Tag Archives: Dedication Labs

TiX crowdfunding spotlight issue #8

crowdfunding-spotlight

Where has the time gone? Issue #8 of the TiX crowdfunding spotlight is here. This week’s edition (written while listening to this week’s ThisisXbox Podcast) focuses on two unique titles; IZLE an action-adventure RPG from Area Effect and HUSH a challenging action-adventure video game about our childhood fears from London-based Game Studio 78. First, it’s time to catch up on the projects we’ve been following.

Catch-up:

It seems the momentum has almost come to a complete stop for Dedication Lab and their campaign; RUMP! The last time we checked in with these guys they had only managed to raise an extra $300, seven days later and they’ve only managed to raise another $200 or so taking them to a grand total of $14,752. At this rate we’ll be unlikely to see RUMP! make it to the $50,000 grand total they require.

Once Bitten Twice Dead! is the zombie first-person title from Dark Day Inc. I’m honestly gutted to report that funding was unsuccessful on Kickstarter. The campaign only managed to raise $734 AUD towards their goal of $20,000 AUD. Since the project failed, they haven’t posted any updates, but we wish Dark Day Inc. all the best and look forward to hearing what’s next from them.

Near Future Fiction writer, Henry L. Sullivan III wants to bring American Father’s Podcast to as many listeners as possible. Steve Downes (the voice of Master Chief) is one of the many high-profile voice actors involved in this Kickstarter project. Unluckily for Sullivan and Downes, the project has failed to attract the attention it deserved. The campaign failed to come close to the $30,000 it required barely making it to $3,000.

Outward from Nine Dots is the Adventure Life Sim as featured in last week’s issue. It seems there is just as much interest in this game as I had hoped for. With 21 days still to go, the campaign has attracted 543 backers pledging $34,083 CAD towards the $150,000 target. They’ve been attracting quite a bit of attention of online media outlets these last few days, so make sure you don’t miss out on backing this unique project. Visit the Kickstarter page here to learn more and pledge.

Finally, but by no means least is Frizzy, the indie title already approved for Xbox One and 70% complete. The team behind this classic platformer are looking to raise the last $3,000 required to cover all the final release fees. With 21 days to go Frizzy has found itself 14 backers with $226 towards the total. Please do check out this small, bizarre little title and support it with anything you have.

New this week!

Izle

Izle Logo

Izle is a 3D procedural action-adventure RPG where your quest is to rebuild the last world of Light using Godlike terraforming powers. Izle will target Steam (PC, Mac and Linux) and consoles, but most importantly for us; Xbox One! The team behind Izle have already secured a pre-agreement with Microsoft including free developer kits to make Izle the best it can possibly be.

So what is Izle? Entire kingdoms and islands will be created or shattered based on your gameplay decisions. The landscape of Izle will reflect your actions in unprecedented ways. The freedom of terraforming allows us the player to acquire powers and use them to create procedurally-generated islands filled with rolling hills, daunting castles, treacherous volcanoes, underground ice caves, and sprawling dungeons. Real-time combat means fast paced melee and ranged action, interspersed with magical spells. A new item ability system allows players to create their own specialised character builds and capitalising on a truly destructible world, with every blade of grass, tree, hill and mountain being destructible, there are 100’s of hours of fun to be had. We’ll be presented with a vast, unique world to uncover, but will also have many exciting ways to go about exploring it; digging, climbing, swinging, swimming, flying and more to travel through the world we’ve created to discover all the wonder and mysteries that await.

Izle is the last world of Light. The remnant of a long ago war. A solitary island lost in the depth of space and protected merely by a luminous shell that seems only too fragile. Your world was consumed and for years you search for what could become your new home. As you take your first glimpse of Izle, your own unique story begins, as this lost paradise will become what you decide to make of it. But the Shadows that destroyed your world are trying to invade Izle and confrontation approaches, but is that really why you’re here? Izle’s mysteries, fragmented into a thousand islands, will draw your attention from the distant stars to your own very decisions.

Izle Image One

The team behind Izle are extremely proud to be working and collaborating with Clément Péres (@mindthings), a French composer who’s created more than an hour of original music for the game. Between the low polys and the richness of a breathing world, between the synthetic and the symphonic, each of his tracks integrates perfectly with the game. You can listen to some of his music here:

Izle, as do all well thought out Kickstarter campaigns, has a great set of reward tiers for backers. The lowest tier at $14 will ensure you receive a copy of the game on your platform of choice (STEAM, PSN, Wii U eShop or Xbox One) but the reward that stands out the most is a hardback book with some truly stunning artwork included. The Izle Physical Artbook (Tier Izle Artbook) will be created at the end of development and will be a high-quality physical print. It will group all sorts of content: high quality illustrations, screenshots, early concepts, character designs, items, icons, glyphs, design sheets, music sheets, technical notes, and anything else the developers think would spark our interest. And, of course, it will be signed by the whole team.

Izle Image Two

At this moment in time there are no stretch goals as part of the project, it is a little too soon for that. The money raised will give the developers, Area Effect, the ability to hire artists (whom they’ve previously worked with) and enable them to do what they love: making 3D models, 2D art, music, sound effects, voice-overs etc. etc. So, how much are Area Effect looking for? The answer is a large $90,000. With 12 days to go and 529 backers already standing behind them they’ve managed to raise $17,666, quite a bit short from where they need to be.

