Play Soccer While you Explore a Community in Despelote

Hi there. My name is Julián, and I’m the lead developer of Despelote – a slice-of-life adventure about childhood and soccer in Quito, Ecuador in the year 2001. Myself and the team are happy to stop by the Xbox Wire today to announce that our game is coming to Xbox Series X|S in 2024. We’re also able to announce today that Despelote will be part of Tribeca’s 2023 Festival Selection and that the game will be published by Panic, who helped bring  Untitled Goose Game and Firewatch to the world.

While Despelote is very much a game about soccer, you won’t really find yourself playing a full soccer match or even needing to understand the rules. Instead,our game focuses on the inherent fun of being a kid, just kicking around a soccer ball with your friends while you’re out and about, talking about your day at school… and maybe annoying your neighbors in the process.

It’s the year 2001, and Ecuador is on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup. Ecuador had never qualified for the World Cup before, and as a country just recovering from a massive financial crisis, the idea of qualifying has filled the community with hope and optimism. Learning about the people of Quito as you play soccer with your friends, and feeling that energy from your community as you explore is what Despelote is all about.

Together with my friend and artist Sebastián Valbuena we set out to make a game that is not only visually distinctive, but also one that communicates a strong and specific sense of place. This is partly because Despelote is a semi-autobiographical game, as I grew up in Quito, Ecuador around this time, so it was important to me that we get it right. You also play as a young boy named Julian, but he’s not directly a one-for-one mirror of me!

Despelote screenshot

To give players a true picture of Ecuador, we took photos and recorded audio during trips to Quito that are now used in the game for items such as building textures and conversations you’ll hear as you explore the streets. Sebastián is also doing an incredible job of hand drawing our characters, as well as the animals you’ll run into during your time in Quito. The game is also fully voice acted in Spanish, with localized subtitles depending on your preference.

So that’s Despelote: a bittersweet and sometimes dreamy semi-autobiographical tale about how soccer can impact a place and its culture. We hope you stop by and visit Quito when it is released on Xbox in 2024. ¡Garcias, y cuidense!

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