About this project
$35,000 Stretch Goal - ACHIEVED!
Anew: The Distant Light is an indie game currently in pre-alpha. It is being created by veteran developers Steve Copeland and Jeff Spoonhower, with an original soundtrack by Wilbert Roget II.
Watch the Kickstarter trailer in full 1080p: HD Trailer on YouTube
From two lead developers who worked on the Bioshock, Borderlands, Star Wars, Uncharted, Lord of the Rings, and Saints Row franchises, comes Anew: The Distant Light.
You are a child with limited resources, waking up on a distant alien moon, twenty light years from Earth. You must carry out a mission of critical importance. Make your way through an exotic and dangerous alien world. Seek out game-changing equipment, upgrades, and vehicles to expand your options for combat and exploration.
Inspired by classic games like Metroid, Cave Story, and Dark Souls, Anew: The Distant Light will appeal to fans of platforming, combat, exploration, and visual storytelling.
Huge, Open Game World - Explore and unlock an unknown alien moon to discover your origins and your mission. Your adventure will take you above and below the surface of the moon, across rocky landscapes, towering spires, deep frozen lakes, and more.
Classic Metroidvania Structure - Discover new tools, abilities and weapons which allow you to unlock new areas in the game world. Environments play differently as you evolve, making it fun to explore familiar territory for previously unreachable items and access to new realms.
Deep Gameplay - Every weapon and piece of gear is a game-changer. Situational advantages from gear choices ensure that nothing becomes obsolete. Upgrade and customize your weapons to suit your play style. Diverse and meaningful interactions with other characters and the environment make exploring your equipment as fun as exploring the game world.
Upgradeable Home Ship - The ship you've traveled to the alien moon on is a playable level in itself. Find hidden power cells in the game world, and return them to your ship to unlock rooms. Each new room in the ship offers new and exciting gameplay options. Your ship grows with you as you master the game world.
Pilot Powerful Machines and Vehicles - Pilot massive mechs, tanks, shuttles, and a variety of other awesome weaponized vehicles. Hop in and out at-will to explore on foot, or collect items and upgrades. Take on hordes of enemy soldiers with ease!
Dynamic Environment - A day and night cycle with changing atmospheric conditions, weather effects, and a burning-hot sun modify gameplay in interesting ways that affect pacing and tactical decisions (40x time lapse below).
Mysterious Story - Discover the fate of your missing co-pilot, and find out who you are and why you've been sent 20 light years into space to a hostile alien environment.
Collect game-changing weapons and equipment. Some seem to be hidden for you to find. Others are guarded or even used by strange creatures and traps. Each opens up new combat techniques and exploration opportunities. Discover rare components to upgrade and customize weapons to suit your play style.
We agreed early on in pre-production that Anew: The Distant Light must have an original, and intensely personal visual design. Let loose from committee-driven big budget game projects, our game features a distinct drawing and animation style created by a single artist. Jeff's design aesthetic can be felt throughout every strain of the game, forming a visually cohesive world.
One of Jeff's high-level goals with the art direction of the game is to make you feel like you are in a completely unknown alien world. Environments feel strange - unlike anything you've seen before.
The alien world is organically shaped and features a deep, multi-plane landscape with dramatic lighting and visual effects. Jeff has lovingly hand-painted each environmental texture, background, enemy, and creature.
We've spent a ton of time creating and implementing a large set of player animations to ensure fluid and fun gameplay.
We are honored to have veteran composer Wilbert (Will) Roget, II writing the music for our game. Will is composing one of the most unique, personal, and hauntingly beautiful scores of his career for Anew: The Distant Light. Will has composed and arranged music for hit games like Lara Croft and Temple of Osiris, Dead Island 2, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Monkey Island Special Edition. Will, in his own words, on scoring Anew: The Distant Light:
"Anew is a very special project for me. The evocative setting, storytelling, and mood of the game give me an unusual amount of creative freedom, and so my job really is to take advantage of that freedom as much as possible.
The first thing players will notice is the atypical style – this music is heavily influenced by 20th century composers, with a focus on Modernist and Impressionistic sensibilities towards harmony, a rarity in game scores. Additionally, I’ve integrated the sounds of classic analog synthesizers and other electronic elements into the orchestra, coloring the soundscape to fit the futuristic, extra-terrestrial setting.
Our game describes a very strange world that has its own history and its own internal logic that defines every aspect of the art, and so with the soundtrack, I use extended harmony and unusual instrumentation to paint a foreign sound that holds an elusive yet consistent sensibility. But in stark contrast to this sound, our game will also feature music that appeals to very raw, human emotions as well.