Likeliness of happening: To make Izle a reality the team at Area Effect need to ramp up their campaign, and to help this along they’ve released a demo for PC and MAC. You can download it here. Time is against them, but the concept is one that’s unique and interesting. With a little support they could still raise what is required.

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Ready to face your fears?

Hush Logo

London based Game Studio 78, or GS78 as they like to be referred as, is made up of just 13 team members. They’ve recently launched this particular campaign on Kickstarter which is really worth checking out, and could definitely do with your support.

Hush draws its inspiration from fears, particularly those we have all experienced in some way or another when we were children. Hush is the story of Ashlyn, as she finds herself in an orphanage that time forgot, surrounded by blood freezing phobias that will try to absorb her into oblivion. Your goal is to help Ashlyn face these fears, and then use them to your advantage in order to escape from this nightmarish place. During this journey you’ll find yourself roaming through all sorts of environments capable of bringing out your innermost phobias. You’ll also be getting help from the inhabitants of this establishment, simply called The Forgotten. These little figures will tell you all about the suffering they’ve been through as victims of The Fears, while giving you hints on what awaits you.

Hush is already approved for and will be released on Xbox One, PS4, Wii U as well as Steam for Linux, Mac and PC. Developed using the Unity 5 Engine the Xbox One version will be released a short time after the game launches on Steam. But already pre-approved and a good deal way through development, Game Studio 78 are looking for an October release, this year!

Hush Image 3

While playing Hush, the player will face several obstacles as they progress through the levels. These obstacles take the form of monsters, puzzles and spatial hazards. Each monster has different attacks and motion patterns, behaving accordingly to their profile and the specific chapter they belong to. Each chapter will end with a confrontation against a final boss –a representation of the fear said chapter is based on.

Ashlyn will rely on toys to help her overcome the fears and obstacles in her way. As you start with Hush, you’ll be reliant on GoGo, Ashlyn’s best friend. GoGo is suited to melee combat best, so you’ll soon need to explore and find new toys to help. For instance there is the Firefly Flask which emits a powerful light that stuns all the enemies around Ashlyn and damages dark creatures. Used with GoGo, enemies can be more easily defeated from stunned status.

Hush Growles

The unique concept of Hush is that you’ll be experiencing a compelling story with an intricate plot that explores different kinds of fear: the “Fear of the Dark”, “Fear of Thunder” and “Fear of Ghosts”. In the Fear of Thunder chapter we’ll be pitted against the energetic automatons of the Power House. These are creatures that harvest energy and are highly volatile in nature. This chapter tells the story of Nikolai, the groundskeeper of the orphanage whose ambition was to create life. Nikolai built robots from all types of junk that he found in the orphanage and managed to give them life. Ashlyn will try to find the reason behind the strange things happening in this level, the robots who have been given life… and why thunders bring about such loud noises.

Hush Image 4

Game Studio 78 want to make these fears come alive when playing Hush. One of the key elements to ensuring this happens comes down to sound. We’ll be hearing indistinguishable whispers coming from all around you, or the thunder suddenly crumbling through the silence. On the soundtrack you can expect some spooky themes, which create suspense and raise your heartbeat. Hellish strings, bone-like marimbas and weeping synthesizers will play catchy melodies that will follow you along your path.

Because production is so far along and the team at GS78 have been at this quite a while, they’ve come up with a great selection of rewards and stretch goals. That said the initial target is quite a whopping £99,000 to finish production including staff costs, physical rewards and other production costs. However if the team manage to reach this they’ve already setup 3 stretch goals; £125,000 will see GS78 working on a DLC called ‘Spiders Den, £150,000 will be DLC called West-Wing with 2 new fears and £200,000 will see the team complete a third piece of DLC including 3 new fears and an exclusive ‘Hush Making off’.

Likeliness of happening: The Kickstarter campaign is unfortunately not doing well. With just 14 days left to run they’ve raised just £939 towards the initial goal of £99,000. That said, this is a team that have invested their own money into the development of Hush since day one. With so much thought put into the marketing, concept, design and the Kickstarter itself, I don’t see them rolling over and leaving this unfinished just because the Kickstarter doesn’t work. Will the Kickstarter be successful? It doesn’t look that way. I still believe we’ll see Hush on Xbox One, it’ll just take longer than planned.

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TiX crowdfunding spotlight issue #7

crowdfunding-spotlight

In this bumper edition (issue #7) of our crowdfunding spotlight we’ll be taking a look at We Happy Few, the story of a small group of moderately terrible people, who must survive in a doomed, happiness-obsessed, dystopian society until they are able to get the hell out. Outward an open world RPG with a focus on simulating the life of an adventurer – not a legendary hero. And not forgetting Frizzy, a classic platformer with wild next-gen mechanics, already approved for an Xbox One release and just needs additional funding. But first as normal, lets dive straight into our catch up section.

