Humans are long gone and all that remains are machines, working through the motions set-up by their masters many ages ago. Their sole priority is to ensure everything complies with the obscure standardization protocol, under the supervision of the all-seeing robot leader Quality Assurance System (QuAsSy).
But not all robots are the same. Maybe a result of faulty wiring, there are some willing to stand for themselves, to resist conformity and find their identity.
This bleak lifeless world doesn't cut it. You are Heart, and you want MORE.
You want to become so unique and dashing that nobody will dare look away from you.
You want to be loved.
Heart&Slash is a fast paced brawler with roguelike elements, inspired in equal parts by Bayonetta, Megaman and ADOM. It is also a throwback to our earlier years as gamers, when playing games was all joy...
Started as a personal part-time project (you can follow the development process here), Heart&Slash has grown into something bigger than initially intended. From a one-man project, it soon became clear that a bigger team is required to make it the game it deserves to be.
- Fight using 75 different weapons and 60 different body parts that will change the way the game plays. Teleport, stop time, fly with a jetpack, wall-jump, discover enemy weaknesses and so on. From the trivial to the game-changing, you can try thousands of different combinations.
- Die and try again. Heart&Slash is not an easy game. But dying shouldn't matter as robots can be easily and indefinitely cloned. Every time you start a new game, the levels you fight through, and the items or weapons you collect, will change.
- A unique art style that will bring back the memories of game systems long gone.
- The game will have almost no downtime. Levels are short and brutal, and the game, in a successful run, should not be too taxing on your time (whether you will ever be able to make a successful run is another matter). Heart&Slash aims to offer the player something new and challenging. Ultimately, playing Heart&Slash is not about mastering one system. Instead, it’s about being able to adapt to what you are given and making the best out of it.
HEART: the game's protagonist. The poor robot's memory is wiped every time it is caught by QuAsSy's forces, but deep inside it remains the same. Heart just wants to be itself, but doing so is no easy task! When it meets Slash, it realizes there might be something more to a robot's life than hiding away.
SLASH: contrary to other "rogue" robots, Slash doesn't feel escaping from QuAsSy is enough. It wants to fight back, and despises all robots who refuse to do so, including, at the beginning, Heart...
The ROAMING REBEL ROGUES: also known (to themselves) as the R3 or RRR. They help other robots escape QuAsSy's control, as they feel lonely otherwise...
QuAsSy'S LACKEYS: They just follow orders, but they are a though bunch. Even if they conform to standards, that doesn't make them less versatile. There are hundreds of different kinds of them and they will be Heart's primary enemies for most of the game.
By creating a love interest for Heart, not only are we equipping us with some tools to tackle the meta-game (the love story will be a persistent "quest" that will span multiple playthroughs, like certain quests in Shiren the Wanderer). We also have the opportunity to expand and be more nuanced on the "search for one's identity" theme.
Trying to be unique, trying to be yourself, is all good. But in reality, it's not always that easy. There are external factors that somehow suppress our personality (work-environment, culture...) and many can be deemed as negative if they limit self-expression. But some of these factors are not actually negative at all. As people (and yes, robots are people) one important sacrifice we do is to limit our own welfare for those who matter to us. This happens at most levels in human relationships, but "love" (or the relationship with whoever you have chosen to share your life with) is the most extreme of all these.
And love is not always good. Sometimes it can be too much. Sometimes one member of the couple can suppress the other one. Or sometimes two personalities are so strong that they can't adapt to the other and suffer because of it.
Thus, framing our search for identity around a love story allows us to explore the nuances of what means "being yourself".
The relationship between Heart & Slash will not be an easy one. Slash is a rough veteran of the dystopian world where Heart&Slash takes place, while Heart is a naive newcomer that believes it can make a difference. As Heart, you will meet Slash (and try to capture its attention) through several playthroughs. But how you do it will depend on the player. For each 'quest' (each opportunity to woo Slash) you will have a couple of opportunities that will end up defining the relationship. And how the meta-game will end.
