In a world covered by ice, Dougal is a pragmatic traveling alchemist who likes to keep a low profile. But, when he and his bat-like Familiar, Isaac, wind up stuck in an isolated town, he realizes that the key to incredible power might be hidden there. The only problem: he has to earn it. Now, he must compete against several other unusual alchemists to complete a dangerous challenge and slay a fearsome monster. But, with a clockwork tiger giving the orders, and Agent Lamia of the Imperial intelligence service poking her nose into their business, could the master alchemist Megistus really be telling them the truth... or leading them into a trap?
Icebound is a visual novel for PC, Mac and Linux platforms, as well as iOS and Android. Set in a dark-fantasy, steampunk world, it is an interactive story and puzzle game that puts a new twist on the notion of an ice age by combining it with a society in the midst of an alchemical and industrial revolution.
While the game is well on its way, I want to make it even better by adding full voice acting and putting it on mobile platforms. This is where you come in - by funding the game, I will be able to release it in the best possible state.
What's a visual novel?
A visual novel is an interactive story adventure with graphics, sound and music. It allows the reader to make decisions to influence the story as they explore the world. Visual novels heavily influenced RPGs in Japan, and have now come to the West as people realize the potential of this genre with modern software that allows the creation of visual novels with more efficient production methods.
Unlike playing an RPG, the player doesn't have to first deal with time-consuming battles to read the tantalizing story. And unlike reading a book, a visual novel not only stimulates the visual and auditory senses, but allows the reader to play the character's role for themselves.
We hope that Icebound will appeal to new players as well as those who are already fans of traditional visual novels.
Why is Icebound unique?
Visual novels are often life simulations or romance stories with a real world setting like high school. However, I believed that the genre had space for more fantastical settings. So, I decided to write a story with more mature characters, more detailed art and a unique and fleshed-out fantasy world that was lighthearted, yet contained themes of dark fantasy. While originally a small project, it soon evolved into a novel-length commercial game.
Icebound contains anime influences that tend to go hand-in-hand with these types of games, but was also inspired by western literature and other media. This gives the game a unique perspective that is uncommon in most visual novels.
Icebound also contains optional, alchemy inspired puzzle minigames that supplement the plot. Choose to complete them and become a true alchemist, or bumble your way through!
What is Icebound about?
The world of Permia has been locked in the depths of an ice age since the ancient past. Two races have forged a way of life revolving around the power of alchemy – not merely a science, but an ability that allows one to manipulate the forces of nature through the use of a Familiar - a tamed animal companion that shares the alchemist's life-force.
In the north resides the Holy Empire, whose machinery and society both run like clockwork, and which is populated by humans much like ourselves. In the south sits the Council, a powerful alliance of tribes who have mastered the spiritual arts, and which consists mainly of the hair-covered, horned feran race, with lesser numbers but a greater affinity towards alchemy. Both superpowers harbor tension towards each other, but so far it has not escalated into war.
A wandering alchemist named Dougal winds up in the isolated town of Isenbarr with his Familiar, Isaac, hoping to find a job and earn some spending money. What he doesn't expect to encounter is a web of intrigue involving a clockwork beast, a seductive secret agent, a priestess with mysterious powers, a mad genius, and a group of eccentric alchemists competing to vanquish a deadly monster. Nothing is certain... except that chaos will ensue.
Who are the voice actors?
Icebound will be voiced by a talented cast of voice actors. Dougal, the main character, will be exuberantly voiced by LittleKuriboh, creator of one of the most popular abridged series online and a well-known figure within anime fandom. A list of voice actors, excluding characters who would count as spoilers, is below:
Barzul - River Kanoff
Dirk - Matt Shipman
Dougal - Martin Billany
Edward - Daniel Gold
Guard - Greg Nugent
Isaac - Jeremy Baker
Jeffrey - Johan Bagenholm
Kai - Edward Bosco
Roy - Patrick M. Seymour
Torrun - Chris Guerrero
Voski - Edwyn Tiong
Zoltan - Zach Holzman
Bartender - Karen Kahler
Cerise - Karen Hayman
Heather - Felicia Angelle
Kimka - Caitlin Chang
Lamia - Amberlee Connors
Maia - Michelle Rojas
Nira - Jill Harris
??? - Marianne Miller
What are the backer rewards?
All backers giving $25 or greater will receive their names in the credits.
There will be two types of physical rewards depending on what tier you back.
The first reward will be an official Icebound T-Shirt printed on American Apparel, a high-quality brand. A short-sleeved, unisex shirt with a tasteful color choice, it will feature a stylized, custom-designed image of one of the game's characters made specially for the Kickstarter.
The next reward will be a limited edition poster with a piece of art featuring an exciting scene with the game's main characters, digitally drawn specially for the Kickstarter in a high-quality anime style. It will be sized 18x24 inches, and is suitable for framing or hanging. Higher backers will receive a signed version of the poster.
Samples of the art will be available in future updates to the Kickstarter as they are designed.
The non-physical rewards for the highest backers include:
Personalized voicemail message - A voice actor of your choice will record a custom message for you as a character from this game or another of their works.
Background NPC - We will add you or your character into the background of one of the game's final cutscenes. We will endeavor to make their appearance accurate, but reserve the right to redesign them as is appropriate for the scene.
Where is the money going?
This Kickstarter, if funded, will cover the entire creative budget of the game, as seen in the chart of estimated expenses below.
Art, Music, Code, Website - The development cost of the game.
Voice Acting - The initial voice budget, split amongst the voice actors according to their role.
Rewards and Misc. Costs - The cost of creating the rewards as well as a buffer zone for backers who are not able to pledge.
Kickstarter and Amazon Fee - The required fees for processing the money and hosting the Kickstarter.
If more stretch goals are reached, the game will receive a port to mobile platforms and further improvements.
However, it doesn't end there. The chart does not include the living expenses of writing, designing and producing the game. The amount to make it a commercial success goes well over this Kickstarter's goal.
If the Kickstarter exceeds its goal, extras will be added to the game, and the voice actors will receive greater compensation for their hard work.
$10,000 - Icebound will be released separately for iOS and Android platforms. Play Icebound on your touch screen!
$20,000 - Icebound will receive additional cutscenes to better illustrate more key story moments. The voice budget is doubled from the original amount.
$30,000 - Icebound will receive an animated opening video and theme song (OP) and ending (ED) featuring original scenes from the game.
Be sure to like Icebound on Facebook for further updates!
Risks and challenges
Icebound is nearly ready for distribution. There are virtually no risks to Icebound's development if the Kickstarter fails, besides the fact that with less income, I may be unable to do things like continue to make games or expand the Icebound story. Regardless of the outcome of the Kickstarter, Icebound will be completed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Due to logistical concerns, there are currently no plans for a physical game disc. However, printable box and disc art for both Icebound and the Icebound Soundtrack will be included with them when they are sent out.
We are looking into translations for various major languages. If added, they will be changeable in the game's settings.
You can send an email to iceboundvn-at-gmail.com (remove the dashes) for information on where to send your money to pre-order a copy of the game.
The voice actors will be paid in full regardless of whether the Kickstarter succeeds or fails. The game's release will not be affected if the Kickstarter fails, but future games and support from us will be easier if the game is funded.
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