Catch-up:

We’ll start with some good news shall we? The awesome Enigma Escape, the live escape game experience hoping to open up in London has been funded! Asking for £5,000 the brains behind this extraordinary venture managed to raise £5,599 which is fantastic news. We can’t wait for Enigma Escape to open and we’ll be seeing you all there soon.

On to some bad news (sorry), and we’ll start with the RPG from Zenrock Studios LLC; Wormhome City. It was looking for $7,500 to get development kicked into overdrive but time has run out and they attracted just 67 backers pledging $1,331 between them. Zenrock have been extremely gracious in their defeat and vowed to come back later in the year with a new campaign, better rewards and a more structured, thought out marketing campaign. Good luck guys, we look forward to hearing more from you.

Gamer’s Edition has been heavily featured on TiX social media channels, we love their concept you see. If you managed to miss one of our updates, we are thrilled to announce that the Hotline Miami bundle went into production during the middle of last week. Incredibly exciting for everyone that backed that particular bundle. The Papers, Please bundle on the other hand couldn’t drum up enough support so Gamer’s Edition are now offering a Papers, Please Propaganda Poster available to order now until the 24th April.

Dedication Lab will be getting slightly nervous at this point as a week on since our last update and RUMP! has managed to add only another $300 dollars to their project. Now sitting at $14,523, they are still a long way off the $50,000 grand total they require.

Once Bitten Twice Dead! is the zombie first-person title from Dark Day Inc. And it’s bad news for these guys also I am afraid. With just four days left they’ve managed to gain 21 backers and only $705 AUD towards the $20,000 AUD they required.

The American Father’s Podcast on Kickstarter from Near Future Fiction writer, Henry L. Sullivan III caught our eye because Steve Downes (the voice of Master Chief) voice acting one of the many roles. With just over two days to go, this is another of our featured projects in trouble. They’ve managed to pick up 45 backers pledging a total of $2,852, only $600 more than last week. They are still a long way off the $30,000 total.

Lastly we’ll finish up with some good news! See how we started and ended on a high? In Issue #5 we brought Atom Universe from Atom Republic to your attention. The good news for them is that their title has been funded with time to spare. The not so good news for us is there is still no sign of an Xbox One release – just PS4. But there is still time and the Atom Republic clearly said they would look at additional consoles. With over three days still to go, they managed £22,322 – £2,322 over their initial goal of £20,000.

New this week!

We Happy Few Logo

We Happy Few was brought to my attention by our own Assistant Editor Phil Kowalski. We Happy Few is the story of a small group of moderately terrible people, who must survive in a doomed, happiness-obsessed, dystopian society until they are able to get the hell out. Phil spotted this a while back and it piqued his interest enough to start engaging with the developers; Compulsion Games, via Twitter about a potential console release. It now seems this is exactly what they plan on doing via Kickstarter.

We Happy Few has been described as ‘Don’t Starve’ meets ‘Bioshock’ and Compulsion Games have tried to combine a first person urban dystopia with survival and rogue-like mechanics and design. The game itself is set in the fictional town of Wellington Wells, an alternative 1960’s England where the inhabitants are so obsessed with achieving ultimate happiness that they will go to extreme lengths to realise it.

The gameplay itself is very unique and revolves around societal/urban survival where Compulsion Games have hinted you’ll need to blend in with the locals to survive. You get one life in We Happy Few, perma-death, when you die you have to replay your game over if you want to win.

We Happy Few Concept Art

Although the Kickstarter has yet to officially launch the team are so determined to succeed they are asking for their community, old and new fans alike, to get in touch with ideas on the kind of reward tiers they would like to see. Rewards can make or break a Kickstarter campaign and Compulsion Games have taken notes from projects that have come before them. You can add ideas to the list here on their forums.

Likeliness of happening: As the Kickstarter hasn’t yet got started, it would be unfair to give them a rating. However they have started off in the right way, ensuring they build a compelling reward structure for their backers. If they continue like this then I am sure we’ll be seeing We Happy Few launch on consoles very soon. And of course, as soon as the Kickstarter does officially launch, we’ll be sure to let you know in this feature.

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Outward

Outward Logo

Our second featured project is one that has me STUPIDLY excited. The adventurer in me is buzzing around like a mad person at the thought of this, an open world RPG with co-op and survival elements called Outward – The Adventure Life SIM. And it’s already been stated that Outward is set to be released on both PC’s and Consoles. Yippee!

Outward is an open world RPG with a focus on simulating the life of an adventurer – not a legendary hero. And the developers; Nine Dots, started out with a simple question when planning Outward. ‘What would it really be like to live the life of an adventurer?’ From simulating the day-to-day lifestyle of living alone in a vast world filled with creatures of fantasy to retiring and passing on your knowledge and skills to your next of kin, Outward is about creating a complete adventuring experience. It’s not just combat, it’s not just survival, it promises to be both and more.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a YouTube version of their Kickstarter video, just the short clip below. But please do make sure you head over to their Kickstarter project page and view the video, it’s worthwhile.

