Linux and Android now a base 50k funding goal. We talked with many Linux users over the last few weeks and changed this up. And since we've already hit 50k, that means we will be releasing for Linux in September 2014! Same goes for Android. No more waiting for 75k to release there!
Concept Art. You've helped back us, and now we want to involve you in the decision making process! We've released a bunch of concept art, and would love to have your opinion on which direction we should go far. We're attaching a few images here, but head back to the Project Update section and comment there to let us know!
Oh, hello! It’s me, John Watson! What’s that you say? You’ve never heard of me? Well, I bet you’ve heard of Sherlock Bloody Holmes, haven’t you?
That’s just what I’m here to talk about. Nobody knows anything about me! Oh sure, they know I’m the “loyal servant” to his holiness Sherlock Holmes, but that’s only what he makes me put in those damn journals I write for him! I’m here to tell things from my side of the story. The right side. The side that shows Sherlock for what he really is: an oafish, pompous, deceiving, righteous, attention-hog, controlling snollygoster!
Ahem. Well. Yes. I seem to have gotten myself into a bit of a fluster here. He does that to me, you know. It’s a lot to put up with. Yes, I respect the man. When it comes to people, well... I suspect you may already know what he is like in that particular arena.
But I am here to set it straight! Put it on the up and up. The straight and simple facts. To prove once and for all that Sherlock Holmes does NOT solve his cases via cunning intellect alone. He does it with help. MY help. I’m going to tell you the real story of a case that began with a runaway train, and ended with me finally telling him that it was, in fact, Elementary, My Dear Holmes.
“Ah ha. Watson really should do a better job of hiding these notebooks. A story where he is the hero? Laughable. This shall be amusing.”
“Where has my blasted notebook gone? Damnit. I bet he found it. I’ll need to start again, and hide it better this time. Who knows how he’d try to muck up my story.”
Elementary, My Dear Holmes is a point-and-click adventure game, like the awesome ones we played as kids by companies like LucasArts and Double Fine. Like Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle and Grim Fandango, we’re making a game where you once again suffer from the terrible infinite pockets affliction, and are forced to store everything from a whisky bottle to a weird painting about intelligent peaches for further bizarre combining use. Solve puzzles that we’ve done our best to not be incomprehensible to anyone who isn’t a game developer! Obviously, using that gnome plus a watermelon on the revolving door will create an interdimensional portal! Obviously.
In Elementary, My Dear Holmes, you play as John Watson - doctor, soldier, and adventurer! - as he quests around turn-of-the-20th-century Europe, facing mysteries while danger abounds! A cryptic message from Afghanistan, a lost heiress, a cunning noble family, and the birth of an organization that will come to be known as The Illuminati are just some of the elements that you, as John Watson - doctor, soldier and adventurer! - will be facing. We have all your favourite Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s characters, including Sherlock Holmes, Irene Adler, Inspector Lestrade, and Professor Moriarty, plus a cast of unique, eccentric and sometimes downright dodgy new characters!
What we’ve also got is a twisting story in the true Holmesian fashion, but with John Watson as the lead. Tired of being delegated to a mere journal writer, Watson decides that it is his turn for the spotlight, no matter what Holmes thinks! Set on a runaway train in the classic Sir Conan Doyle era, Elementary, My Dear Holmes is designed to be a loving reference to the intricate plots of old, while staying true to its witty Adventure Game roots.
Got opinions you want to share? Join the conversation at #Watson
“Very intriguing. Watson does seem intent on making himself out to be the hero. Maybe it is finally time for me to test his skills and see if he is up to snuff...”
“Now... where to really start. Ah, yes. The train. It was always about the train, wasn’t it? No, no. Wait. It started that day in Sherlock’s parlour when we were discussing the case. Listening to that windbag going on yet again about his heroics...”
Adventure game fans have had an amazing year. A genre that had been given a death sentence has risen again through fan-funded projects, and inspired us to do it ourselves. We really want to put together a game that speaks to the genre we love, and Kickstarter is naturally a great way to put our pitch video out there and see if you would like to play the game we want to make.
Additionally, Kickstarter gives us a lot of freedom, and the ability to utilize many voices to help us make our game better. Player feedback has become increasingly important to projects, and we’d really like to make a community around Elementary, My Dear Holmes to take advantage of that input. How we believe that Crowdsourcing should not begin and end with crowdfunding, but should be all inclusive: Crowd-Developing!
