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You play as the hero. Your friend plays as the hostage. An adventure game played in Real World Time. For iOS and Android devices.

You play as the hero. Your friend plays as the hostage. An adventure game played in Real World Time. For iOS and Android devices. Read More
pledged of $90,000 goal

Funding Canceled

Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on September 11, 2012.

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About this project

Don't forget. Just add $5 to ANY reward level for an extra copy for a friend. Get as many as you like.

Update #4: Brandon Quinn joins the cast!

Update #6: Jennifer Hale joins the cast!

Update #11: A Taste of the Music.

What type of game is this? Imagine experiencing a real life hostage situation where your next move means life or death for your friend. Oh...and it's played in real world time.

When you get the opportunity to work on something as creatively groundbreaking, and technologically cutting edge, as "The Hostage Trials" what can you say but "Hell yes." - David Hayter -

First of all...don't think of it as a mobile game. It's more like a game you play while mobile.

"The Hostage Trials" is a narrative game with a story. It's also a social game that you play with a friend. It's a game played in Real World Time that keeps you on your toes. It's like an ARG (alternate reality game) but not quite. We've come up with our own term for it that just seems easier.

It's called an RTMA. A Real-Time Mobile Adventure and because of the unique game play, it can only be played on mobile devices. Let us explain.

Most mobile games are pretty casual affairs allowing the player to pick up their phone and play a few rounds until they lose interest. And while these are fun for a while, we were looking for something that required a little more from the player, something that gave you a real sense of accomplishment. And last but not least, we wanted something that just felt...well...more real.

That's what spawned the idea for "The Hostage Trials." Imagine that one day you're minding your own business taking out those annoying green pigs when you get a strange call on your phone from an unknown number. The mysterious voice on the other end then informs you that one of your family members or friends (that you choose) has been kidnapped, and you need to follow very specific instructions in order to save them! That's the basic premise of "The Hostage Trials."

It's all about time.

As a player, most of your interaction with the game will come through phone calls with different characters. The most important of which is "the villain." But unlike a traditional "pick up and play" game, the player is at the mercy of "the villain." He could call at any time and when he'd better be ready!

Playing a game in Real World Time also means that any references to times of day or periods of time are literal. If the villain says you need to do something before 9pm, you'd better do it!

So how often does he call? On average you will get one call a day from the villain at a random time where he will give you a challenge in order to keep your friend alive. He may give you a window of time to expect his call, or he may not. Depends on what kind of mood he's in. What happens when you miss a call? Well you'll just have to live with the consequences, whatever they are. Remember, we're going for realism. You can also expect to get a random text or e-mail every so often.

Now because you'll be communicating with the villain so often, it goes without saying that the better the voice, the better the game.

Have you ever wanted to hear what Snake would sound like as a villian? Now's your chance!

David Hayter made Solid Snake's voice legendary and has now committed to play the role of the villain in "The Hostage Trials!" You can't believe how much we're geeking out about this. It's gonna be epic! Just think. Everyday you'll be expecting a disturbing call from David Hayter! YEAH!


We're still casting for the other roles in the game and we'll be sure to keep the backers updated on this front. Suggestions are welcome so use that comment board!

What will the game look like?

First of all, this is very much an audio based game and many if not most of the game's challenges will force the player to depend heavily on their ears. Our backgrounds are in sound design and we are working hard to craft a unique auditory experience.

That being said, the visuals for the game will be quite simple. We're going for realism with this game so the user interface will be made to look like that of a standard smart phone. Think of it as a virtual game phone complete with all of the necessary apps. It's your portal into the world of "The Hostage Trials." You'll have a contact list, a dial pad, email and texting apps, a banking app, and more, all contained within the game. The villain will also have the ability to send you specialty apps for specific purposes throughout the game. We don't want to spoil too much of this beforehand since it will be way cooler to find out as you play.

How long are the trials?

The game will be divided into four different difficulties. There will be:

  • A 3 day real-time trial.
  • A 7 day real-time trial.
  • A 14 day real-time trial.
  • A 30 day real-time trial.