I’m incredibly lucky to work on a project that allows such a wide breadth of content, while still retaining its own identity. Every piece I write for Anew is a unique challenge, and I consider it one of my most personal and demanding scores to date. I hope you get a chance to experience our labor of love!"
Here are two tracks Will has written for the game - a small taste of the musical landscape he is crafting:
A catastrophe of global magnitude has blown much of the southern hemisphere of Earth into space. You are a baby - one of the last born to a dying planet. A rocket ship launches from the American Midwest, carrying you into the deep reaches of space to an unknown destination 20 light years away.
You wake up from your ship's cryo-sleep chamber as a young adult, and notice another chamber next to yours, empty, and badly damaged. Who traveled with you on this long voyage? Who are you, and why have you traveled so far from home? What is your mission on the alien moon?
We believe in "pure cinematic storytelling" - using visuals, sound design, and music alone to convey emotion and narrative. Expect our mysterious story to be delivered with unconventional techniques, through playable, embedded spaces in the game world. We won't bombard you with backstory via lengthy blocks of text, mission logs, and voice-over dialogue.
In a genre that is typically light on story, we are incredibly excited to reveal the characters and world in our game to you in a fresh way.
We are a small team made up of former AAA studio developers with 40 years of combined production experience. We're pulling together everything we've learned working on big-budget games to make Anew: The Distant Light an amazing experience.
Steve Copeland (Resonator Co-Founder, Game Director, Programming) has been developing video games professionally for over 17 years. He began his career at Westwood Studios as a software engineer for tools and content pipelines. He then branched out into gameplay design and creating artificial intelligence opponents for strategy games. After various roles in design leadership at Bioware, Petroglyph, and Electronic Arts, he co-founded Resonator, an independent game development studio.
Jeff Spoonhower (Resonator Co-Founder, Art Director, Story, Sound) is a 15-year veteran of the video game industry. Jeff has worked as a cinematic director, senior animator, and senior video editor and sound designer for Electronic Arts, Sony Computer Entertainment, 2K Games, and THQ/Deep Silver. Jeff's work has been featured in more than fifteen award-winning games. In addition to his career in video game development, Jeff is an assistant professor of film and digital media production at the University of Notre Dame. Jeff teaches undergraduate courses in computer animation, pre-visualization and post-production techniques, and sound/music design.
Wilbert Roget, II (Music) is an award-winning composer for the film and video game industries. In 2008 Will joined the in-house music team at LucasArts, working as a composer and music editor. In 2011 he had the honor of winning two Game Audio Network Guild awards for his contributions to the Star Wars: The Old Republic soundtrack. As a freelance composer, Will has scored Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris and Dead Island 2, with his music for these titles earning award nominations from the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences (D.I.C.E. Awards) as well as the Game Audio Network Guild.
$35,000 Stretch Goal Package
- Nintendo Switch Feasibility Research: This is a commitment to full due diligence in planning for development of a Switch port. Their indie program currently appears to be very limited and they are not accepting many games. We anticipate that it will open for more developers at some point, but we will aggressively pursue it regardless. We will acquire dev kits, attempt to establish a developer relationship for the platform like we already have for PlayStation and Xbox, and we will analyze the hardware for technical constraints that we need to optimize around. Doing this early makes a Switch port much more likely and faster to arrive.
- Expanded Localization: This is an initiative to localize for as many languages as possible. It will be localized in every language that our friends speak and languages for which we can crowd-source a solution.
- Speed Run Features: Integrated speed run features make it easier to track your official game time and cue for breakpoints.
- Homeship Hope Artifact Room: This is an unlockable room where unique artifacts found in the game world can be brought for study. Each of these can be activated as game mutators to change the risk and reward balance of the game or simply dial up game difficulty. These will improve replay, help you reach certain achievements, create more exotic speedrun parameters.
- Boss Rush: All game bosses that you've defeated can be challenged again, in a timed sequence with special rewards. Expert gamers will also use this to practice for speed runs.
- Minigames: These are various interesting challenges that let you use your abilities and weapons to interact with game physics in interesting ways to vie for extra rewards.
- New Core Game Mechanic: Multi-plane gameplay has combat and puzzles that involve moving between the standard plane and play in the distant background and near foreground.
- New Weapon: Energy Cascade allows you to spend suit energy for point-blank damage to all enemies you touch.
- Extra Boss: Moon Dragon. This elegant beast can be found surveying the overground during day, where the punishing sun will drain your suit energy. She must certainly carry some precious reward.
