I won’t bullshit you: This has been a slow week for Kickstarter. Most of the interesting projects have already been funded, and other developers are waiting until E3 is over to submit their campaigns—I don’t blame them. That’s why I decided to search other crowdfunding websites in order to find something I could use for two of my three entries. It took a little digging, but I believe I managed to find some interesting new projects this week.
Project By: SaintandSimon
Current Funds: $2,995
End: June 29, 2014
What do you usually think of when you imagine video game development? I typically think of lines of code, drawing tablets, and an office. Simon Karlsson and Fredrik Mårtensson, on the other hand, used hand-made paper sculptures for their adventure game, A Song for Viggo. Well, I guess this opens up a new realm for what’s possible in video game development.
A Song for Viggo may look like an arts and crafts project, but it is actually a tale about unfolding depression. The main character accidentally killed his son, and he and his family have no choice but to continue with their daily lives. While he admirably attempts to maintain a normal life, he ultimately struggles as it crumbles like paper. Throughout the game’s five chapters, players must balance maintaining their marital life, paying the bills, doing the chores and refusing to give in to suicidal thoughts.
In this adventure game, players will explore 40 areas—all of them made out of paper. The idea is that there will be no binary yes or no answers for the father’s problems. The example Simon gives is that the daughter, in the midst of her depression, wants mayonnaise, even though she’ll have an allergic reaction. Obviously, you shouldn’t let the daughter have the mayonnaise, but it’s not as if you’ll feel you made the right choice. You may have stopped her from having an allergic reaction, but she might hate you for the next few days. The melancholic piano music from your wife, which serves as the game’s soundtrack, certainly doesn’t make things easier, even though it is hauntingly beautiful.
A Song for Viggo is the kind of game I look for on Kickstarter. It already distinguishes itself with its meticulously crafted paper sculptures, but it also tackles subject matter that isn’t explored often in a video game. Most protagonists or anti-heroes carry out their revenge by saving the world and then calling it quits. With A Song for Vigo, life goes on, and these characters won’t have the luxury of experiencing a climatic closure.
Project By: Cowardly Creations
Current Funds: €729
End: June 15, 2014
I become annoyed when someone claims that the survival horror genre needs to be saved. Survival horror isn’t going anywhere—but that’s an article for another time. The indie community has embraced survival horror, and is either attempting to recreate their childhood games or create something new. And as with Lone Survivor, Uncanny Valley is out to prove that even pixelated horror can be terrifying.
Uncanny Valley tells the tale of a security guard named Tom who is always stuck with the night shifts. Tom grows understandably bored at his job, and he decides to explore the off-limits areas in his building. Cowardly Creations hasn’t revealed any more plot details in order to avoid spoilers, but I can say that I’m feeling a The Shining vibe from Uncanny Valley.
Like A Song for Viggo, Uncanny Valley wants you to live (maybe) with your consequences. You might be able to survive if your attacker wounds you; however, you might suffer a permanent injury for the remainder of the game. This is an interesting way of alleviating some of the frustrating aspects of combat found in Silent Hill or Resident Evil while creating a new way of scaring the players.
Uncanny Valley is born from the efforts of two college kids. They’re asking for €5,000 to help balance their work, school and development life. With Indiegogo, however, they’ll still receive a portion of the funds, even if they don’t meet their goal. This game will continue, but I’m sure Cowardly Creations would appreciate being able to cover their subscription to access Adobe’s software.
Project By: Pixel Heart
Current Funds: $13,837
End: June 10, 2014
I enjoy any information I can obtain about video game development. Interviews are usually sufficient in this regard, but film can provide more in-depth information about not only the process behind designing video games but also the developers and their creative process. This is what Pixel Heart is about: showing us the “human aspect” of developing video games.
Pixel Heart’s Charles is the author and co-director of this documentary. Charles, who has worked with Ubisoft on Just Dance, understands that video game development takes place world-wide—not just in North America and Japan. This is why Charles will travel around the world to interview six developers with real-world experience. Some of these developers have worked on hit titles such as The Sims, Little Big Planet, Journey and more; but the main focus is on each developer’s creative process.
After Charles has introduced the audience to these developers, he plans to set up The Pixel Heart Game Jam. Developers from all over the world will split up into 12 teams, developing a total of 12 games within the 48 hour time limit. The catch is that the six developers from earlier will each contribute an asset—it could be a sound effect or anything else related to video game development—that each team must use when creating their game.
This is a cool project that unfortunately hasn’t gained the traction it needs. I hope it succeeds, as this project features some big-name developers, and I think it would be interesting to understand their creative process. Not to mention there’s 12 new games we’ll get to play if it’s funded.
Have you seen any interesting projects on Kickstarter that you think deserve mention? Are you a developer who is currently running a Kickstarter campaign? Let us know in the comments section, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.