UPDATE: we're not sure why the physical OST is missing on the list of rewards, but yes the tiers stack and you will absolutely get the physical OST if you back at $150 level and above.
Cerebrawl is a fully hand-animated, 2v2 4-player tag-team fighting game. As a team, you and your partner can use several assist options available to maximize your damage. Cerebrawl is inspired by games such as the Marvel vs Capcom series and their robust tag-team systems, but focuses on breaking each character out to a respective player. While it takes many notes from the VS series of games, it has become a beast of its own during its time in development. Cerebrawl is built on the idea that players not only need to know their character and the depth of their moveset, but also how players can best work together as a team to defeat their opponents.
The game's core features revolve around competitive play with future features including 1v1 and 1v2 modes, a full button check system built into the character select, and tournament mode with a fully automated bracket system. As part of this Kickstarter we are also excited to add stage breaks into the game, a system where players can break down parts of the stage to either extend or narrow the size of the play space and change the meta on the fly.
Combo by: @modoosi
This basic training room demo contains one playable character, Helen, and has limited features such as health refill, super meter refill, hitbox and input display.
You can set controls with the ~ key, or by pressing spacebar and navigating to "controls" with mouse or arrow keys.
This demo is intended as a brief look at how Cerebrawl feels and functions, but in no way should it be taken as a representation of the final product, including balance and damage scaling (not currently implemented). tl;dr wacky things will happen, infinites are everywhere, but none of that will be in the final game. We got this.
(1v1 build has assists disabled and killing a point character causes a KO. This is a temporary solution for players that may not be able to play with 4 people and does not represent how the final 1v1 mode will work)
Throw - LP + LK
Assist Call - MP + MK
Hard Tag - HP + HK
Witch Knuckle - ⬇️↘️➡️ + LP, MP, or HP
Pendulum Kick (ground or air) - ➡️⬇️↘️ + LK, MK, or HK
Evil Eye (ground or air) - ⬇️↙️⬅️ + LP, MP, or HP
Super Witch Knuckle - ⬇️↘️➡️ + PP
Super Beam Storm (ground or air) - ⬇️↙️⬅️ + PP
Fly - ⬇️↙️⬅️ + KK
Airdash - Any direction in air + PP
AC Evil Eye - LP + LK
AC Witch Knuckle - MP + MK
AC Pendulum Kick - HP + HK
Note: some of these features are subject to change as we continue to figure out what's best for final gameplay.
- 2v2 4-player - Cerebrawl is built on 4-player gameplay with the benched player able to assist the point player as outlined below.
- PC Assist - The point player can press MP + MK to open a small time window for the benched player to hop in with 1 of 3 assist options: LP assist, MP assist or HP assist.
- AC Assist - The assist player can call themselves in with LP + LK, MP + MK or HP + HK. This can only be done while the point player is not being hit, including blocking.
- FC Assist - The assist player can spend assist meter to call themselves in with full control of their character by pressing PPP. This can be done at half meter for 60 frames or full meter for 120 frames.
- Delayed Hyper Cancels - Similar to DHC's in VS games but broken out to be controlled by 2 players on a team. During the point player's super the benched player can perform a super input and hard-tag with a super, meter permitting.
- Assist Meter - Assist meter is currently used for Full Control Assists.
- Super Meter - maxes out at 5 and can be used by both point and benched players for DHCs and potentially other future team mechanics.
- Stage breaks - Wall slams and ground bounces can weaken certain parts of stages until they break down and either extend or narrow the size of the stage.
- 1v1 and 1v2 - Cerebrawl is 2v2 at its core, but we want the game to be open to any player configurations. This includes balancing for any tournament configuration where anyone can enter as a solo player or pair. Solo players still control both characters and the game is always 2v2 characters, but not always 2v2 players.
- Snap backs - spend meter to force your opponent's benched player to hard tag back into the point position.
- Push blocking
- Double jumps
- Air dashing/8-way dashing
- Super jumps
We've spent about three years working on Cerebrawl part-time. During the prototype's development the Zero Dimension founders have worked on commissions, album art, and even a large-scale touch installation for Ford to pay the bills. The rest of the team is in the same boat, working full-time jobs and putting time into Cerebrawl on the side. Now that the prototype is in a more complete state, we want to commit to working on Cerebrawl full-time and put as much effort into making the game as polished and feature rich as possible. We can't do that without your help!
Cerebrawl has been available for pre-order in exchange for donations through our website and Itch.io since 2015, and the funds raised from that were enough to help us pay for event equipment, taking the game to shows for early feedback and other misc. items. Donators were also given access to our private Discord which helped us build a strong community of early players and supporters. Thanks to them we've been able to get to this point but now it's time to go one step further.
The funding goal we've set for this campaign is the absolute minimum required to get us to early access. The stretch goals outlined take us all the way to a fully released game. If all of the stretch goals are met more will be unlocked and we'll be able to pack this game with even more features!