So it's pretty self explanatory right? Attempting the three day trial means that you have to last three whole days following the villain's instructions in order to successfully retrieve your friend. The seven day trial takes seven days and so on.

The game is a complete story. We can't stress this enough.

We want to emphasize that this game is a complete experience. Each trial (3-day, 7-day, 14-day, 30-day) is a new part of the "Hostage Trials" story, and the story continues all the way until the very end of the 30 day trial. The only way to experience it all is to successfully save a hostage in each of the four difficulties. And we've also got some cool secret content for in between the trials for the backers that pledge at higher levels.

Initially this may sound like playing this game would consume your life, but it will only take a few short minutes of your day to do what "the villain" asks you to do. But that doesn't mean it will be easy!

In reality, the time you spend actually playing this game will probably be less than the time you spend on a more casual game that you play at your leisure.

There is a reason behind every challenge the villain gives you. Every challenge advances the storyline.

Simply put, it will feel like someone is really calling your phone. He'll give you tasks and assignments, ask you questions, and get information from you. Some things you'll be able to do right on your phone, others will require a little interaction with the real world.

It will soon become apparent that this is more than a simple ransom situation and that the villain is using you for a much grander scheme. The challenges are super varied and will always keep you on your toes.

Here are some examples of what you might have to do.

  • Place a call to a specific number and see where it leads you.
  • Travel a certain distance in a certain amount of time. (not in WiFi version)
  • Help the villain launder money.
  • Remotely control an alarm system.
  • Change your elevation. (not in WiFi version)
  • Piece together clues from electronic documents.
  • Answer questions about your hostage.
  • Remotely activate an audio bug at a certain time to hear an important conversation. Do it at the wrong time and you won't hear anything.
  • Match voice prints to help the villain find specific people.
  • And way more!

Another element that we are very excited about is how you'll interact with your real-life friends. Link with your friends through Facebook or e-mail so they can take on the role of the hostage. Every so often, they'll be given "Hostage Homework" and using their input, your game will become a completely unique and personal experience. It's their chance to put their own spin on the game. Rest assured that the game will be fun for the hostage too!

As the hostage a player will be contributing to the game in a multitude of ways including:

  • photos
  • voice recordings
  • answering questions
  • picking challenges
  • and more!

On the flip side, you'll be able to act as the hostage for someone else's game. Will they have what it takes to save you?

This won't be like your typical social game where you're playing 30 games at a time with countless other friends. We want the focus to be on one hostage. That's the realism factor again. At any given time, you'll be able to have two games going. One where you're trying to rescue a hostage and one where your acting as the hostage for someone else. This makes it much more fun and personal.

What platforms?

We are developing the game simultaneously for both iOS and Android platforms. At times the game uses GPS technology and cellular data so the ideal platform to play it on is a phone. But it will also be available for iPad and users will be able to play on one or both devices. We are also planning to have an option to play with challenges for WiFi only devices such as iPod Touch. This version of the game won't make use of GPS or challenges that require cellular data connections. There will be something for everyone. Rest assured, if you have an iOS device or an Android (version 2.2+) device, you'll be able to play this game.

What's even better, is that it will be cross-platform so iOS and Android users can play with each other.

The Rewards and Secret Content

NOTE: All backers that pledge $30 or more will get two copies of the game. One for you and one for a friend. If any backer wants 1 or more extra copies, just add $5 to your chosen reward level for the number of extras you want.

We're determined to keep the cost of this game low when it is released, somewhere in the $5 range so the initial pledge to get the game is super low. But we would need a lot of peeps if everyone became backers at this level. So we've worked really hard to come up with some creative rewards that should be worth your while. Take a good look at the different tiers. We're sure you'll be excited about a lot of the stuff we're offering.

We miss the days of secret codes, and we're working really hard to offer certain game content that will be exclusive to our backers so don't miss out on some really cool hidden stuff within the game. None of this is necessary to beat the game, but it will enrich the gamer's experience.

