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Unfold the mysteries of dystopian animal society inhabiting retrofuturistic Vancouver.
Unfold the mysteries of dystopian animal society inhabiting retrofuturistic Vancouver.
Unfold the mysteries of dystopian animal society inhabiting retrofuturistic Vancouver.
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2,362 backers pledged CA$ 95,280 to help bring this project to life.

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Backbone — pixel art detective adventure inspired by noir project video thumbnail
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Backbone — pixel art detective adventure inspired by noir

CA$ 95,280

2,362

Backbone is a pixel art cinematic adventure with stealth and action elements. As private investigator Howard Lotor, you are set to solve detective cases, interrogate witnesses, explore the intriguing and dangerous world around you, and sneak your way to safety using smell-based stealth mechanics. 

Backbone combines the visual and social contrasts of film noir with anthropomorphic animals, retrofuturistic technologies, and dystopian fiction. Crawl through the dark alleys of pixelated Vancouver, and experience the impactful storyline focused on themes of power and prejudice.

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A rich, living and breathing world waiting to be explored. Backbone takes place in dystopian Vancouver, BC, featuring real locations and breathtaking pixel landscapes.

Stroll through the rainy streets reciting your favorite film noir quotes
Stroll through the rainy streets reciting your favorite film noir quotes

A stylistic and thematic fusion of film noir, anthropomorphic animals, retrofuturism and dystopian classics. The world of Backbone is something you’ve never seen before but always wished you had. 

Get under the pelt of Howard Lotor - a raccoon private investigator
Get under the pelt of Howard Lotor - a raccoon private investigator

Challenging, thought-provoking storyline featuring themes of power, corruption, social decay and systemic discrimination. Backbone tells a tale about how our environment shapes us, and how we influence it in return.

To be released in 2019 with your support!
To be released in 2019 with your support!

Detective work. Collect evidence, interrogate witnesses, connect the dots and follow leads on your own. No hand-holding - move forward through the game by your own rules. Every case has numerous trails, and it’s up to you to decide which one to follow.

Sniff out the evidence and follow the trail
Sniff out the evidence and follow the trail

Stealth & Action. In the animal world, smell is the most powerful sense. Hide in multi-level environments, mask your scent in garbage bins, follow suspects and escape the chase. 

But remember that you smell too
But remember that you smell too

Special abilities. The Artifact is a unique ancient technology with unknown origins and purpose. If you learn how to use it, it might change the regular order or destroy it.

Raccoon with a bear claw? Sure.
Raccoon with a bear claw? Sure.

The planet is sprawling with anthropomorphic animal species. The streets of Vancouver are overgrown with ivy and humongous trees, branches and vines piercing through the concrete, and huge flowers nesting on top of the roofs. 

Dystopian Vancouver is a hauntingly beautiful place
Dystopian Vancouver is a hauntingly beautiful place

The Great Apes call themselves the founding fathers of this world, and they are the moral, ethical and political compass of society. Citizens are divided into informal classes according to their species. The political and underground power is corrupted, and the glass ceiling seems impossible to break.

Everyone is in the right place beneath The Great Apes
Everyone is in the right place beneath The Great Apes

Vancouver is surrounded by high walls from every side to make sure that no one from across it intrudes. It is strictly forbidden to cross the wall, and the only thing waiting outside is savage hostile creatures. 

Smugglers are the only ones brave enough to cross, bringing back unknown technologies to break and trade
Smugglers are the only ones brave enough to cross, bringing back unknown technologies to break and trade

Howard Lotor is a raccoon and a private investigator who doesn't feel like he belongs. His mundane life is interrupted with the appearance of a powerful technology that can blur the lines of conventional order and change society forever.

- Hello, detective Howard. I have a case for you
- Hello, detective Howard. I have a case for you

Backbone's visual style is a modern take on the classical retro adventure look. While conceptualizing the world of Backbone, we knew we wanted to take the best parts of our favorite city and combine it with hi-res pixel art. 

It all starts with the sketch
It all starts with the sketch

Vancouver is one of the most beautiful and noir cities in the world, and we knew right away what streets, landmarks and favorite spots to include in the game. Vancouver finally plays itself!

Iconic Vancouver locations (and Roxy Burger) play important role in Backbone
Iconic Vancouver locations (and Roxy Burger) play important role in Backbone

Every character and environment element is animated frame by frame. It is a tedious process, but creating life and charisma out of a collection of pixels is magic we wouldn't trade for anything else.

