Wait, I'm sorry. I think you just said, "Maniac Mansion and Metroidvania." Did you say that? Or was I just dreaming? GO ON, I'M LISTENING.
Okay well, yes, Adventure game legend Ron Gilbert's The Cave combines the varied, differently abled cast and single ever-shifting setting of Maniac Mansion with a large, fully traversable world a la Metroid and Castlevania. After seeing the game in action, I can report that: 1) It stars both a hillbilly and a time-traveler 2) There is grog 3) It looks like a lot of fun.
I went by Double Fine yesterday evening to see The Cave for the first time—a bunch of fellow journalists and I all crowded into Double Fine's well-worn media room as Gilbert fired up the TV to show us the game. We saw the title screen, and immediately, a voice began to narrate.
It went on a bit about the mysteries of life or something, and it soon became clear that the narrator was… a cave. A talking cave? Don't overthink it, I guess.
The game itself centers around seven characters—the monk, the adventurer, the hillbilly, the scientist, the adorable twins, the knight and the time-traveler. Well, the game really centers around the cave, who looks to be as much if not more of a defined character than the seven playable protagonists.
The Cave begins in-engine with the character-selection screen that we've already posted, and which you see above. Each of those seven characters is "looking for something" in the cave—Gilbert was vague, but said that the cave represents a the darkness in each character, something that they have to face to move on.