Will you choose independence, or will you change in order to be loved? Or will you find a balance that will allow the relationship to thrive?
This is what Heart&Slash will ultimately be about...
The game will reach Alpha stage this February. Most systems are in place and we have a fully working framework from which to build the game.
The first level set (out of three) is 80% complete in terms of content, while the other two have not been started yet. This means the game is currently 20-30% complete.
Since the game is focused on emergence and random level generation, the primary remaining task is to create assets that can be added to the already existing ones to further design and expand the game.
We also need to focus on the game's story, integrating narration into the game and making sure the story comes through clearly.
Last, but certainly not least, we need to polish the game and balance the huge amount of content it game will include, which is a big job.
Beta release is scheduled for Sept/Oct 2014, with a final release potentially in December 2014. However, funding can change this schedule (especially if the project grows) so we will fix the definitive schedule at the end of the Kickstarter campaign.
Because it's time for the game to grow, and Juan can't do it by himself (nor can we expect people to work for free!).
Heart&Slash will be completed no matter what. We are already fully committed to the project, and we have no doubts about its completion.
However, without funding, the scope and speed of the project will suffer. If we were to continue as it is now, it would be a very small and constrained game. Something to be proud of, but far from what we envisioned for the project.
With your help, we will be able to work full-time on the project, and bring in collaborators and professionals that will make the game grow.
-Enable the lead developer (Juan) to work on the project full-time.
- Hire a professional visual artist and animator to bring the current art to life. We are proud of what we've done up to now, but Juan is no professional artist and definitely no animator.
- Hire a professional programmer to optimize the game and make sure it works on as many systems as possible. The game right now is far from being optimized, and works well on computer 2-3 years old. However the game could be greatly optimized.
- Improve on the sound and music of the game by hiring sound designers (up to now now they have been helping during their off-hours), and commissioning more music.
This is the team we are hoping to put together if the Kickstarter is successful:
JUAN RAIGADA / CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Juan has been developing the game up until now. Everything you see in the trailer, except for the music, is his doing.
THOMAS KOMAIR / PRODUCER: Thomas to coordinate and to project manage and ensure timely delivery. An excellent programmer himself, he doubles in technical duties.
MICHAEL CHAIT / MUSIC: Michael Chait is an award winning composer and musician from New York. He composes emotionally dynamic music soundtracks for video games and visual novels. He´s been collaborating with Heart&Slash since its inception.
ENRIQUE GIL / PROGRAMMING: Enrique has years of experience in the game industry, and brings his expertise to make Heart&Slash as polished and optimized as possible.
MIRELLA DÍEZ & DANIEL ÁLVAREZ / SOUND: With experience in film and independent games, Mirella and Daniel have been collaborating in Heart&Slash, bringing their passion for sound design.
JEFFREY SOUSA / U.S. MANAGER & QA: Jeffrey has extensive experience in the film business and a long working relationship with the team. He serves as aheartfulofgames U.S. based manager as well helps in coordinating the testing and QA of the game.
JULEN URRUTIA, XABIER URRUTIA AND SENDOA BERGASA: Three amazing artist that joined Heart&Slash's team during the Kickstarter. Read the update were they introduce themselves here!
ATTENTION: AS A THANK YOU TO OUR HIGHEST BACKERS, THE PERSONALIZED COPY OF THE GAME WILL BE ADDED TO ALL PLEDGES OF $250 AND HIGHER (IT NO LONGER IS A $100 ONLY REWARD)!!!!
We are planning on shipping in December 2014. Platforms on release will be PC, Mac and Linux. Technical specs are still in flux, but the game will run on any moderately recent desktop.
Check out the original music! If we are funded we will have Michael Chait compose a full soundtrack in the same style with at least 12 tracks, and, in addition to the game, you will be able to download it in high quality DRM-free formats if you pledge over $15.