Evolution of Howard Lotor's walk cycle
Evolution of Howard Lotor's walk cycle

Combining pixel art with 3D effects in UE4 like multi-layered backgrounds, parallaxing, dynamic lighting and lens flares adds to the cinematic feeling of the game. Sprawling city, contrasting silhouettes against the setting sun, dust particles, neon signs and steaming sewer hatches enhance the noir atmosphere of the city.

Setting up light sources on the 3D scene with pixel art sprites
Setting up light sources on the 3D scene with pixel art sprites

An important element of noir Vancouver is the music coming from jazz bars, noisy alleys, night fish markets and industrial blocks. Backbone’s composer Nikita Danshin is combining jazz and electronic music to create a viscous soundtrack that feels like a dark, enveloping veil of bebop and cinematic soundscapes. 

Backbone will release on Windows, Mac and Linux in Q2 2019. Platform releases are going to be announced if this campaign reaches the stretch goals.
Backbone will release on Windows, Mac and Linux in Q2 2019. Platform releases are going to be announced if this campaign reaches the stretch goals.

EggNut is a game development studio from Vancouver, Canada. We got together in 2016 and decided to start making video games. We all have stories to tell, and games are the best medium for conveying the complexity of the human condition.

We might come from different backgrounds and live in distant countries, but we are united by strong determination to create meaningful experiences. Every member of EggNut has years of experience in IT, art, design and music industries, and we're bringing it into our own project to create something new and inspiring.

Project status. 

We have spent the majority of 2017 in pre-production - assembling the team, prototyping the game of our dreams, and working out the pipelines and workflows. We started producing content for the trailer in January 2018, and we'll reuse every asset that we created in the actual game. Right now everything is ready for production: the game structure and scope, story and plot outlines, character arcs, world building, level design, and production schedules. All that remains is to get the team working full-time, to release Backbone without wasting any time on other projects.

We developed a Backbone demo level with storyline and core mechanics: walking, running, crawling, stealth, smell, dialog, inventory, and action. We want to polish it with the assets we prepared during our proof of concept stage, and publish for all backers this Summer.

Kickstarter Budget Distribution
Kickstarter Budget Distribution

So far, we have been creating Backbone using our personal income and free evenings and weekends from our full-time jobs. We love the full creative control indie development brings, and we don't want to depend on side companies to dictate our vision. We know that we have all the resources and skills to finish the game and publish it successfully. The only thing lacking is financial support and thus the ability to get the whole team working full-time, and porting costs for Switch, PS4 and Xbox One. To stay independent we need your support! 

Kickstarter is also an amazing platform to attract passionate community. Backbone is all about social context, so the more feedback we get from people with various experiences, the better. Backers with tier The Sniffer and higher are invited to participate in closed beta testing and communicate their vision in our Backer-only Discord server. Let's build this game together!

                                   
       

Risks and challenges

EggNut team has extensive experience in IT, art and music industries, but this is our first video game. Game development is a very tricky thing - you never know if you made a good game until thousands of different people actually play it. Before launching this project, we spent a year in pre-production, exploring creative and business sides of game development and discovering ways we could make this work with minimal risks. We are confident in our creative power, teamwork, project management and production strategies, and we want to be as transparent as possible about our processes.

These are the main things we're doing to minimize risks:
・We are a small team of 6 people working remotely (no rental costs) with inexpensive technologies and low cost marketing plan.
・We are committed to result and have an established way of working together as a team.
・Our goal is to ship the highest quality product possible without stretching it horizontally with new features, but rather perfect the existing and most necessary ones.
・We have a designated project manager, which is rare for an indie team. We build roadmaps, deadlines, track every step of the progress and evaluate everything before making decisions. This thorough planning helps to imagine every possible scenario and adapt on-the-go.
・Pre-production went on for a year, and we're ready to enter production stage with all our assets being reusable. Not a single hour was put to waste.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 2 or more About $1.52

    Thank you!

    Thank you for supporting our dream of making the best game about raccoon detectives that ever existed! We will send you our collection of BEST FRESHEST RACCOON MEMES with gratitude. You can print them all and hang around your house and wake up and go to sleep and eat and do stuff, all while looking at funny raccoons. It's not weird, trust us, everyone loves raccoons.

