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A new kind of real time game for iOS and Android that pits you against a villain (David Hayter) who has kidnapped your friend.

A new kind of real time game for iOS and Android that pits you against a villain (David Hayter) who has kidnapped your friend. Read More
pledged of $90,000 goal

Funding Canceled

Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on July 1, 2012.

About this project

This is the old version of the campaign. We will be re-launching in July 2012! Look for the newly launched version by searching for "The Hostage Trials" in the search box.

Check out other articles on "The Hostage Trials."

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 -

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 real-time game 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.

We've developed this game from the ground up. Trust us. There is nothing quite like it! 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."

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 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'll also be casting other great voice actors 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!

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.

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.

Initially this may sound like it 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!

Click HERE to see what a typical day might be like in the game.

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.

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 a version specific for WiFi only devices such as iPod Touch that 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.

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.

There are three different tiers that offer access to exclusive game content ($20, $40, 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 to miss out on.

As for our awesome t-shirts and hoodies, we'll be coming up with some other designs as well so they'll be more to choose from.

The hoodies will be exclusive to backers.

We've got an awesome team of programmers and visual designers behind us. We have experienced sound effects designers who have worked on some of Hollywood's biggest movies. Now we just need the dough. We aren't looking for Kickstarter funds to "show investor's that there is a market." We aren't trying to drum up interest from a big studio. Our plan from the beginning has been to have this game be entirely funded by Kickstarter fans taking it clear from early visual design to a final deliverable product all with your input. It's our only option.

Here's the breakdown of funds.

  • 45-50% of funds will go toward the actual programming, gameplay design and visual design.
  • 40-45% will go towards the actors, recording studio fees and sound design.
  • 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.


  • Sure. Get as many copies as you want. We can only do one copy at the discounted backer rate per person, but if you want a second (or as many as you want) just add $5 for every copy to your current reward level. For example, if you pledge at the $3 dollar level but want 2 more copies to be sent to a couple of friends as well you'll pledge $13 total (2 extra copies at $5 a piece).

    We'll ask for your friend's email upon reward delivery. (at the higher levels don't forget to take any international shipping into account as well)

    Last updated:
  • Yes. Both players need a copy of the game. The game will allow you to play either role.

    Last updated:
  • No. Everything is contained within the game. You will be alerted when your "game phone" is ringing.

    Last updated:
  • Yes. You will be able to play on any device by using your game login info. Certain elements of the game however will require GPS functionality.

    There will also be a version of the game specifically for WiFi only devices if that is all you have to play on.

    Last updated:

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $3 or more About $3 USD

    I GOT MY COPY! There. That was easy. You've pre-ordered your copy of The Hostage Trials for iOS or Android. There will also be a version specifically designed for WiFi only devices (e.g. iPod Touch) that does not use GPS or cellular data features. You can choose either one.

    Estimated delivery
    171 backers
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $6 or more About $6 USD

    NOW THAT'S A COOL DESKTOP! All previous tiers AND three "Hostage Trials" wallpapers for all of your digital devices, exclusive to Kickstarter backers. A digital thank you card and your name in the game credits listed as an backer.

    Estimated delivery
    34 backers
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10 USD

    DUDE, LOVE YOUR RINGTONE!: All previous tiers AND you'll receive two "Hostage Trials" ringtones. The same epic pieces that the sound designers are coming up with for the game.

    Estimated delivery
    38 backers
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15 USD

    GET OUT THE VOTE! 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. We want this to be a community inspired game.

    Estimated delivery
    17 backers
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20 USD

    BRING BACK SECRET CODES! **Exlusive Game Content** All previous rewards tiers AND you'll get access to a secret digital file downloaded from the game's website. Hidden within the file will be working phone numbers that can be dialed within the game. Calling the numbers and following the directions reveals more of the back story from "The Hostage Trials" universe. It will be a mini-game within the game and only backers will know how to access it! (If this doesn't make sense, be sure to read the game description.)

    Estimated delivery
    46 backers
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25 USD

    THE INSIDE SCOOP! All of the above tiers AND exclusive access to the "The Hostage Trials" production diary videos. We'll be documenting all aspects of this game and you'll get access to our behind the scenes footage as we work on the gameplay design, sound design, voice over sessions and more.

    Estimated delivery
    10 backers
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30 USD

    READ THE SCRIPT! All previous tiers AND the original game script! There's a lot of dialogue in this game and chances are you won't hear it all as you play through. You'll get a digital PDF of the original game script with lines from every one of the games possibilities. Just don't read it before you actually finish the game. We hate spoilers.

    Estimated delivery
    8 backers
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40 USD

    PEOPLE STILL SEND POSTCARDS! **Exclusive Game Content** 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 more secret game content and goodies made specifically for Kickstarter backers. (additional $5 pledge for international shipping)

    Estimated delivery
    5 backers
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50 USD

    THE CLASSIC T-SHIRT! All previous tiers AND a "Hostage Trials" t-shirt that will act as cool swag for you and free advertising for us! Win win! (additional $10 pledge for international shipping)

    Estimated delivery
    7 backers
  10. 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 one currently known to you only as "the villain." The dossier will include surveillance photos, documents, and once again, trails to even more hidden goodies 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
    16 backers
  11. 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
    6 backers
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125 USD

    HEY! THAT'S FIDO! We need pictures of various pets for a certain part of the game. Send us your best picture of your pet and it will be included in at least one of the games challenges. Plus previous reward tiers (minus limited rewards).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
  13. 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
    Limited 5 backers
  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250 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. (minus limited rewards).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $325 or more About $325 USD

    I SAW MY NAME AND GOT THIS HOODIE TOO! This tier gets your name in the game during one of the hostage challenges AND you'll get a limited run backer only hoodie. Plus all previous reward tiers. (minus limited rewards).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500 USD

    HE SIGNED MY POSTER! At this level you'll get a very cool limited run "Hostage Trials" poster signed by David Hayter and exclusive to backers. We'd sign it too, but you probably don't care about our signatures. You'll also get a special video thank you message from David Hayter himself sent via email. Plus previous reward tiers (minus limited rewards).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 3 backers
  17. 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 (minus limited rewards).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 4 backers
  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $750 or more About $750 USD

    I DESIGNED THAT! While voting on challenges is fun, actually being able to design one is awesome! The villain has a variety of things that he asks you to do when he calls. Be part of the creative team and help us design a real-time day in the game. We'll set up a Skype video conference to hammer it out with you. Plus previous reward tiers (minus limited rewards).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  19. 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 (minus limited rewards).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 1 backer
  20. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,500 or more About $3,500 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 in Culver City, CA we'll record your lines. (You must make your own travel and hotel arrangements.) Record dates will be throughout the summer 2012 and we'll work with you to schedule a date. Plus previous rewards tiers (minus limited rewards).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
  21. Select this reward

    Pledge $7,000 or more About $7,000 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 (minus limited rewards. Must live in continental US).

    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers

Funding period

- (35 days)