GameFront’s Dream Kickstarter Projects
Phil Hornshaw: Zeboyd Games
The (two) guys behind Cthulhu Saves the World and Breath of Death VII are pretty funny. What’s more, they understand a whole lot about the conventions and cliches that have made gaming such as it is — but up to now, developer Zeboyd Games has made small-scale, low-res 8-bit role-playing games available for download on Xbox Live and Steam. Quality games and parodies, to be sure, but obviously limited by the funds available. It’s heartening to know that both Cthulhu and Breath of Death have been serious successes on both platforms, both critically and financially. But that probably hasn’t completely thrown the doors open for Zeboyd.
My dream Kickstarter is basically the same as what Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert did with Double Fine Adventure: I like what Zeboyd does and I would like to throw money at them so they can do something bigger. Handing these guys a million bucks would certainly release just about any financial shackles currently holding back any ideas they have. Zeboyd would probably have to add some employees, but I’d be very excited to see what they come up with — especially if they moved off into making quality experiences in genres outside old-school RPGs that maintain the level of humor and fun found in their earlier titles. A hilarious, nuanced original Zeboyd narrative in something like a 3-D stealth game, for example, is something at which I’d love to throw some money.
Ben Richardson: Indiana Jones
The games Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert made at LucasArts are deservedly praised, but they weren’t the only great adventure games the studio released in the nineties — far from it. Many fans will point to gems like The Dig or Sam & Max Hit the Road, but during my childhood, one fedora-wearing silhouette loomed large: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. Designed by Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein, Fate of Atlantis is an engrossing, exciting title, based on original Indy IP. The game effortlessly captured the tone and scope of the franchise, including plenty of its trademark swashbuckling action and rooting the puzzles in classic Jonesian improvisation and derring-do.
Unfortunately, Fate of Atlantis was the last great game made with the license. Follow-ups Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine (designed by Barwood), Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb, and Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings brought the whip-cracking hero into 3D, but difficult control schemes, uncooperative cameras, and low-polygon graphics led to middling reviews and tepid sales. These days, Indy games are the purview of LEGO-game developers Traveller’s Tales, whose offerings are capable and fun, but ultimately juvenile.
That should change. Now that the bitter taste of 2008′s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has faded, it’s time for a new, awesome, AAA Indiana Jones title. And before you say “that would never be funded by Kickstarter,” let me respond: you’re right. But this is my dream, and my article, and so this is my plan:
Naughty Dog will be lead developers. The Santa Monica, CA studio has proved itself more than capable with its wildly popular Uncharted franchise; Nathan Drake is such an obvious Indiana Jones copy that he’s practically action-hero archaeologist methadone. The studio’s beautiful level design, globetrotting plots, and impeccable writing would ensure that Indy gets the support he deserves.
Rocksteady Games will design the combat system. If you think about, Batman and Indy have a lot in common — both normal men, skilled at fisticuffs, and possessed of inexhaustible courage. Though both are very useful in a fight, they prefer to use their brains to outsmart opponents and unravel mysteries. Though both have a cynical, hard-bitten worldview, they are honorable men, and always work to defend the innocent. Rocksteady’s distinctive, flowing combat (by far the best part of Batman: Arkham City — see review) would be perfectly suited to Indy’s fighting style — the British devs could even adapt Arkham City’s Catwoman-powered whip mechanics.
Hear that, Naughty Dog and Rocksteady? Time to take to the internet and pass the hat. You know — the hat.
Got a Kickstarter dream you want to share? Tell us about it in the comments!