    Includes:
    • Collection of the best raccoon memes ever created on planet Earth
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    78 backers
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  2. Reward no longer available

    Pledge CA$ 19 or more About $14

    The Raccoon (EARLY BIRD SPECIAL)

    Get the game when it's out + digital goodies. Special price for early backers!

    Includes:
    • Digital copy of Backbone
    • Your name in game credits
    • Digital thanks pack (Wallpapers + Newspaper PDF + Guidebook PDF)
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    Reward no longer available 250 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 20 or more About $15

    The Private Eye

    Do you only want to pre-order Backbone at the discounted Kickstarter price without the other cool stuff? This tier is for you!

    Includes:
    • Digital copy of Backbone
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    555 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 25 or more About $19

    The Raccoon

    Get the game when it's out + digital goodies.

    Includes:
    • Digital copy of Backbone
    • Your name in game credits
    • Digital thanks pack (Wallpapers + Newspaper PDF + Guidebook PDF)
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    654 backers
    CA$
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 32 or more About $24

    The Sniffer

    Get the dark jazz Backbone OST + have direct impact on the development on our backer-exclusive Backbone chat server.

    Includes:
    • Backbone OST - dark jazz composed by Nikita Danshin
    • Access to Backbone Backer Discord server
    • Digital copy of Backbone
    • Your name in game credits
    • Digital thanks pack (Wallpapers + Newspaper PDF + Guidebook PDF)
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    268 backers
    CA$
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 45 or more About $34

    The Detective

    All of the above + DIGITAL version of the BACKBONE ARTBOOK featuring sketches, concept art and production processes, game lore and backstory, characters' personal diaries, Vancouver News articles, and fan art.

    Includes:
    • Digital Backbone Artbook PDF
    • Digital copy of Backbone
    • Backbone OST - dark jazz composed by Nikita Danshin
    • Your name in game credits
    • Digital thanks pack (Wallpapers + Newspaper PDF + Guidebook PDF)
    • Access to Backbone Backer Discord server
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    176 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 45 or more About US$ 34

    The Officer

    Get the physical edition of Backbone! This beautiful box includes CD with the game + OST, a colorful Guide Book booklet, and a code to download the DRM-free version of the game.

    For Win/Mac/Linux.

    Includes:
    • Physical copy of Backbone (Game+OST CD, Guidebook, DRM-free code)
    • Your name in game credits
    • Digital thanks pack (Wallpapers + Newspaper PDF + Guidebook PDF)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    142 backers
    CA$
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 65 or more About $50

    The Tourist

    Imagine you found yourself in dystopian Vancouver and want to take something home to remember it (if you can escape of course).
    We will send you a gorgeous pixel art Vancouver Postcard and a printed version of Vancouver Newspaper featuring tons of game lore.
    + All of the above!

    Includes:
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    27 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 77 or more About US$ 59

    The Historian

    Gorgeous Backbone poster printed on high-quality paper will be a nice reminder of your time spent in the pixelated noir city. Size - A2, matte paper.
    + Printed Vancouver Newspaper with tons of game lore
    + Postcard from dystopian Vancouver

    Includes:
    • Printed Backbone Vancouver poster
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    26 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 84 or more About US$ 64

    The Fashionista

    Get the Backbone T-shirt with a noir raccoon detective! Available in all sizes.
    + Printed Vancouver Newspaper with tons of game lore
    + Postcard from dystopian Vancouver

    Includes:
    • Backbone T-Shirt
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    45 backers
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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 90 or more About US$ 69

    The Librarian

    Get a full-color printed version of the Backbone Artbook featuring sketches, concept art and production processes, game lore and backstory, characters' personal diaries, Vancouver News articles, and fan art.

    + Printed Vancouver Newspaper with tons of game lore
    + Postcard from dystopian Vancouver

    Includes:
    • Printed Backbone Artbook
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    70 backers
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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 193 or more About US$ 147

    The Evidence

    You are the best detective in the universe and you collected all the evidence! Receive every physical reward (except limited ones).

    Includes:
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Backbone T-Shirt
    • Printed Backbone Artbook
    • Printed Backbone Vancouver poster
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    7 backers
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 232 or more About $177

    The Witness

    Custom framed diorama of the in-game scene from Backbone. Hand-made and super limited.