Nine Dots have laid out a selection of goals, which they aim to complete during the development of Outward. I’ve hand-picked a couple of the more interesting to highlight here. The first of which is the concept of Cooperative survival and adventure. This includes both Online and Local. While working with a friend, you can head off to hunt for the night’s dinner, meanwhile, your friend is setting up camp. You could also explore while the other stands guard over your gear. Working together to survive could make life in Outward not just more enjoyable, but much easier too. Another of the conceptual goals are the envisioned survival mechanics Nine Dots want to include. These include the basics like boiling your water for safe drinking, hunting for your next meal, and bundling up clothes to survive the harsh winters.

There is then the legacy system in which you can pass down items and skills to the next generation of explorers. Death or retirement won’t mean the end to your adventuring in Outward, it just means the beginning for a new character. And finally the other interesting concept that caught my eye, was the idea of dynamic quests that continue with or without you. In its simplest form it means no one is standing around waiting for you to come along and save them. If you aren’t there or choose to ignore those in need, life goes on without you. Ignore a quest to resolve a conflict, the conflict will happen and there will be repercussions in the game world.

Outward Map

The game itself is set in Aurai, a vast section of land. From the coastal town of Cierzo to the barren deserts of Levant. Its regions are shaped in real-time by its climate and weather. But what does this mean to us the player? The developers go on to explain that the land is dynamically changing throughout time. For example, during the winter, snow not only covers the ground but builds up flake by flake until it covers every ridge and fills every tree. As each day passes you can visually see a shift in the environment.

The game has four factions you can work/align yourself to and a variety of ‘dynamic’ quests to take part in. There is a lot to this title, more than I could possible write in this feature, so I encourage you to take a proper look at the page here.

Likeliness of happening: Outward is looking for $150,000 CAD to bring their idea to life. They’ve still got another 27 days to run on their campaign but are off to a flying start having already attracted 391 backers pledging over $29,000. This is an extremely exciting and different project to any we’ve seen for a while and I believe the momentum will build and as more and more people learn about it, they’ll find themselves smashing their base goal. 80%

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Balls of Fluff

Frizzy Logo

You made it his far through issue #7 and I am positive you won’t be disappointed. Our third and final Kickstarter campaign is set to put a smile of your face. Frizzy is a classic platformer with wild next-gen mechanics. If you like addictive platformers, then the Frizzy Team are convinced their campaign is right up your street.

Frizzy is an action packed platformer. The plot centres on the fact you are a frizzy ball of fur who can latch onto static balls and launch himself around the levels.  The back story (if you can call it that) is a little bizarre, but very fun. You can read about it here. It involves an Island called Fuzz Island, a Great Evil Dragon, a HUGE sneeze and a platform covered in the greenest of green grass.

Doff the Dragon

The team behind Frizzy appreciate that console releases take a lot of additional work and funding, which is why they are actively engaging with communities over on places like Reddit to ensure there is support and demand. Frizzy is already approved as a title for release on Xbox One, they just need the funding to make it happen.

Frizzy Screenshot

Likeliness of happening: Frizzy still has a long time to run on Kickstarter; 27 days, and have already raised $192 towards their base goal of $3,000. There are no stretch goals at this time, but I am more convinced we’ll see Frizzy well-funded and on Xbox One very soon. 90%

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TiX crowdfunding spotlight issue #6

crowdfunding-spotlight

Another week is over and with it potentially the dreams of those looking to fund their projects through crowdfunding sites like KickStarter and IndieGoGo. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this feature, so please do get in touch either via the comments section below, email or on Twitter. Let’s get to it!

Catch-up time.

With just two days to go, the new RPG from Zenrock Studios LLC, looking for $7,500 towards the development of their Sci-Fi title; Wormhole City, is going to fall quite a way short of their target. I am massively disappointed by this, but unfortunately it’s just the way crowdfunding goes.

Looking again at Gamer’s Edition, things could be a little better since last week. The Hotline Miami bundle is just under 75% funded whilst the Papers, Please bundle is still way behind. Hopefully with a big push these guys will get at least one of the bundles funded so that we get to see what their next project is at least.

Once Bitten Twice Dead! is the zombie first-person title from Dark Day Inc. There are still 12 days left to run for Dark Day Inc. but they’ve yet to gain any real traction. Take a look at the KickStarter page here and leave a pledge if you like the look of this indie title.

With a full week since our last update the 3D jump and run game RUMP! has raised just over a $1,000 dollars bringing the new total to $14,207 towards their $50,000 target. With 25 days left on IndieGoGo, there is still plenty of time for Dedication Labs to turn things around.

New last week was The American Father’s Podcast on Kickstarter from Near Future Fiction writer, Henry L. Sullivan III. A little different to our usual featured campaigns, this one caught our eye because Steve Downes (the voice of Master Chief) is listed as a voice actor. So far to date they’ve attracted 32 backers and achieved $2,291 of their $30,000 target. They’ve still got 8 days to go in which to attract more backers, so check it out while you can.

Our second featured campaign in Issue #5 was Atom Universe from Atom Republic. Atom Universe social based game within a theme park featuring rides and mini-games, as well as advanced social interactions. It’s a virtual reality theme park where your avatar goes to meet friends and do all the same sorts of things you would do at a normal Theme Park. With nine days to go, it’s looking good for Atom Republic, having achieved over £15,000 towards their £20,000 goal.