There are FOUR different tiers that offer access to exclusive game content ($10 $20, 30 and $75). We vow to never release the information to these secret sections to anyone but the backers that pledge at these levels. Trust us. These are easter eggs that you won't want to miss out on. Here's a breakdown.

  • Level 1 ($10) - Bridges the gap between the 3 and 7 day trials. 
  • Level 2 ($20) - Bridges the gap between the 7 and 14 day trials.
  • Level 3 ($30) - Bridges the gap between the 14 and 30 day trials.
  • Level 4 ($75) - Includes the physical dossier on the villain and some really cool secret game content that no one will be expecting.

This secret content will include additional mini-games and story elements that the non-kickstarters will miss out on. And just to clarify. This content is not an additional download or patch but already contained in the game. You just won't know how to access it unless we tell you how!

Other Rewards

As for our awesome t-shirts and hoodies, we'll be coming up with additional designs so they'll be more than one to choose from.

Front: logo  Back reads:  "I backed The Hostage Trials...he left me no choice."
Front: logo Back reads: "I backed The Hostage Trials...he left me no choice."

The hoodies, unlike the t-shirts, will be exclusive to backers.

Why Kickstarter?

Both Jared and I come from film backgrounds and specifically sound editing and design. This is why so much of this game is about the audio. As the player, you have to listen more than look. Our part in this along with being the designers of the game is to be the leads over all of the audio elements of the game. We'll be in charge of the voice over, the sound effects and design elements. incorporating the music and so on.

As for the programming side of things, we need more personnel. That's why Gnarly Tooth has teamed up with Social Jitney based out of San Francisco. We knew that we needed an awesome team of programmers that had a proven track record and experience developing something that hadn't been done before.

This is the same team that helped Bad Robot Interactive develop Action Movie FX. They've worked on a ton of critically acclaimed and successful apps such as Zombie Highway and the ultra popular music app Band of the Day. We know that working with Social Jitney and using the audio assets we will provide, we can bring the vision that we have for The Hostage Trials to life. This process has already started but we'll need more funds to take the game all the way through every phase to completion.

In my film experience (I have a little more since Jared is still finishing school) I've worked on award winning sound teams, most recently on Transformers 3, the Ben Affleck directed Argo, and the upcoming GI JOE: Retaliation. We've been on Hollywood's biggest sound stages with some of it's biggest stars. With so much of this game relying on the voice over and the quality of the sound, you can be sure that we know how to get what we need. We can utilize the best ADR stages and voice over supervisors, and we have access to the knowledge and know how of some of Hollywood's most experienced veterans in sound. So...

Here's the breakdown of funds.

  • 45-50% of funds will go toward the actual programming, gameplay design and visual design. We want the game to be done quickly and efficiently, in other words, by pros.
  • 40-45% will go towards the actors, recording studio fees and sound design. (This is a SAG production and there are minimums that we can't go under.) And we need to record A LOT.
  • 10% for the standard fees and taxes.

Thanks for taking the time to check out this project. We hope you'll consider backing us. Our goal is to truly bring a new type of gaming experience to mobile games. And with your input, we hope that we'll be able to make this game even better. We can only do it with your help.


Joel and Jared Erickson and the Gnarly Tooth team.


  • Yes. If you have a WiFi only device you can set the game up to exclude challenges that use GPS info or cellular data.

    Last updated:
  • Yes! Just add $5 to your current reward level for every copy that you would like us to send to a friend. Remember that the $30 level and above will get 2 copies of the game automatically. So if you choose the $30 reward level and make your pledge $35 you'll get 3 copies!

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5 USD

    I GOT MY COPY! There. That was easy. You've pre-ordered your copy of The Hostage Trials for iOS or Android. PLUS you'll get a Hostage Trials desktop!