    Includes:
    • Backbone Diorama - hand crafted framed scene from the game
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 5 backers
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 258 or more About $197

    The Unsolved Case

    Get a limited Detective Case File - solve a crime from Backbone before you even play the game! This realistic case file is filled with lore, puzzles and character study, and it's something you will cherish for years to come.
    Every Case File is hand-crafted and unique, stamped with your exclusive backer number (one out of 100!), signed by our team with gratitude.

    + Printed Vancouver Newspaper with tons of game lore
    + Postcard from dystopian Vancouver

    Includes:
    • Detective Case File - hand crafted physical adventure
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 8 backers
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 320 or more About US$ 244

    Cool Cat

    Ever wanted to be COOL? Well now is your chance - just imagine these bullies playing Backbone and trying to talk to a very important NPC when they suddenly realize that this NPC is NAMED EXACTLY LIKE YOU. Isn't that cool? You show'em!

    We name an in-game object, bar, club, or NPC after you! Or you can pick any other cool name.

    + Get additional Backbone copy to share with a friend
    + Select ONE physical reward (T-shirt or Artbook or Poster)

    Includes:
    • Your name as an in-game object, bar, club, or NPC
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Additional Backbone digital copy (2 total)
    • ONE physical reward (T-shirt or Artbook or Poster)
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 13 backers
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 450 or more About $343

    Have you seen this animal?

    Embrace your inner animal! Send us your photo, pick a species, and we will create your pixel art portrait (to the waist) as one of Vancouver citizens!

    We will feature your portrait + your name in a news article in the physical Vancouver Newspaper sent to backers, as well as in the game and in the end credits right after your name!

    + Get additional Backbone copy to share with a friend
    + Select ONE physical reward (T-shirt or Artbook or Poster)

    Includes:
    • Your pixel art portrait and name in Vancouver News, end credits
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • ONE physical reward (T-shirt or Artbook or Poster)
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
    • Additional Backbone digital copy (2 total)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    4 backers
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  17. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 630 or more About $480

    The Collector

    Who needs Mona Lisa when you can get real art - original hand-drawn sketch of a raccoon with a bear claw.

    Get the original Backbone concept art! It can be either a location, or one of the main characters, drawn on high quality paper and one of a kind. We will also sign it and frame it!

    + Get additional Backbone copy to share with a friend
    + Select ONE physical reward (T-shirt or Artbook or Poster)

    Includes:
    • Original Backbone concept art - signed and framed
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Additional Backbone digital copy (2 total)
    • ONE physical reward (T-shirt or Artbook or Poster)
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    CA$
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  18. Reward no longer available

    Pledge CA$ 1,030 or more About US$ 785

    The Animal

    Let us design a prominent NPC in a collaboration with you! Design a character, their name, clothes, species, and even compose their backstory and dialogue!

    + Select ONE physical reward (T-shirt or Artbook or Poster)
    + Printed Vancouver Newspaper with tons of game lore
    + Postcard from dystopian Vancouver

    Includes:
    • Design your own NPC: name, clothes, species, dialogue
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Additional Backbone digital copy (2 total)
    • ONE physical reward (T-shirt or Artbook or Poster)
    • Physical thanks pack (Vancouver News + Vancouver Postcard)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 8 backers
    CA$
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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 2,000 or more About US$ 1,525

    The Great Ape

    Congratulations, you are lucky to be born into the ruling elite of Backbone's Vancouver - one of The Great Apes, founders of this world!

    As a symbol of our everlasting gratitude, we want to offer you:
    * One of the streets in Backbone's Vancouver named after you
    * A prominent character designed with your help (it could be one of The Great Apes!) and named after you
    * Your name in Game Credits under "Executive Producer"

    + ALL physical rewards signed by our team: Artbook, Poster, Postcard, Newspaper, Physical copy of the game, T-shirt.

    + ALL limited rewards: Backbone Diorama, Detective Case, Backbone Concept Art

    Includes:
    • Design and name one of The Great Apes
    • Main street in dystopian Vancouver named after you
    • Your name in Game Credits under "Executive Producer"
    • SIGNED physical rewards
    • Backbone Diorama - hand crafted framed scene from the game
    • Detective Case File - hand crafted physical adventure
    • Original Backbone concept art - signed and framed
    • Everything included in "The Detective" tier
    • Additional Backbone digital copy (2 total)
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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    CA$
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Funding period

- (30 days)