A Shiba Story (formerly known as Year of the Dog) is a cozy game about hanging out with a Shiba Inu in San Francisco.
You are a dog skeptic who is suddenly asked to look after a Shiba Inu named Sunday. With little to no knowledge of how to care for a dog, it's up to you to learn how to take care of him, and maybe even become his friend.
A new furry friend: Meet a Shiba Inu, hang out with him, learn how to take care of him, and possibly even earn his love and respect enough that he lets you dress him up and pet him every once in awhile
Become the Shiba Sage: Does he need to pee or poop? Where does he like to get pets? Learning how to read this dog’s quirks and mannerisms is the key to success. You’ll need to watch for cues to figure out what the dog wants, and master your surroundings to figure out where to take him to get it
Pet the dog: Of course you can pet the dog. But this is a Shiba, so you need to work for it. Make the dog happy by taking care of him, and he’ll let you pet him…and might even start to like you
Get to know the neighborhood: Explore mostly-accurate recreations of parts of San Francisco's Outer Richmond district with your pal.
Be a good neighbor: Befriend and help out the neighborhood's resident characters, and help Sunday make some new friends
More details, screenshots, and GIFs can be found below. If you need more assets, head over here for more stuff.
When is the game coming out?
s o o n
What platforms will it be on?
PC / Mac for now.
Can you give a bit more of an idea of the gameplay and story?
The general scope of the gameplay is performing everyday tasks of dog ownership while exploring the neighborhood / place you’re in with your pal at your side. That may mean visiting local parks or helping out your neighbors, all while you tend to a dog's typical whims and needs.
A core mechanic of the game is learning how to understand the dog’s wants and needs. As you walk the dog, he’ll occasionally signal to you through body language and mannerisms something he wants, and it’s up to you to figure out what to do next. Does he want to pee or poop? What does sniffing the ground mean? What if he’s flailing his paws around like an idiot Which spot does he want to go to? Does he want to get pet on the head or the chest? Help him along and he’ll return your care with love and respect. Fail him and you’ll incur his disdain and wrath. Help him enough times and he’ll even let you pet him for a couple minutes!
Each chapter is a snippet of the life of the player and dog, capturing everyday moments that make up the beauty of life with a dog: stuff like your first walk together, the anxiety of an unexpected trip to the vet, or simply the peace of wandering through the world with your little pal. The framing narrative that bookends each chapter is about how you become a better dog owner, but also about how your relationship with your dog changes you as a person and helps resolve some serious personal conflicts you have in your life.
Can you pet the dog?
Most definitely. But it’s not as easy as a “Pet Dog” button (though technically there is one I guess). The dog will only let you pet him after you help him out with something - take him to the right spot to pee/poop, let him play with one of his friends, for example (see the above question for more details). Once you’ve done this enough times, he’ll reward you by letting you pet him. Shibas are work, ok?
Do you have a [the game is like these other games] style blurb?
The most direct influence is the sort of "everyday life game” template of the Boku no Natsuyasumi series (folks might be more familiar with its cousin Attack of the Friday Monsters, which was actually released in the West). But I also take a lot of inspiration from Pokemon and Nintendogs for pet simulator aspects, the Yakuza games for their way of creating a neighborhood feeling with layers of narrative, and tons of other stuff.
Will there be other dogs? Will there be [insert my favorite breed]?
The Shiba is the focus of the story and there's no option to change him to another breed. There are a couple other dog breeds in the game that you encounter (NPDs: non-playable dogs), though.
Do you have Shiba? Should I get Shiba?
Yes - his name is Kiba and he's a weird one. Most of the game is based on my real life experiences with him. In a sense, the game is a memoir of my life as a subject of this cruel and spiteful dog-king.
Only get a Shiba if you want a dog that ignores you and has no heart. Or if you actually want a cat and not a dog. Mostly kidding - they are great companions, but require a lot of time, patience and discipline. They are the Dark Souls of dogs.