    Estimated delivery
    89 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10 USD

    EXCLUSIVE GAME CONTENT - Level One! At this level, you'll get access to a secret digital file through the company website. Hidden within the file will be instructions on how to access exclusive content that is specifically for Kickstarter backers. This level bridges the gap between the 3 and 7 day trial. (see game description)

    Estimated delivery
    39 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15 USD

    GET OUT THE VOTE & RINGTONES! All previous tiers AND you'll get exclusive voting privileges through the company website. You'll help us choose game content such as minor character names, challenge ideas and features, even awesome one-liners for David Hayter's character! We'll take all good ideas into consideration for the votes. You'll also get the official Hostage Trials Ringtone.

    Estimated delivery
    12 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20 USD

    EXCLUSIVE GAME CONTENT - Level Two! All previous rewards tiers AND we'll show you how to access more secret content that bridges the gap between the 7 and 14 day trials. Of course it's not required to beat the game, it just enriches the experience.

    Estimated delivery
    21 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30 USD

    EXCLUSIVE GAME CONTENT - Level Three! + 2 COPIES OF THE GAME! All previous tiers AND you'll get a real handwritten postcard from "the villain" delivered to your house. His postcard will contain info on how to access the secret content between the 14 and the 30 day trials. And you'll get an extra copy of the game for a friend! (additional $5 pledge for international shipping)

    Estimated delivery
    57 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75 USD

    THE DOSSIER THAT DOESN'T EXIST: **Even More Exclusive Game Content** All previous tiers AND the villain's dossier! This is the ultimate collector's edition of the game. You'll get an official dossier mailed to your home with all of the government's known information on "the villain." The dossier will include surveillance photos, documents, and once again, trails to even more hidden goodies (all of them in fact) that will be accessible in the game, but only if you know where to look. This information will not be released to the general public...ever! (additional $10 pledge for international shipping)

    Estimated delivery
    28 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100 USD

    CALL ME BRO! All previous tiers AND we'll make the phone number of your choice a working number within the world of the game AND include a recorded message from you! If players call the number while playing they'll hear your message. The game's website will contain a list of these numbers (like a virtual phone book) and you'll be able to choose to have your game number listed (with or without your name) or keep it private for just your friends to dial.

    Estimated delivery
    7 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150 USD

    HEY IT'S COLD WHERE I'M FROM! All previous tiers AND a limited run "Hostage Trials" hoodie for those chillier days. We'll have a variety to choose from and they will be exclusive to backers. (additional $10 pledge for international shipping)

    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200 USD

    I JUST SAW MY NAME! This is an adventure game folks. We've got plenty of ways to have your name show up in "The Hostage Trials" You will see your name during one of the challenges, and it will be seamlessly blended into the game universe. Let us immortalize you for your posterity. Plus all previous reward tiers.

    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300 USD

    HE SIGNED MY POSTER! All previous tiers and a BACKER EXCLUSIVE poster signed by David Hayter and the rest of the cast!

    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    SNAKE AND I ARE OUT! David Hayter will record a personalized message as Snake for you to use as your voicemail. Seriously, there's nothing that this guy wouldn't do for his fans! Plus previous reward tiers.

    Estimated delivery
    3 backers
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000 USD

    SNAKE JUST SAID MY NAME! We'll have David Hayter's character mention your full name and hometown as part of the actual game dialogue! This not only benefits you, but everyone with your exact same name whose from the same town! How nice of you. Don't worry. We'll make this natural too. Plus previous tiers.

    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,000 or more About $3,000 USD

    THAT'S MY VOICE! Your voice (unaltered) will be featured in one of the games challenges! If you can get to Sony Pictures Studios near Hollywood, CA, we'll record your lines. (You must make your own travel and hotel arrangements.) We'll work with you to schedule a record date. Plus previous rewards tiers.

    Estimated delivery
    1 backer
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000 USD

    COME TO THE BOOTH! You and one guest will be invited to come into the booth with David Hayter and the voice over director during one session of the voice over recordings for the game. He says he does better with a crowd. We'll fly you out to Hollywood, CA, put you up in a nice hotel, and take you out for a great lunch on the recording day! Plus all previous rewards. Must live in continental US.

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer

Funding period

- (45 days)