Kickstart This! Consortium: The Tower, Dragon of Legends, Wandersong

Hello, readers, and welcome back! Let’s blast off in a big way with the first Kickstart This! of 2016. Although January is typically the month people are digging behind the sofa cushions for any spare change, now that payday has passed, a number of smart game developers and studios have recently launched campaigns. By sheer coincidence, all of our choices in this edition come from Canada. First up, we have what is deemed “an immersive sci-fi simulation” with Consortium: The Tower from Interdimensional Games Inc. Next, there’s the Celtic-and-Norse-themed action RPG Dragon of Legends by Thrive Games. Last but not least, there’s whimsical side-scrolling musical adventure Wandersong.

Oh, Canada…

Project: Consortium: The Tower
Genre: FPS
Platforms: PC (Win/Mac/Linux), PS4, Xbox One
Funding Target: $450,000 CAD (approx. $317,550)

What Is It?
Interdimensional Games Inc’s CEO Gregory MacMartin pitches it as “the original Deus Ex meets Die Hard.” The studio has dubbed the game a first-person immersive sim, because FPS does not quite fit the bill. Players find themselves dropped into the middle of a hostage crisis inside a futuristic London skyscraper, the brilliantly named Churchill Tower. While players are armed, they can choose to employ other skills to progress through the game, from stealth tech like Metal Gear Solid, or parkour through the tower like Mirror’s Edge. Or you can choose to kill everyone, and be expelled from the Consortium who employ you. But your game will not end there.

Why Fund It?
One of the main draws of Consortium: The Tower is that it aims to be a deep and enriching single-player experience, something that is somewhat rare in today’s video gaming world. In addition to that, the game features no cutscenes, as the storytellers want the game’s plot to unravel as fluidly as possible, with dialogue paths opening up new avenues of exploration. The game is in fact the sequel to another Kickstarter campaign, the original Consortium, which iDGi supported for two years after release. This is, in fact, the second game in a loose trilogy, which is ten years in the making.

To be honest, they had me at Die Hard.

Best Rewards?

  • Digital copy of the game, digital manual, access to developer forum, and name in credits – $25 CAD (early bird limited to 1000 – $22 CAD)
  • Previous rewards, plus alpha and beta access, plus digital map, copy of previous game, and soundtrack from Jeremy Soule – $50 CAD (early bird limited to 1000 – $35 CAD)
  • Previous rewards, plus metal pin, t-shirt, and access to regular Q&A – $110 CAD
  • Previous rewards, plus physical in-game book, fold-up map, your name used in the game, and special Royal status in forums – $200 CAD

Project: Dragon of Legends
Genre: Celtic / Norse Action RPG
Platforms: PC (Win/Mac/Linux), iOS, Android
Funding Target: $60,000 CAD (approx. $42,340)

What Is It?
Dragon of Legends is an action RPG set in the land of Havamal, where the evil god Loki is imprisoned. He has seduced Balor, the One Eyed, to set him free. Neloth, an immortal dragon, learns of this plot, and wraps himself around the world, ready to destroy it should Loki ever be freed. The only hope lies in the people of Inisfail and Agmundr, two warring continents that must come together and act as one to defeat Loki.

Why Help Fund It?
Despite the rather bland, uninspired title, Dragon of Legends looks like a fun and addictive top down 2D action RPG. It’s 16-bit art style harkens back to the SNES era, with the likes of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past or Secret of Mana, which is not a negative, because rather than riff off those titles, Thrive Games has developed a world that draws heavily from Norse and Celtic mythologies, using various legends and myths to enrich the game’s story. Add to this a diverse class system with seven different types of characters to control, full customisation, and advanced skill trees, and Dragon of Legends begins to look like a must-buy title.

Best Rewards?

  • Digital copy of the game – $10 CAD
  • Digital copy of the game, plus digital wallpaper, poster, and in-game starter pack – $25 CAD
  • Previous rewards, plus printed posted signed by developers – $50 CAD
  • Previous rewards, plus t-shirt designed by Parker Martin – $90 CAD
  • Previous rewards, plus meet the developers and help them design a set of armour – $250 CAD

Project: Wandersong
Genre: 2D Musical Adventure
Platforms: PC (Win/Mac/Linux)
Funding Target: $18,000

What Is It?
Wandersong is a side-scrolling adventure game where players must help the people they encounter using the only weapon at their disposal: their voice. In a similar style to the many Zelda games that employed a musical instrument, players use a well-designed segmented circle control scheme to sing different notes (which, as an aside, reminds me a lot of the health meter in GoldenEye). Strike the right combination of notes in the right order to complete tasks, which can range from persuading a bird to carry you over a hill to ridding a haunted house of its poltergeist.

Why Help Fund It?
Occasionally, a project appears on Kickstarter that is just so wonderfully new and creative that you want to give the developer your entire savings. Wandersong is one of these titles, a small indie game that entices you with a winning combination of art style, gameplay, and, most importantly, music. Sound and songs are an integral part of the game, and developer Greg Lobanov has drawn inspiration from different sources, like The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, French hit Amelie, and Irish Folk music. He has enlisted Northern Irish duo Hyperduck Soundworks to help with this, as they have a lot of experience with music in video games, having worked on Dust: An Elysian Tail, Zero Gear, and Mojang’s Scrolls. Other artists, including Wintergarten’s Martin Molin, have also expressed an interest in contributing to the game.

Best Rewards?

  • Digital copy of the game – $15 (early bird limited to 300 – $12)
  • Digital copy of the game, plus digital soundtrack – $25
  • Digital copy of the game, plus digital soundtrack, and beta access – $50
  • Previous rewards, plus invitation to monthly Google hangout hosted by developer – $100
  • Previous rewards, plus become an NPC in the game – $500 (limited to 12)
  • Previous rewards, plus have a song written for and dedicated to you – $2000 (limited to five)

Until Next Time…
An honourable mention must go to Cardboard Utopia’s tactical JRPG Children of Zodiarcs, which was also on the list until it managed to not only surpass its goal, but effectively double it in a matter of days. If you like story-driven tactical JRPGs in a similar vein to Final Fantasy Tactics, then have a look. It has been approved by the Square Enix Collective.

And that’s it for the first month of 2016. These few games have set the bar so, so high, and I am so excited to see what the rest of the year brings to Kickstarter. If you are planning to launch a game project this year, give me a heads at andrew AT warpzoned DOT com before the next edition of Kickstart This!

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In addition to being Warp Zoned's UK Correspondent, Andrew Rainnie is a screenwriter and filmmaker. You can email him at andrew AT warpzoned DOT com or you can, if you're inclined, visit his personal website.

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