What we're delivering at the minimum:
- 4 characters
- 2v2, 1v2 and 1v1
- Full gameplay features including stage breaks
- Local play
- Online play (GGPO)
- Training room
- Original soundtrack with guests
- Character VO
- Steam early access release
What could be added at the maximum:
- 4 more characters (full roster of 8 at release)
- 4 more stages
- Tournament mode
- Extended soundtrack
- Story mode
- Arcade mode
- Currency system (Salty Bet style gambling, ranked match payouts, currency leaderboards)
- Console release
Harmon City was a typical modern metropolis. But when an Imagination Bomb is detonated at the center of the city, Harmon City and its inhabitants are changed forever.
As the blast engulfs the region, the minds of the people start spilling into the reality. Reality can't hold all the different thoughts and possibilities, and when the content of everyone’s psyche start to collide, each individual is thrusted into their own dimension. In these pocket dimensions, each citizen of Harmon City grow new worlds based on their ideals and desires.
As fast as these worlds start to form, the pocket dimensions begin to re-collapse into reality. The many dimension-worlds start spiraling back into the place from which they came, but Harmon City has only limited space. The people who were merely residents of the city now have a chance to form their environment, but to do so they need to fight for real estate, as their dimension-worlds will need space to take root in the newly forming Harmon City.
Inspired by the classic arcade 2D fighting games, we're trying to achieve the wild and imaginative visuals that allowed fighting games to carve out an aesthetic that is bizarre and unique to itself. This aesthetic, that influences artists to this day, is extremely labor intensive. Because the same animation is showcased over and over again in a single match, a tremendous amount of effort and labor has to be put into every single frame. In our opinion this effort is worth it. Not only does the animation feel alive, players can see and react to distinct silhouettes.
For the backgrounds we'd like to create 2D/3D hybrid backgrounds. Another element that makes fighting games so unique are the locations that the battles take place. We think we can create backgrounds that really come to life by combining the best parts about 2D and 3D backgrounds. The dynamic perspective shifts created by subtle camera movement 3D provides and the organic and vibrant texture offered by 2D paintings.
Stage break concept
Operator 28 concepts
Helen Brutehilde (Battle Witch)
Height: 5’ 8” (6’ 6” with hat on)
Weight: 152 lbs
Blood type: B
Favorite food: Knuckle sandwich
Fighting style: Bar room brawling
Hobbies: Weight lifting, collecting voodoo dolls, memorizing sweet hexes.
Before the Imagination Bomb went off in Harmon City, Helen was a quiet and reserved woman. She worked hard, but was a mostly disliked member of a small law firm. She didn’t join any of the company functions, and her stand-offish attitude made her difficult to work with. Her work performance made sure she was employed, but those around her began to resent her. They chided that she was stuck up and that she refused to show people her softer side.
Little did they know, she didn’t have a softer side.
Whenever she found a moment alone in the office, she would listen to a variety of metal songs just to get her through work hours. And as her resentment of other people built up inside her during the day, she would go to the gym afterwards to burn off the anger that smoldered inside her.
It was a particularly trying day at the office. Her boss had decided that the office had had enough of her attitude, and that she should be told to be nicer to the people around her. And as Helen listened to her boss drone on in his corner office, she saw a flash outside the window in the distance…
Operator 28 (Tac Knight)
Height: 7’ 1”
Weight: 296 lbs
Blood type: A
Favorite food: Scotch egg
Fighting style: Kunst des Fechtens
Hobbies: Whittling, can collecting, feeding stray cats
He was roaming the streets of Harmon City as a homeless man when the Imagination Bomb was detonated. Before that, he was a war veteran. Having joined the service with a sense of justice and a strong conviction, he took his military duty very seriously. What exactly happened overseas is a bit of a mystery, but by the time he had returned home it was long since the light in his eyes had left him.
Once home, 28 drifted away from his friends. His self imposed isolation made him more and more distant. Before he knew it, he was on the streets. Walking aimlessly through the dark alleys of Harmon City. All he wanted was to be able to use his brawn and enthusiasm to do some good in the world. But what came to him was the realization that the “great adventure” he went on so many years ago yielded nothing but guilt and regret.
Though disillusioned by what he saw and had done, he still longs for a battle that is meaningful, and right. He yearns for honor and a chance at redemption.
As his dimension-world begun its descent towards Harmon City, 28 brings with him a simpler world. Where good fights evil. Where the proud stand tall. Where knights slay dragons.
Susan of Slummerville
Height: 5’ 2”
Weight: 110 lbs
Blood type: ?
Favorite food: Sashimi
Fighting style: International wrestling
Not much is known about where Susan is from. What is known about her is that her entry to the new Harmon City is very different from all the other inhabitants. She was neither allotted her own pocket dimension, nor did she bring a dimension-world with her.