Our third and final campaign last week was the awesome Enigma Escape, the live escape game experience hoping to open up in London. So impressed with the campaign and concept, our very own Rich Berry pledged £70. Now with just a couple of days left to go they need YOUR help to bring this attraction to life. They are just £500 short of their £5,000 goal. Team TiX will definitely be heading along to try this out when opened. Will you?

New this week!

Orcs Must Die! was the smash hit strategy game developed by Robot Entertainment. It is a tower defence game using a third-person action-oriented viewpoint. The game was released via Xbox Live Arcade on October 5 2011. On the 2nd of April 2012 Orcs Must Die! 2 was released for PC only, which I was very disappointed about. Now in 2015 we have Orcs Must Die! The board game. This came to my attention a few minutes after being launched on KickStarter. Overnight the project was funded to 179% of its original base goal. Simply incredible.  

Teaming up with your friends, you have traps & weapons galore to obliterate the nasty orcs and their grotesque allies. Robot Entertainment and Sandy Petersen, an award-winning designer, have joined forces to create this new table top experience. Precisely adapted to the table top environment it includes scores of great plastic figures of all the heroes from the original XBLA title, plus hordes of orcs, crossbow orcs, kobolds, gnolls, trolls, ogres, and more. Build an exciting fortress using the tile-based system, then watch as swarms of baddies plunge through your defences to wreck your Rift.

Orcs Must Die! The Boardgame 2

Although Robot Entertainment have licensed the use of the Orcs Must Die! IP, including art and other digital assets, Petersen Games is solely responsible for creating and running this project. He must be overjoyed with the immediate response from the fans.

When it comes to pledging support to this project, you might be pleasantly surprise. Each pledge includes free STEAM codes to play the classic Orcs Must Die! and Orcs Must Die! 2. And even that’s not all – you ALSO get a beta code to participate in the early version of Orcs Must Die! Unchained! So if you are a fan of Orc Must Die! then this campaign is definitely one to get behind!

Orcs Must Die! The Boardgame 1

Likeliness of happening: As mentioned before, this has already hit 100% of its target and made it to 179% in just the first night.

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My second campaign of the week is one I have previously missed on IndieGoGo. A retro-inspired 2D Action RPG set in the distant future called CrossCode.

CrossCode focuses on Lea, a player of CrossWorlds – a fictional online game of the distant future. She has also lost her memory and is a mute. The only way to regain her memory is to play CrossWorlds. You will follow her adventures and journey through CrossWorlds, discovering all the places the game has to offer. As Lea’s memory returns, a deep mystery surrounding CrossWorlds will be unravelled.

CrossCode is an RPG crossed (sorry about that!) with action-adventure gameplay mechanics. The developers; Radical Fish Games have taken the best out of two popular genres, attempted to find the perfect balance between them and make a great game. That’s what CrossCode does. You get the puzzles of Zelda-esque dungeons and are set to be rewarded with a great variety of equipment you know and love from RPGs. During the fast-paced battles you will use the tools you find on your journey to reveal and exploit the enemies’ weaknesses and at the same time will be able to choose equipment and skills for a more in-depth approach in fighting your enemies.

CrossCode

CrossCode still has quite a bit of time left to reach its base goal of $80,000. At time of writing the campaign still had 25 days to run and had achieved $43,250, just over 50%. Reaching $80,000 will guarantee that CrossCode will be released for PC/MAC and Linux. There are stretch goals of course and the first one of note is $100,000, which then sees the game released for Wii U. So what about Xbox One?

CrossCode looks like another one of those games that is perfectly suited to the ID@Xbox program. At present the final stretch goal is $125,000, which will mean the game comes released with local PVP and a co-op Arena mode. There are however 2 hidden stretch goals yet to be revealed. I think CrossCode sounds like a fantastic game, especially for fans of the 2D Retro titles, RPG fanatics and all those in between.

Likeliness of happening: Nothing in the campaign write-up hints at a potential Xbox One release, but as always, we remain optimistic when we come across great games like this. Games that we ourselves at TiX would love to play on our beloved console.

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Our third and final featured campaign is back over on KickStarter. Over The Hills And Far Away: A Visual Novel is looking to be funded and released on the usual platforms; Windows, Mac, Linux and Steam. As always, we believe it deserves an Xbox One release for a variety of reasons.

The first of those reasons is the striking visuals.  The artwork for the game is being produced by Hui Tian (Space Penguin) of Collateral Damage Studios. Beautiful scenery, unique characters and captivating CG art are showcased on the campaign page.

https://youtu.be/UIuFWb7m-s8

The second is the story which is set during the War of 1812. A soldier takes refuge from the storm in a barn and meets a native girl who will change everything. Bleeding out and not wanting to brave the fierce winds outside, Aubrey decides to put up with her until the rains let up. Over the course of the story, the two of them get over their general anxiety and indifference for one another, slowly bonding to become friends. But will their friendship outlast the rains; when both return to the bloodshed and the outside world?

