport For Aliens Currently Run By Dogs dev

Strange Scaffold indie developer Xalavier Nelson Jr. has dabbled enough in dog airports and is pursuing his idea of a strand game next.


An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs was one of the quirkier indie games to have come out in the last year. Strange Scaffold lead designer Xalavier Nelson Jr. made quite an odd game about humans trying to make their way through a dog-run network of galactic airports for non-dogs and non-humans, but it had quite some charm to it too. Now Nelson is putting his eyes on the equally quirky strand genre of game created by Death Stranding and Kojima Productions.

Xalavier Nelson Jr. shared his plans for his next game in a conversation with Kotaku. Reportedly, Nelson is working on a new game called Witch Strandings. Though it didn’t actually begin as an effort to enter the strand genre space, the team at Strange Scaffold started to recognize that what they were creating could be considered similar to the genre.

An early look at Witch Strandings shows beings that definitely need some connections and care.
An early look at Witch Strandings shows beings that definitely need some connections and care.

What does Strange Scaffold consider to be integral to the strand game genre? Three pillars according to Nelson: Nurturing, transportation, and physicality.

The second major pillar which [follows directly from] that is transportation. You care for a world by bringing things from one place to another. And because the world is systemic, and because the world and the entities within it are treated with a priority of care, it elevates this transportation to being more than a series of fetch quests…

The third pillar of a strand-type game that brings this all together is physicality… It’s the way that packages sway on [Sam’s] back. It’s the way that even just microscopic differences in terrain… force you to change the way in which you’re actually navigating. If you take away the Hideo Kojima-ness of that, it’s actually just an overall principle. Once you have care and once you have transportation, if you make that physical and on a moment-to-moment basis, a physical reality for the player to exist within a space, step by step, you have a strand game.” ~ Xalavier Nelson Jr.

So how will that translate to Witch Strandings’ overall design? It still feels too early to tell, but we’ve made arguments about what is or isn’t a strand game before (see our 2020 Shacknews Best Strand Game discussion, re: Bugsnax). Given how interesting of a time An Airport for Aliens Currently Run by Dogs was on Indie-licious, we’re interested to see what Nelson and Strange Scaffold come up with.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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