About this project
Where's the beef?!
A game with no real challenge is like a cheeseburger with no meat.
There was a time when a player had to earn the right to see the ending to a game, through practice and perseverance. A time where overcoming a challenge was truly satisfying, and completing a game not only filled you with a legitimate sense of accomplishment, but made you want to play it again right away and improve your performance. A time where games were about the game, not about the cutscenes and cinematic presentation.
That time can be now!
In all the years we've been developing games, our dream has always been to create a new, modern game that captures the thrill of the arcade classics. Unfortunately, big name publishers are only interested in mainstream games that appeal to wide audiences, and the truly hardcore old-school gamers and developers like us are left out in the cold.
Now is the time to create a brand new, original game in this classic style!
We're here to put the meat back in the cheeseburger!
Volgarr the Viking
Volgarr the Viking is a 2D side-scrolling arcade action game that has all the hallmarks of the true classics - simple controls, high challenge, and meticulous design. Featuring hand-made pixel art and thousands of frames of animation by a professional pixel artist, an epic soundtrack on par with modern AAA titles, and some fantastic game mechanics both old and new, this is the hardcore arcade action game you've been waiting for.
We plan to include a wide variety of enemies and obstacles to overcome, several unique environments to conquer, and insane boss fights to really test your skills. Volgarr is up to the task with multiple powerful abilities for you to master - but not to the point where you can just blow through everything by mashing the attack button! Each of his abilities and special gear power-ups has been carefully tuned to be important and useful, and mastering them all is essential to overcoming everything the game can throw at you.
Fortunately, like all the best arcade games, the controls are simple (and fully customizable, including support for all DirectInput and XInput controllers in addition to the keyboard). Its just a matter learning where, when, and how to best use the actions at your disposal... and having the skill to do so.
Volgarr will be released as a Windows PC game initially, hopefully on Steam. If all goes well, once completed we hope to port the game to other platforms such as the Ouya (we supported Ouya on the developer level) and anywhere there is enough interest. This project funding is purely for the PC version, however.
Want more details?
Here are some videos posted in the updates that give more information about the game and our development process:
- Game Mechanics Spoilers Video: Part 1
- Game Mechanics Spoilers Video: Part 2
- Game Mechanics Spoilers Video: Part 3
- Game Mechanics Spoilers Video: Part 4
- Sound and Music Design Video
- Enemy Design Process (Art) with videos
Need for Funding
We've been working on this game full-time, because we feel a high quality game like this deserves our full dedication. Sadly, one can not survive on passion, devotion and hard work alone. We need to eat too, and pay rent! There's also other costs as well that come with making a high quality game, such as various software tools.
Even though Volgarr looks and feels like a game from the past, we don't believe it has to sound like one. After all, the games we are most inspired by are known for using the bleeding edge of sound technology at the time and delivered some really epic soundtracks! We want to do the same. That is why we have contracted a professional composer and sound designer, Kochun Hu of Superhero Soundworks, and we need to pay him as well. Below is a video from him talking more about the work being done for the sound and music in the game, and you can listen to the main theme for the game further down.
Stretch Goal: 2 Games in 1, Choose Your Path! - $50,000 (Total)
One has to be careful adding more content to an arcade-style action game.
It can easily unbalance the experience, and if you make the game too long
you can end up with something that feels more tedious than fun.
That's why this stretch goal will double the game's content without making a single play-through any longer, by using an alternate path through the game in the form of separate levels. At each level transition you will have the option to go through a different level with unique rules, but only after meeting certain criteria in the level before. This adds variety and longevity to the game without risk of ruining the core experience originally planned.
In the default levels, you can revive at the last checkpoint reached as many times as you need. However, in the levels on the new special path you will only have a limited number of chances to complete them, after which you will be shamefully returned to the base path below. Your chances carry over if you stay on the special path though, so if you do well in earlier levels it will help you in later ones.
You can weave between the two paths at each level transition if you wish (provided you have met the requirements at each point), but you can only reach the bonus extra level at the end of the game by successfully staying on the special path from the second level onward, without ever returning to the base path (never running out of chances!), and collecting all the runes along the way.
This not only gives everyone more than twice as much game to enjoy, but also caters to multiple types of arcade game fans - those that prefer the home console versions or don't mind using a fistful of quarters to get through an arcade game, and those that prefer the challenge of the 1-credit clear. It also adds a potentially exponential amount of play time to learn the game well enough to reach that elusive 3rd ending!
We are very excited about this feature and hope we get a chance to include it, but it is quite an undertaking to add this much extra content to the game. This is why we are presenting it as a single epic goal.
Fear not! If this ambitious goal is not met, all extra funds will still be used to improve the content in this game, whether through a scaled back version of the above or through improved variety of enemies, environments, bosses, etc. (depending on the final total reached).