- Extra Player Vehicle: Alien Tank. Quite limited in mobility, but extremely durable and able to smash through obstacles and enemies alike, this vehicle packs a powerful punch in it's forward-only cannon.
- Extra Game Zone: The Overgrowth
- Hardcore Mode: Complete the game without dying to unlock a secret and a special title screen.
Help spread the word about Anew:The Distant Light! Follow us on social media to unlock rewards! Please see campaign Update 5 for more details.
We believe in this project and we’ve made huge personal investments to work on it, full time, for several years. We’ve foregone many opportunities for income because this is something we believe in and we want to see it through to completion. We’ve made huge strides with our game, but as-is, we can’t deliver all of the features and content to fulfill our vision for the game and give you everything we know you’ll want. This is your opportunity to help us cross the finish line in spectacular fashion!
Most avenues for financing are fraught with risk, loss of creative control, and they take a surprising amount of time away from product development. Traditional publishers are often times adverse to taking creative risks and tend to "play it safe" when it comes to game design and creative direction.
Kickstarter is awesome because we get to interface directly with you, our supporters! You show your support with a financial pledge, and we vow to make an awesome, original game for you in return. Our top priority is delivering an amazing experience to you - a game that is beautiful, and fun to play. We know our game is going to be great, we just need your help to finish it!
We plan to use the money raised from this Kickstarter campaign for a variety of important expenses:
- Art and code support - Adding additional trusted developers to help complete the game to an even higher level of polish and to add new features otherwise not attainable.
- Backer rewards - Manufacturing costs for various goods.
- Marketing - Costs involved with traveling to and exhibiting at major trade shows (PAX, IndieCade, E3, GamesCom), other marketing expenses like website advertising.
- Legal fees - Running a business is expensive, and we need to pay fees associated with lawyers, accountants, and other legal professionals.
- Living expenses - We've been working on the game full-time for several years without pay, and have passed up several lucrative full-time and freelance opportunities. We need cash to live!
- Kickstarter fees - Kickstarter takes a certain percentage of money off the top of our campaign.
- Music - High-quality, professional game music is expensive!
- Software Licenses - The production tools we use on a daily basis to make the game are costly.
In addition to our design chops, we know how to rock a Google spreadsheet. As experienced senior-level game industry vets with over 25 AAA games shipped between us, we know how important it is to create a master production schedule and stick to it.
While we plan to deliver an awesomely ambitious game to you, we've been in the trenches and know what the common pitfalls of game development are - feature creep, shifting art styles, to name a few - and how to avoid them in order to actually ship a project.
In addition to communicating and working closely together on a daily basis, we conduct weekly progress meetings to review accomplishments, challenges, and make sure we are tracking properly to complete our currently scheduled tasks. We have thoroughly vetted all of the content creation pipelines for Anew: The Distant Light and are now using these tested processes to build the game.
Video games are really hard to make. They take a lot of passion, discipline, time, and money to finish properly. Our game is a full-time labor of love, and with your help, we will make good on our word to complete the project. Simply put, we know we can deliver a high-quality game on-time, and within budget.
We've got some great rewards in store for you, our loyal backers. The more you pledge, the more you get! Here is a breakdown of the nifty loot you will acquire:
Interested in ordering extra copies of the game ($20), the soundtrack ($7), or an exclusive backer t-shirt ($30)? You may add on an item if you have backed at a tier that already includes that item. For example, $14 and $19+ tier backers may add more PC game codes, $34+ tier backers may add on additional soundtrack downloads, and $64+ tier backers may add on additional t-shirts.
Shipping to US addresses is free. For t-shirt orders, please add the following amount to your add-on order for shipping: Canada ($10), European Union ($15).
Risks and challenges
We've all heard it before, but it's true: games are really hard to make. Fortunately, we've been making games professionally for a long time, and we know what the pitfalls of development are. We're prepared to face any and all challenges head-on.
We've been working on our game for several years. All core gameplay systems are done, but we need a lot more game world, more AI characters, several peripheral systems like weapon customization, and a ton of game balance and polish.
The main risks we face are financing and visibility: raising enough money to finish the game in a reasonable amount of time, and making sure as many people as possible get their eyes on it. Fortunately, your support will help mitigate both of these risks.
If our Kickstarter campaign gets funded, we will have enough money to complete the project without slowing game development to pursue external financial support. A successful campaign will also hopefully raise awareness among gamers like yourselves, as well as mainstream gaming and tech press.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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