The few things that can be known about her can be picked up through observation. Watching her fight, it’s obvious that she was trained by the 7 gods of wrestling. And also that the Imps of the Mind don’t have any affect on her.
The Imps of the Mind were born from the Imagination Bomb explosion. They crawled out of the crater created by the explosion, and run around pestering people with impulsive thoughts. Having no affect on Susan, they are drawn to her. Wherever you see Susan, you’re bound to see a few Imps as well.
Frankly, it’s not known why she’s even there. Maybe she’s there to stake a claim of some sort in New Harmon City, or perhaps she’s fighting just for the fun of it.
Height: 6’ 2”
Weight: 196 lbs
Blood type: O
Favorite food: Pelau
Fighting style: Track-and-field, street fighting
Hobbies: Running, making shoes, urban exploration
Jaren is always moving forward. His destination is and always has been the title of fastest man alive. As he dashes through the city he's always on the lookout. Always looking for hurdles to overcome. Always looking for a reason to dig deeper. The stronger the opponent the more he must learn, adapt, and evolve.
The pocket dimension Jaren fights for is one where the cream always rises to the top. A continuous sangsara of competition where those who enter are continuously tested and constantly improve.
Once his dimension-world hits the ground, he plans on defeating every pocket dimension that reaches Harmon City. He wishes to find the boundaries of the new running abilities he's acquired and knows that competition is most fierce when the stakes are high.
Along with the 4 characters above, we're planning on adding 4 more characters for the final build of the game. The 5th character will be determined by you (for more information read below)! The remaining 3 are yet to be announced, so please stay tuned!
We have so many character ideas kicking around that we've decided to let the community vote for the 5th character to be added to the roster! Backing this campaign at any level gets you a set of votes to be used in our tournament-style character vote once this campaign is successfully funded. Our first backer level has also been set aside for buying additional votes if you really find yourself getting passionate about a specific waifu.
Our soundtrack (and the rest of the game audio!) is produced by 2 Mello, an audio engineering beast known for several mashup albums including Chrono Jigga, Nastelvania, 3/6 Chambers, and EarthBIG. Recent releases include original albums such as Midnight Broadcasts 1 & 2, and OSTs for games like Read Only Memories and Ghosts of Miami.
2 Mello is creating an original soundtrack for Cerebrawl with heavy influences from early 90's hip-hop, Jet Grind Radio, and SFIII: Third Strike. Check out some of the tracks already produced below:
Successful funding means that we can include guest artists on the soundtrack which we'll be working with on original songs! Guest artists joining us include:
Click on an artist's image below to listen to their music
Mega Ran is a rapper and producer best known for the hip-hop tributes to Mega Man that launched his career and made him the only rapper officially licensed by Capcom. A former special education teacher, Ran retired in 2011 to make music full-time, and has recorded well over two dozen albums, mixtapes and EPs and toured around the world. Mega Ran brings the fundamentals of hip-hop and a mission to spread knowledge into the world of video games, and we are better for it.
K-Murdock is a hip-hop producer and audio engineer best known for his role creating Native Tongues-inspired beats in the hip-hop duo Panacea formed in 2003, and for his frequent collaborations with Mega Ran where he brings the hip-hop touch to video game music sampling. Their collaboration history began with 2010's Forever Famicom LP, starting Murdock towards his long-held goal of making music for video games. The self-proclaimed Sound Samurai, Murdock is focused on bringing new sounds to the genre and specializes in warm, soulful production.
Open Mike Eagle is a hip-hop artist who blends singing and rapping in a hypnotizing poetic flow with harmonious, dynamic production. One of the strongest lyricists of our generation, Mike Eagle has released six critically-acclaimed solo albums including his debut Unapologetic Art Rap in 2010, the amusing and uncomfortable Dark Comedy in 2014, and most recently 2017's Brick Body Kids Still Daydream, a concept album about the Robert Taylor Homes public housing project in Chicago. Open Mike Eagle also hosts a podcast, Secret Skin, where he interviews other artists, and will co-host the upcoming Comedy Central series The New Negroes with Baron Vaughn. If successfully funded, Cerebrawl will be his first video game appearance
Time Machine was formed in 1999 by DJ Mekalek, DJ Jaysonic, and DJ Comel in Washington D.C. The group began working on their first full-length album in 2001 after relocating to Rhode Island. During this time, they released their single “Personal Ads” on its own label, Glow-in-the-Dark Records. Their debut album Slow Your Roll was released in 2004 which features appearances from Special K and Edan. The group has since shared the stage with Common, the Beatnuts, and People Under the Stairs. Time Machine released another full length album in 2008 titled, Life is Expensive and are currently working on a new forthcoming album.