For the daring souls out there. We will try to release the beta as early as possible, so it will be very rough at the beginning. As we cherish any feedback from you, we will make sure the Beta is almost content-complete (all levels, weapons and enemies in) and expect a release in September 2014. We need your feedback! So if you go for the beta you will definitely help design the game.
THE ART BOOK
There will be many high quality pieces to showcase from the artists we are bringing into the project. The book will also include notes on the development process of the game. As the priority will be to finish the game, the PDF will be released a couple of months after the game.
THE STRATEGY GUIDE
If the art book is a vanity item, this one is actually quite useful. Not only will we list weapon and enemy stats, but we will also go over all the systems to explain the ways to game them for profit. It won't guarantee you will complete the game if your reflexes are not up to par, but it will help you discover all the secrets. As with the Art Book, we will release the strategy guide after the game (come on, at least try playing without help before looking at the guide!).
PERSONALIZED COPY OF THE GAME
A digital thank you to make your copy of the game unique. It will include text and some pixel art. We will also change the names of some characters and items for you, but those will have to be discovered… If you are a purist, don´t worry, all changes will be cosmetic only.
DESIGN A WEAPON
What it says on the can. You can design a weapon by sending us a model, a sketch or just some description and its behavior (a description will suffice). We will work with you and incorporate your weapon into the game as a unique item or as a set of weapons with variations, if we like it enough. Of course, we will need to approve the concept, but as long as it's not too offensive or technically impossible, we'll try our best.
DESIGN AN ENEMY
Enemies are more complex than weapons, so this time we are reserving judgment on the behavior. You are free to suggest what you want the enemy to do, but we will only commit to its visual appearance and name. As with the above, we will need to approve the concept, but as long as it's not too offensive or technically impossible, we'll try our best.
DESIGN A PLAYABLE CHARACTER
The character you design will have to be unlocked within the game and won't be available from the start. This is so we can try to match your vision of the character's abilities without worrying too much about disrupting the overall balance.
3D PRINTABLE FILE
We will send you an UNIQUE file of one of the game's models in a format compatible with 3D printers. The character will come in a special pose and it will have a base for support. No other backer will get the same file or the same character as you, and we won't distribute these files to anybody else. The file is yours and you can use it as you wish, as long as you don’t make derivative work other than prints of it. You will be granted permission to sell those prints should you want to. Characters will be assigned randomly.
DESIGN A ROOM
Rooms in Heart&Slash are complex, with many permutations and even special effects they confer the player or enemies within. For this tier, we will definitely need you to provide either an original drawing of yours, or reference images so we can understand what you envision. Going through all the permutations will take time, so please expect a lot of back and forth communications with us if you choose this reward. Again, we will need to approve the concept, but as long as it's not too offensive or technically impossible, we'll try our best.
BE A CHARACTER IN ALL OF OUR GAMES FOREVER (AND GET THE GAMES FOR FREE)
If you are crazy enough to go for this tier, you will star as an NPC in all the games aheartfulofgames will ever produce. You will choose a name, physical appearance (very generic, for it will have to fit different settings) and a personality trait that will be consistent across all the games. You can even create a storyline for the character to be discovered through playing every game.
(NEW) THE GAME JAM
We're all about giving back to our backers. If you select this reward, you will have all of the team members(including all new additions to the team) working non-stop for 48 hours to make a game of your choice. Who knows that might be the start of a new adventure :) Energy drinks are on us!!
Risks and challenges
No creative project is risk free.
However, we are confident we can bring Heart&Slash to completion. Juan has been grappling with this project almost on his own for a year now, and if we are bringing it into public light now, it's because we finally have confidence to say this the project is feasible. Every single system is in place (although some require rewrites) and the last 2 months of development have been focused on building and balancing content.
That's not to say it's almost done. Quite the contrary, the hardest work is ahead, but the problem now is one of vision and creativity, not of technical feasibility.
This game means a lot to us personally, and there's just no way we would let it go- no matter what. After all we have sacrificed for this project, we will complete it. Challenges and risks, if they occur will, at most, delay the release. But as long as we are standing the project will reach completion.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)