We have awesome stuff to give to the especially generous pledges and WILL ONLY EVER BE ON KICKSTARTER! Check out the prototypes!
Special Edition: DVD-PC - Includes Digital Soundtrack, Digital Manual and Digital Art Book in this slick physical copy game box!
Collector's Edition: **Sega Genesis Game Spoof - Includes spoof game cart that contains a customized USB drive with a digital version of the game (DRM FREE!), digital soundtrack and digital art book! A printed Collector's Manual with all the cool good stuff manuals used to have in them, not some one sheet you get today if anything. **This item is hand made from broken games on the way to a landfill. NO games were harmed in the making of this item! As such, we tried to get the cases in the best shape possible, but some minor blemishes will be on them as is common to games that are almost 30 years old (who knows... maybe you will be lucky enough to get one with a vintage store price tag still on it!).
ULTIMATE Edition: Volgarr the Viking Arcade Machine! ZOMG! Anyone that indulges in this ultimate gaming experience will definitely be the envy of their block! QUARTER UP!
ABOUT THE TEAM
Kris Durrschmidt: Kris has been in game development for over 10 years as everything from an animator to lead artist, level designer, and lead designer. He can even write his own code should the need arise (or someone really forces him to). Kris is most known for his work on The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night GBA (Lead Artist) and Shinobi 3DS (Lead Designer).
Taron Millet: Taron is a programmer and game designer with experience as both an independent developer and industry professional. With particular expertise in side-scrollers, combat systems, tight controls and classic game design techniques, Taron is dedicated to game-play above all else. His obsession with quality is well known in his work on titles such as The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night GBA, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows DS, and Shinobi 3DS.
Kochun Hu / Superhero Soundworks: Kochun is a composer and sound designer providing the epic orchestral score and action-packed sound design for Volgarr the Viking. Kochun has also written music for Battlezone: Red Odyssey PC and the Deadly Dozen series PC, and has provided sound design for Marvel Superhero Squad titles 360/PS3/Wii, among others.
Special Thank You to the band Sonic Prophecy for believing in us very early on and allowing us to use their awesome metal music in our promotional materials.
We would love nothing more than to bring Volgarr the Viking to other platforms such as OUYA, XBLA/PSN (any publishers out there?), 3DS e-shop, Mac, and Linux! However, we need to concentrate on completing our lead sku for Win PC first. After Volgarr the Viking is on the market we can look into bringing it where ever the fans may want it, should there be sufficient demand, and the means to do so! We are especially big fans of OUYA and were developer level backers of that project, we wish them the best of luck!
In order shown:
* Minebot Arena [Windows PC] - Taron as sole developer
* X-Men: Mutant Reign [Jakks Pacific 5-in-1 TV Games] - Kris as Lead Artist, Taron as Lead Programmer
* Spider-Man: Web of Shadows [DS] - Taron as Gameplay Programmer and Combat/Controls Designer
* The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night [GBA] - Kris as Lead Artist, Taron as Gameplay Programmer and Combat/Controls Designer
* Assassin's Creed 2: Discovery [DS/iOS] - Kris as Designer, Taron as Lead Gameplay Programmer
* Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions [DS] - Taron as Lead Programmer and Combat/Controls Designer
* Shinobi [3DS] - Kris as Lead Designer and Taron as Lead Gameplay Programmer
Despite what it may look like from the above Kris is actually the more experienced developer of the two with almost twice as many projects under his belt - Taron just made the more recent ones particularly awesome ;).
It doesn't. The original funding goal is just the small extra amount we needed to finish the game. This project is mostly funded from our own pockets, we are sinking over $135k ourselves from savings and selling personal belongings - but we did the math and know it isn't enough to get us to completion. We are actually asking for ~$30k (after kickstarter expenses) to more than double the content of a game costing ~$150k to make (which is still quite cheap for a video game).
Also, we decided to go for a single high stretch goal for now because we feel this feature will add a lot to the game without risk of ruining it in the process. Almost every other idea we've come up with or had suggested could potentially be a detriment to the game's carefully crafted feature set.
For example, past experience has shown that having sections of the game with alternate mechanics (different controls) to "break things up" can horrifically backfire, leading to frustrated players that turn off the game when forced to get through a style of gameplay they don't care for and didn't want. Adding new gear, abilities, collectables, or core mechanics can cause the game to become both too easy and too complicated; adding more levels (that aren't on a separate path) can make a play-through feel long and tedious; and having too many enemies and hazards can make it more frustrating than fun to learn and master every element of the game.
This Stretch Goal should not delay the release of the game.
Absolutely, the footage shown is one of the few test levels we use to ensure all of our core mechanics are rock solid before real level designs are made. The background art shown in the video and in current screen shots is exploratory and placeholder as a test that our multi-layered BG technology and effects work correctly prior to spending weeks on final tile art.
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