"Machines Don't Die" is a 2.5D Action RPG Platformer, inspired by the Castlevania classics, with a unique death mechanic and design.
The idea for this game came to me when I was looking for a new game to play.
I've always loved the Sci-Fi-Fantasy genre. Movies like Heavy Metal and Akira, but also tv-shows like Thundercats and Dragon Ball Z as well as comic books like Prophet, Saga and Black Science have have had a big impact on me. I could probably go on and on about my favourites.
However, there were not many games in this particular genre with a compelling story. A story that would motivate you to get to the next level, to see what happens next. I was looking for a gameplay that didn´t feel like a huge grind, one that had purpose and incentive to complete the game. Most Games nowadays don't have that, that's why most of us don't finish their games.
Anyways, the game I wanted to play, did not exist. So I decided to make it myself. I asked my best friend, who is a programmer and knows how to use the Unreal Engine 4, if he could help me out. And that's how we started Shepherd's Machine Studios.
Our vision is simple and looks like this:
- Everything should be hand-drawn, just like in the animated shows and movies from the 80s and 90s. It should be in a 3D environment, otherwise it would feel very flat. Boom! 2.5D!
- Tell a compelling story with interesting heroes and villains, who feel organic and have unique personalities. The story should be structured in 4 acts with fascinating cliffhangers after each act.
- Interesting bosses and henchmen each should have unique mechanics and designs. This is usually the standard for platformer games like Castlevania, but for me this was especially important. I have never liked games to feel like you have killed 4000 units and versions of the same guy. And you shouldn't be able to just go mindlessly into a fight and button-mash your way out of there.
- Unique death mechanic. The idea is that every time your hero loses all HP, he also loses a limb. That limb gets replaced by cyber limbs. These cyber limbs give the hero specific powers and enhancements for some skills but also disadvantages and degradation for other skills. However, once the hero loses the last human body parts, so to speak his "humanity", the player loses the game. GAME OVER! Restart the game! Old School!
- Fantastic alien designs. I love to create all kinds of new alien races and environments. I want to make a game that seems new and fresh, something you have never seen before.
- Awesome abilities. Special abilities are affected by the cyber limbs you are given throughout the game. Alternatively, if you manage not to die, you will be able to do special attacks based on your equipped weapon.
We set up a solid foundation, the game is in the prototype phase. Currently, we are focusing on the PC version. However, with the Unreal Engine it shouldn't be too hard to export the game to other platforms. (stretch goals would probably include the port to other platforms like PS4, XBOne, Nintendo switch!?)
What needs to be done? We need to plan out details of all the levels, refine the story, create more game assets like sprites, new level designs, atmospheric lighting and sound designs.
Also, our website is still in progress. It will be finished in the next few days.
We support backer contributions. That means, if you are a designer, animator, musician or you do any other form of art that is relevant to our project, you could become part of the team and help us make the most captivating game ever. Also check out our final two rewards, that way you will make sure that your design makes it into the game ;-)
- This project takes a lot of time and effort. During that time we still need to eat, drink (mainly Captain and Cola ;-)) and pay rent. Through crowdfunding we should be able to complete the art game assets and the programming within 2 years. Additionally, we should be able to pay for outside help, like for example sound/music, secondary animators and artists.
- Company set-up and operation costs. Setting up a video game studio requires sufficient funding for initial and continual legal fees, office rent etc.
I have planned for a release date somewhere around November 2020. The preferred distribution channel is Steam.
Maik Binjaminov (Machine) - @maikdaboss
Designer/Artist/Animator + Project Leader/Producer
I've been a fan of game development for a while now, I even wrote my bachelor thesis on the production of video games. In terms of art, I have been drawing and designing since I was 6 years old but not professionally, until now. Over the years, I have worked on small personal projects like comic books/illustrations and small android games. This past years I finally had enough money saved up to start this project and do what I love full time.
"Stop dreaming, start living!!"
Przemyslaw Gora (Shepherd) - @I'm too salty to have a social media account
As a passionate gamer Przemyslaw has always dreamed of working in the games industry. He constantly worked on small game projects for android and PC in his leisure time, however most of them were highly experimental and he never released them. Now it's time to take that step and work on a project that others might enjoy as well.
The Game (incl. Beta)
Kickstarter backers will have exclusive access to the beta version, therefore be able to play the game way earlier than others. The preferred planned platform is windows and copies will be sent out as steam keys or DRM-free.
This artbook will contain lots of concept designs, illustrations, sketches, sprites and all the interesting stuff that didn't make it into the game. Also, all the art contributions from our supporters, including names and links to their pages, will be in found in our artbook.
This reward will include all the original soundtracks from the game. It will be full of synth wave songs to underline the cyberpunk elements. In addition, it will contain all the music from our contributors, including names and links to their pages.
Our physical rewards include T-Shirts, hoodies (S, M, L and XL) and posters. The standard T-shirts and hoodies will be available for purchase sometime after the Kickstarter as well, except for the variant T-shirt which will be Kickstarter exclusive.
Design major/minor NPC/ Boss/Creature/Enemy
Be part of the game and make compelling or even funny designs for us. I will redesign every submission to fit the overall style of the game, so you shouldn't worry about the level of skill you have.
Risks and challenges
There are no projects that are risk free. This includes our project.
However, the risks are manageable.
In terms of the game, the only risk is that we might not be able to deliver on time and/or that we run out of money. We planned to tackle this particular problem like this: We will create the game act by act. So the first act gets completed first, then the second, third and lastly the fourth. In case we run out of money or are not able to deliver with a reasonable delay, we will release the game in 4 Episodes (much like the telltale games). This will hopefully provide more funding and give you, our backers, a much needed taste of the game.
In terms of rewards, we will probably outsource the t-shirt, hoodie and poster production and distribution to companies that specialize in these things. We hope that this minimizes the risk of not delivering, and more importantly, it saves us time in order to focus on delivering the game.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (40 days)