And because the point-and-click genre is one where you quite literally want to have your cake and eat it too, the fine folks at Ouya have this super awesome deal... well, let us put it like this:
We're participating in OUYA's #FreeTheGames Fund, created by OUYA to support developers making new and creative console games. OUYA will match your pledge dollar-for-dollar if we raise a minimum of $50,000, so help us get there and make a great game for everyone! To be eligible for this match, we commit that this game will be an OUYA exclusive for six months—no matter what. To learn more about OUYA, go to www.OUYA.tv.
Sounds awesome, right? It is! It’s like, if you’re giving us $10, you’re really giving us $20! You get to feel as good about yourself as if you’d given twice whatever you actually do give! We’re all fans of the open-source nature of the Ouya, and when we saw this opportunity, we knew we had to act. And after the six months, we’ll continue on and port it to Android, iOS, PC and Mac!
“Ah yes. The day Watson and I discussed the case, so he could start to write it down for the next book. So, that was when this all began...”
“The young girl dropped a note. This cipher! I’d seen it before. Afghanistan? How would one like her possibly have something like this? I knew that only I, and I alone, could decipher it.”
You backed a project on Kickstarter and it promised the world and then got delayed for months on end? Bummer. We’ve been there too. That’s why we’re running a tight ship and have a whipcracker of a Project Manager who ensures we deliver on time and on budget.
Remember that time when Sherlock made Watson dress up like a woman to seduce a German Arms Dealer? He’s like that. It’s scary what he makes us do.
Our plans, with successful funding, is to launch on the Ouya by March of 2014, followed by a release on all other platforms by September of 2014.
(This is Kickstarter, so we don't need Sherlock or Watson to figure it out!)
What we’re looking for today are backers to support our project. This could be by sharing our page on social media, telling your friends about it, or by selling your house and giving us all your money. Our goal is $50,000, and every penny helps. We’re only a small studio, and really just need to be able to keep the lights on and our artists happy, or else all our drawings will end up looking like this:
Don’t worry, this isn’t our concept art.
$50,000. We’ll release the game on The Ouya, and then six months later on Windows, Linux and Android!
$75,000. We’ll release for iOS and Mac!
$100,000. We’ll add significantly improved puzzles and an extended story. Matching puzzles? Pshaw! We’ll have... complicated matching puzzles! In addition, we’ll be able to increase the story range by roughly 50%, adding in sections at historical locations in England, Paris and Germany. We will also flesh out the inventory and flavor text segments of the game.
$125,000. We’ll include professional level voice acting for every character in the game. That weird guy in the train bar who has four lines? He’ll have a voice, and we promise it won’t be some random dude off the street we shove a microphone and a script at. PLUS, you want languages? We’ve got languages! We’ll release the full game in German (subtitles AND voice overs), plus subtitles in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian.
$150,000. We’ll include an encylopedia with the game on Sherlock Holmes lore, characters, and all of the canon stories, accessible within the game!
$175,000. We’ll finally get to add in that coveted action sequence that made Sam wonder how the devil we’d be able to do it! Watson shooting plates! Amazing.
$200,000. We extend our scope to the Moon! With new set pieces, characters and an expanded scene where Watson takes some funky mushrooms and engages on a psychedelic trip through time. Thanks, Tim Schafer! Sorry you weren’t able to include this in Full Throttle.
$250,000. All of the above + we get a full-time documentation crew that records our progress as we develop the game. All backers get a copy of the finished movie. The rest of the world has to pay for it!
You love rewards. We love rewards. Everybody loves rewards! That's why we've got a bunch of them over on the (top) right to express our thanks to you for helping us fund this project! Go ahead and indulge!
We're going to be building this in Unity, which means porting is over is as easy as ABC. Oh, 123!
“Who was she? This young girl needed our help. My help. Not our help. Blasted Sherlock was getting in my way at every angle, and there was something funny going on this train.”
We’ve got a team of industry experienced professionals ready to lay it all on the line for this project. Like Watson, you may not have heard of them, but they’re the brains behind some serious brawn.
The two idea guys behind this project are Sam Chandola and Max Tennessen. They’re a lot funnier than they sound. Trust me. Almost as funny looking! Ha! No! Put down the stick, Sam. I didn’t mean it!
Sam has extensive experience working on video games at companies like VirtuosGames, where he worked with Electronic Arts, Activision, Ubisoft and (RIP) OMGPOP :(. He’s always boasting that he “Produced apps for the United Nations” or something like that. He now heads up Victory Square Games and is a big-headed jerk who always makes everyone work way harder than they should (We need our beauty sleep, after all!). He’s also asking me, again, if I included the fact he worked with the United Nations. We get it Sam. No, writers don’t get you coffee.