Over the Hills 1

And thirdly we are massive supporters of smaller independent studios, and WarGame Girls is just that. Working on Over The Hills And Far Away: A Visual Novel is just a team of three. They go by the names of DesertFox, Space Penguin and Yuang Chen. But don’t be misled, this isn’t WarGame Girls first title. Check out their official website here for details on My Little Dictator.

Over the Hills 2

The campaign page does a good job of describing what a visual novel is for those that might not have come across this term;

A visual novel is an interactive story adventure with static (usually) graphics, music and transitions. It allows the reader to make decisions to influence the branching storyline and interact with characters. Visual novels heavily influenced RPGs in Japan, and have now come to the West as people realize the potential of this genre. It allows a player to better visualize and understand a text-based story whilst also including interactive elements.

Likeliness of happening: Although they have plenty of time to raise the £6,000 base total they require (currently at £199 with 29 days to go), there is no hint of an Xbox One release. They do have a forum for fans to post suggestions, so why not head over here and encourage them?

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TiX crowdfunding spotlight issue #5

crowdfunding-spotlight

Issue #5 is here, albeit 24 hours later than usual, and hopefully you’ve all become accustomed to how this works? Don’t forget to let me know about projects you see online (or those that you are involved with) that you feel could be feature here. Either comment below or reach out via email to kris[at]thisisxbox[dot]com and I’ll get back to you. So, let’s move on and get into the nitty-gritty of this week’s spotlight.

Catch-up:

Still yet to build any momentum is new RPG from Zenrock Studios LLC looking for $7,500 towards the development of their Sci-Fi title; Wormhole City. The project includes a stretch goal for an Xbox One release but with eight days to go and still less than $1,080 raised, it looks like this project is a washout. I hope for them things turn around quickly and even if they manage to fund the PC release of this title, there could still be hope for an Xbox One release much later down the line.

Last week we quickly looked at the progress of Albert & Otto and unfortunately I have to report that this project failed bringing in less than $2,500 towards the required $15,000. You can post messages of condolences or future support for them in the comments section here. I loved the look of Albert & Otto, and by the buzz from PAX East, so did those who played it. I hope that this doesn’t mean the project is completely abandoned, as that would be a shame.

Hot Armor: Brothers War failed. Better luck next time guys.

Another quick look at Gamer’s Edition tells us that things are slowing down for the Idea Planet and Gamers Network, the two parties behind this new project. Since last week less than 100 additional Hotline Miami bundles have been sold and the Papers, Please bundle is still struggling to gain any traction among gaming fans. With nine days left on both, it doesn’t look good for either title.

Once Bitten Twice Dead! is a new zombie first-person action game set in an open world from Dark Day Inc. We featured this last week and although not tipped for an Xbox 360/Xbox One release, the Kickstarter page shows a strange use of the Xbox 360 controllers in the rewards graphic. With 18 days of the campaign left, Once Bitten Twice Dead! has only managed to raise $827 of the required $20,000.

The 3D jump and run game RUMP! which caught my attention last week is doing much better than everyone above. So far the campaign on IndieGoGo, has raised $13,772 towards the initial base goal of $50,000. Before we start getting too excited, Dedication Labs are looking to hit the stretch goal of $200,000 before they get to work on an Xbox One release. There are still 32 days left for this campaign, so time is still on their side.

And finally last week we took a look at ICY the survival RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world witnessing a new Ice Age. The IndieGoGo campaign didn’t have any stretch goals for Xbox 360 or Xbox One development, however, it was featured as it seemed like a great title for potentially leveraging the ID@Xbox program. It’s now at 292% of its base goal and still attracting backers.

New this week!

Up first is something a little different, instead of recommending a game campaign that needs your backing we have found this little gem; The American Father’s Podcast, on Kickstarter from Near Future Fiction writer, Henry L. Sullivan III.

Henry L. Sullivan III and Director Adrianne Cury would like to tell you and I a story. It takes place in the year 2032. It involves four dynasties, a Lebanese-American Journalist, an impassioned college professor, a security contractor, a flamboyant hitman, a rebel hacker, a megalomaniac, and a smart, idiosyncratic heiress. Get ready to experience a movie in your ear. Audio storytelling. Every image, every action, conveyed entirely through voices. And they want to make this entire podcast available for free around the world.

So why have we picked up this campaign for the spotlight? Because of this man…

Steve Downes

Millions of Xbox fans know Steve Downes’ legendary sound as the voice of one of the world’s most beloved heroes: The super Spartan cyber-soldier; Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 from Bungie Studios’ top-selling HALO video game series. But countless many have also heard this epically talented VO extraordinaire as the exclusive voice for the Carnival Cruiselines national ad campaign and as narrator for The Discovery Channel’s hit show, The Shark Attack Files.

Likeliness of happening: Henry L. Sullivan III is looking for $30,000 through the Kickstarter campaign and with just 15 days left to run, has so far managed to raise just $2,131. I couldn’t call this so I’ll simply wish Henry all the best and should the project be funded, I look forward to listening to Master Chief… I mean Steve Downes bring the world of The American Fathers to life. Going to be 50/50 from me.