Diepod as the voice of The Announcer
Laura Schafer as the voice of Helen
Ben Ruiz as the voice of Operator 28
In order for Cerebrawl to reach early access, we need to raise $278,000. This will cover one year's worth of development and contracting costs. A majority of our costs are labor which have been broken into 4 month chunks, each costing about $78,000. Each 4 month period will be dedicated to a single character. Since Helen is nearly complete, our main focus will be animating and designing Operator 28, Susan, and Jaren. Because our state machine is already functional, our programming side will be focusing on netcode, stage breaks, and quality-of-life improvements to our tools.
Currently, we are a small team of 6 and plan to add another artist with funds raised by this campaign. Our team will be comprised of 3 artists, 1 producer, 1 designer, 1 programmer, and 1 audio engineer. We've dedicated three years to Cerebrawl and since we are passionately driven to complete this project we have decided to take significant pay-cuts to help ensure the campaign's success.
Staff Salary (for 1 year): $175,000
Contracting Costs: $46,000
Production, VO and misc: $17,000
Kickstarter Rewards and Fees: $40,000
Our miscellaneous costs include licensing (such as GGPO), voice-over contracting, as well as administrative and legal fees.
If we are able to cut costs, any extra funding will be used for additional polish items such as enhanced UI and effects animation.
Zero Dimension Co-Founder and Art Director
Eliot has created art for many departments in many companies over the years. Previous work includes Harmonix Music Systems Inc, 38 Studios, and Disney Interactive. More recently he's worked as an environment designer at VML, a freelance animator at White Rabbit and a product designer at GameYayFun. After gathering experience in everything between 2D animation to 3D environment design, in late 2014 he began work on Cerebrawl. Currently he is working as the art director, animator, and environment painter at Zero Dimension.
Zero Dimension Co-Founder, Producer, UI and Community Manager
Aaron's background is primarily in UI design for games, previous experience including Massively Fun, Microsoft, and Disney Interactive. In 2015, Aaron transitioned into a role as the community manager for the Indie Megabooth and co-founded Zero Dimension. He also took part in several client projects with Zero Dimension including interactive installations for VML and Ford. Aaron currently manages Cerebrawl's community, team tasks, and handles implementation of the game's UI.
A tournament player and event organizer from the New England area, Wilson has also worked as a tester for Harmonix Music Systems Inc and several indie games. As a tournament player, he was proficient in the Street Fighter and the Marvel series. Wilson currently works to design the combat engine.
Yusuke develops the core engine and leads the direction on the deep technical aspects of Cerebrawl. His experience includes developing software tools and infrastructure at Zillow, administering the indie game jam 8 Bit History, and building games such as Gentritown and Tile.
Junior Programmer and Artist
East coast animator who has worked for clients such as Bento Box Atlanta, Lowbrow Studios, and Lab Zero Games. He’s worked on projects such as “The Awesomes” on Hulu, “Adam Ruins Everything” on TruTV and “The Shooting Stars” on Newgrounds. Prior to entering the animation industry, Scott worked on government e-learning projects, such as Carney Inc’s “Cyber Awareness Challenge” and interactive technical manuals for Lockheed-Martin. Scott currently helps the team with code support and will be transitioning to an artist role.
Composer and Audio Director
Matthew is responsible for the soundtrack and sound design of 2064: Read Only Memories (MidBoss), which took the Reboot Indie Game Award for Best Sound in 2016, as well as sounds in many other games including Ghosts of Miami (Pillow Fight Games), Breeze In The Clouds (Stormy Nights LLC), SZeance (DREAMFEEL) and Celeste (Matt Makes Games). Prior to working in the game industry, Matthew was known for his mashups combining hip-hop vocals and classic video game music, and his instrumental hip-hop releases, now part of a calming series called Midnight Broadcasts. He is responsible for music composition, sound design and voice acting casting and directing on Cerebrawl.
About Zero Dimension
Zero Dimension is an independent game development studio based in Seattle, Washington. The company was originally founded in early 2015 to begin the design of their debut title Cerebrawl. Development of the prototype began six months into production after an art pipeline was established and a small team of six was pieced together. Zero Dimension has worked on a wide variety of projects including but not limited to: concept art, 2D animation, 3D modeling and texturing, illustration, story boarding, environment art, print, visual effects, video, user interface, and production.
Risks and challenges
We understand that early access can be a risky venture, but a year of full-time work on the game will be incredibly beneficial in the long run. Getting the proper tools in place means we can focus more of our energy getting content into the game at a lower cost. Another year of development also means we have time to polish up an even better demo to bring to publishers, which was our original intent for Cerebrawl and we would still like to pursue that avenue of funding the final game during our time.
Managing a Kickstarter can be a tough thing to balance with development. Luckily we have a producer on staff who can help the team put all of their effort into developing the game while delivering on all of the promises of this campaign on schedule, such as rewards and updates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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