Max is a producer and comedian with over two million YouTube views, mostly on videos of him talking about comic books. He’s such a nice guy that made a video game music album that raised over $15 000 - and get this, he donated all of it to charity! His less charitable work has included web series, short films, music videos, and more. He has extensive digital marketing experience, and if this whole project goes south, we’re blaming it on him.
All our game art is done by the abrasive, offensive, and incredibly talented Stefano Marrone. This guy has studied and practiced animation all over the globe, from Milan, to Vancouver, to London, and everywhere he goes people will remember him (both for his amazing art and... unique personality). He currently works as animation director and producer at the Nucco Brain animation studio in London, probably twirling his amazing moustache.
Our writing staff includes the wonderful, handsome and incredibly talented Bob Edwards who is not unlike Sherlock Holmes when it comes to video game writing. (We told Sam we took that part out, but we’re going to leave it in. He’s too busy trying to convince someone down on the street to do voice acting for us to double check this). Bob is currently a Content Writer for Interdimensional Games, whose successful Kickstarter for “Consortium” back in May earned a little over $70,000, and is set to release on Steam and GoG next month.
And finally, we have Riley Godard, who knows his 0s from his 1s and will be mixing and matching them in a completely arbitrary fashion to come up with what he calls code. One never knows what goes off in that crazy head of his - mostly because he never takes his hat off - and he likes to make up complex mathematical equations on our whiteboard to pretend he is busy. Before haunting us here at Victory Square Games, Riley was annoying the good folks over at Fathom Interactive, where he worked on Kaia's Quest, a puzzle adventure game for iOS and Android.
“Was Watson ready for this? No. I mustn’t let him think that I’m taking control. I’ll need to keep watch discreetly. From where? Aha. That plant. Perfect. He’ll never know I’m here.”
“The train was barreling out of control. I knew I’d need to think fast if I wanted to figure out how to get the brakes engaged! Damnit! Sherlock would know this. But...I don’t need him. Not this time!”
Elementary, My Dear Holmes is a game that we’d love to play. We’re pouring our heart and soul into the project, and we want to bring as many people along on our journey as possible. The game design industry is changing, and we really believe that the voice of backers and fans is integral to the process of making a truly great game.
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson are some of the longest living characters in our popular culture, and still incredibly relevant. Interpretations of their characters are facing a golden age right now, and the same has been said of the resurgence of adventure games. To be able to combine these two is a dream come true, while at the same time, applying a unique and new perspective to both the characters, and the genre.
Grab your Tentacle, Golden Monkey or Motorcycle and gear up for a new Adventure Game that will stretch the limits of your imagination (without time traveling mushrooms).
“Watson? What are you doing? No, pull, the right lever! The other right one! My good man, I’m only gagged, why can’t you understand me?”
Risks and challenges
#Risk: We have only produced a rudimentary playable prototype, and our production schedule is very tight.
#Mitigation: But we have a great full-time staff who work tremendously well together, and who have put together quality shippable games in three months. Also, we’re producing only a 2D game - that’s one whole D we don’t have to deal with!
#Risk: At $50,000, we are producing this on a shoe-string budget (for a video game).
#Mitigation: But we’re lucky enough to be a part of the Ouya Free The Games Initiative. This doubles all funds raised for the project, which will be a huge bonus.
#Risk: Adventure games are dead! Sure Tim Schafer got the funding he needed, but he’s a video game celebrity!
#Mitigation: This is literally the last line of our Kickstarter page. The fact that you’ve read this far shows that there is clearly interest.
“A Slightly Used Motorcycle”: All of the above + you get A Slightly Used Motorcycle! Ok, not really, but you DO get to be murdered in the game! That’s right! We will digitize you and kill you. This is the best reward ever. (Note, actual killing may be metaphorical).
“The Death Starfish”: All of the Above + you are the King’s Hand. Or Queen’s Hand. Your hand is so important, it will have a part in developing the Game. You get to choose between writing the dialog tree for a character, or drawing one that will be included in the game.
“World’s Largest Ball of Twine”: You are the King. Or the Queen. They will appear in our story and you will be them. It doesn't matter how ridiculous it is. Isn’t that the point? (And you get all the non-restricted stuff from previous tiers too). You’ll also get a special Ouya, signed by the team, with the game preloaded on it.