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Atom Universe is another of those projects with currently unannounced stretch goals and hidden hints of what could come. Atom Universe is a theme park featuring rides and mini-games, as well as advanced social interactions. It’s a virtual reality theme park where your avatar goes to meet friends and do all the same sort of things you would do at a normal Theme Park.

Atom Universe

Some of the ‘advanced social interactions’ include environmental interactions: sit on benches, lean on walls, lie on a bed (steady). Perform actions like dancing, take a pose, and express your emotions via gestures and effects. You can partake in avatar-to-avatar interactions like dancing with your buddy, shake hands, hug, kiss, hold hands, piggyback and a few more. Multiple avatars can also execute synchronized moves as a group: conga line, Mexican wave, line dancing, Macarena, walk like a horde of zombies etc. You will also be able to drive a vehicle, but not just on your own: in Atom Universe, you can hitch a ride too! Any avatar can pick you up in their vehicle and you can just enjoy the ride!

So what makes us confident this could be another campaign with a hidden Xbox One stretch goal? Two things actually. One is simply the fact it is being developed using Unreal Engine 4 and the second is the following statement;

Multi-platform, Atom Universe will not die with the PS4: we can port it to any high-end hardware, and it will out-live the current generation of consoles.

Atom Republic, the developers behind Atom Universe have 16 days left to get their campaign funded. With 101 backers to date they’ve raised just shy of £7,500 of their base goal, £20,000. Atom Republic are based in London and started life releasing content for PlayStation home so it comes as no surprise that Atom Universe is already approved for PlayStation 4.

Atom Universe 1

Likeliness of happening – Atom Republic are looking for KickStarter backers to set-up the initial PC launch with PS4 to follow on from that. It seems they already have financial backers watching them closely to fund further platform releases. This is very likely to hit its base goal of £20,000 and I believe we’ll see this for Xbox One either during the third Quarter of 2015 or early into 2016.

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The Live Escape Game Experience in London!

OK, so a little like the first project we looked at, this one isn’t actually looking for funds to develop a game. Instead the brains behind Enigma Escape are looking for £5,000 to complete the £60,000 they require to start their own business, an attraction in Central London where you can play immersive live escape games. Sam Wai and Hon Ban Lee, the two guys behind are Enigma Escape are cousins and have already poured £55,000 of their life savings into the business.

Enigma Escape

What’s a live escape game? It’s a fun-filled activity based on a video game that you can do with your friends and family. Sam and Hon will lock your team of two to five players in a room, and you must explore your surroundings to find clues and solve puzzles. Your objective is to figure a way out and escape the room – all within 60 minutes. It’s like playing a cooperative video game, but in a real interactive environment. Its great fun for teams of friends, family, colleagues, students – anyone really. It’s great as a “something to do” and even better as a team building exercise. (I am thinking a TiX field trip is in order!)

How does it work then? The two cousins have designed an experience so that everyone will enjoy their visit regardless of whether completing the game or not. Your experience will last up to 90 minutes and follows this structure:

  • Short briefing on the rules of the game.
  • Chapter 1: Watch an intro video for your chosen game.
  • Chapter 2: Play the live escape game.
  • Chapter 3: Watch an ending video for your game (there are at least 2 different endings).
  • Short debriefing on your experience. Take photos and take home your prizes.

London is just a short train ride away from me, I am sold and definitely want to go. There are a number of great Xbox titles over the years that would translate into fantastic live escape experiences. What games would you like to see converted?

https://youtu.be/wvmhNkoZtT8

Likeliness of happening – The business owners have already said this will happen, it will just be a case of when not if.

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TiX crowdfunding spotlight issue #4

crowdfunding-spotlight

Another week is over and with it potentially the dreams of some crowdfunding projects. Welcome to issue #4 of our crowdfunding spotlight. Without any preamble, let’s move on and get right into the news.

Catch-up:

Unfortunately for Albert & Otto, the 2D physics platform we highlighted in Issue #2, it looks like this project won’t be funded. We mentioned last week they were struggling to get off the mark and with 4 days left to go they’ve barely made it passed 10% of their base goal.

A complete none mover since Issue #2 is Hot Armor: Brothers War from ARGAMEDON Studios, the 3D arcade title based on the Ukraine war. Now with 48 hours and counting they are still at £42 of their £3,000 base goal. Unlike other projects that haven’t been funded of late, I’m not upset that this hasn’t met its target.

More upsetting to me though is the cute tale of Hera and Sooky that in Issue #3 I pointed out was struggling with 2 weeks left. Phantamos Studio LLC must have seen the writing on the wall as shortly after we updated you on their progress, the project was cancelled on Kickstarter.

During last week’s spotlight we featured the new RPG from Zenrock Studios LLC looking for $7,500 towards the development of their Sci-Fi title; Wormhole City. Although the initial goal was to ensure the game was funded for PC, it included both Xbox One and PS4 stretch goals. A week since our coverage and things are not looking great for Zenrok. There’s 17 days left on the project and they’ve managed just short of $1,000. Although the project has received 40 backs to date, it seems the average amount pledged is just shy of $25.

Last week we featured Gamer’s Edition; a joint venture between Gamers Network and Idea Planet. Momentum is building (including the number of Twitter followers) and as such the Hotline Miami bundle has reached 50% of its minimum pre-order quantity. They now need just (yes, just!) another 1,258 orders to be placed for production to start. It may seem like a lot but there are still just over 18 days left to get your order in. Unfortunately however, it seems the Papers, Please bundle is going to struggle having barely achieved 15% of the required pre-orders. I still think this concept is fantastic and would encourage each of you to head over to the official website and check out both bundles for yourself.

New this week!

We’ve had a number of press releases land on the TiX desk this week and I’ve sent out the scouting party to search through the various crowdfunding sites out there. Below are our recommendations on what’s worth watching.

Once Bitten, Twice Dead!

I don’t know if I read into things a little too much, but when PR Hound dropped us a line to tell us Dark Day Inc. have launched their Kickstarter campaign for Once Bitten, Twice Dead! I was left a little confused.

Once Bitten, Twice Dead! logo

Once Bitten Twice Dead is a new first-person action game set in an open world with a serious zombie problem! Players get to fight the undead along with and chat to a maximum of 100 other players simultaneously. The cartoon style of the game makes me think of LEGO and apparently accentuates the eyes of undead cannibals hoping to get a bite of your brains.

Features wise this zombierific game is planning to launch bursting with content including a detailed and deadly open world including day and night cycles. Various zombie types including Policemen, Army personnel, fire-fighters, Average Joe’s etc. 15 unique characters to pick from, each with their own skill set and a serious distrust of anything that shuffles around and/or eats human flesh. Over 50 weapons and well over 100+ craft-able items to be used in-game. Both offline and online modes where the later included simultaneous play with up to 100 other people across multiple platforms. Also included is an Infected Mode. The most exciting feature however is the Mod support the developers are building in to allow those who like to tinker to go crazy.

So why was I left feeling confused about this campaign? Dark Day Inc. are looking raise $20,000 AUD to release Once Bitten, Twice Dead! on Wii U, PC, Max and Linux. Yet when you look at the rewards image I clearly see Xbox 360 controllers. You do as well right?

Once Bitten, Twice Dead! rewards image

Likeliness of happening – I’m not convinced about this. Is it just a mistake on their part or could they be hinting at a potential Xbox 360 or even Xbox One release as a future stretch goal target? I guess we’ll need to wait and see.

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Dreaming big with RUMP!

Rump_Logo

I found this little gem over on IndieGoGo much later in the week and immediately I knew it had to be featured. RUMP! Is 3D jump and run game with a focus on speed-running, competition, sick moves and the ultimate multiplayer-mayhem. At least that’s what the developers, Dedication Labs, are telling me.

https://youtu.be/thK0NMmV5Os

You can either decide to seek competition in the international RUMP! leaderboards or punch up your friends and players from around the world in several multiplayer mayhem modes. You race over the dangerous rooftops of Rumptown with a large variety of gadgets and traps to keep the fun and rage off the roof.

In over 50 single-player and various multiplayer maps, RUMP! offers you and your friends a large amount of potential fail, fun moments, chasing action and big time competition! With lots of skins, achievements and different characters, there is a lot to the game to be explored.

The base goal for RUMP! is $50,000 and this will get the game released on PC via Steam. To see this released on Xbox One (and PS4) the developers are looking for a much larger (stretch) target of $200,000.

rump_family

Likeliness of happening – RUMP! has so far done exceedingly well having already been pushed through STEAM Greenlight in just 6 days thanks to thousands of supporters getting behind the campaign. Now on IndieGoGo the campaign has reached just over 30% of its base target with 40 days to go. Personally speaking, I believe with enough support we can and will see this on Xbox One. 80%

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ICY

ICY Logo

My third and final campaign is again from IndieGoGo and is more of a day-dream. Icy is a survival RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world witnessing a new Ice Age. It’s so refreshingly cool to see a new post-apocalyptic title in development that doesn’t include zombies, mutants or Mad Max-esqe gameplay elements.

Narrative driven, ICY puts the player in the role of a nomad family leader fighting for survival in a hostile world. As the leader you’ll be responsible for setting the course the family travel, managing supplies and making the all-important decisions that could be the difference between life and death for those that follow you.

https://youtu.be/-1ysx63X5Rc

The majority of the game will be played via a 2D map (similar to both Fallout and Arcanum) from which the player can hunt in the woods, scavenge old cities searching for something useful, and manage the inventory and the party. All the actions that aren’t really interesting from a narrative point of view will be managed through the map, but Icy is a narrative game and the developers; Inner Void Interactive, have created a proper system to let the player shape his/her own story in the game.

ICY Screenshot

The IndieGoGo campaign however doesn’t have any stretch goals for Xbox 360 or Xbox One development. I decided to include this on basis that we need more original titles like this on our platform. ICY would make, in my opinion, a great addition to the ID@Xbox program although obviously being developed with a mouse and keyboard in mind, we’ve seen more complex controls adapted to Xbox controllers in the past.

Likeliness of happening – The campaign itself has already reached its base funding goal and is now working its way through a variety of stretch goals. The likeliness of this appearing on our favourite console(s) however is pretty much zero. This makes me sad. 10%

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