A Global Afterlife Enterprise: The Business Of Death Inc.
You are of course wondering what the Death Inc. business sim will look and perhaps even play like! Tim has very kindly furnished us with a set of concept pieces to illustrate that, literally.
Zoomed in on a couple of rooms:
Zooming out to see more, I spy a Zen Reaper:
And the vast expanse of a developed Death Inc. office:
Hmm I think I recognise that...
Luckily, today I got the chance to sit down with Mr Daniel Leaver (that's how he likes to be addressed) and talk about this business side of the game. How do you go about running a company specialising in "outsourced mortality solutions"? If you're an actuary who deals in death, are you a mortuary?
- So Daniel, for those not in the know, what's the setup for Death Inc's business game?
So the game is part real-time strategy and part business simulation. Grim T. Livingstone's office space starts out as a couple of rooms in his Nan's basement. And in the business of reaping, the cold, hard corpses get exchanged for cold, hard cash. And the player can spend this cash to expand their basement and to hire new employees.
- So how does a player earn money?
They reap humans from the main levels of the game. Even if the player doesn't complete a level, they'll keep the corpses they reaped up to that point and those will get exchanged for cash. In addition, each level has 3 special Black Hearts, belonging to the most revolting, despicable humans in the land. They're always going to be well protected behind armies or castle walls.
- Sounds tough. Can you complete a level without getting all 3 Black Hearts?
Sure. And they're unique so you can only ever get 3 from each level. It's unlikely that a player will be able to get them all in one go without unlocking new abilities.
- To encourage experimentation?
Absolutely. It's just another part of the puzzle for how to fully complete a level, and really adds to the replayability.
- Right, so why's a Black Heart different?
Normally you spend your income on everyday business expenses - paying salaries, a reaper's gotta eat. But Black Hearts are used to unlock new rooms for the Death Inc. office. They're rare enough that players will need to make tough choices on what room to unlock next.
- And what are rooms for?
Well there's three types: Office, Research and Lounge. You need Office space to hire employees, Research labs to unlock and improve abilities and Lounge rooms to improve in-game and employee stats like morale and energy.
Underlings, minions... You employee them through the office space - the more you spend on hiring, the better the quality of the worker. Each potential underling has two stats to compare on their employee card: Reaping Proficiency and Research Competence. Once they're hired, they get a desk space along with a motorised scythe sharpener, World's Best Dead mug, you know.
- And what do you do with them once they're hired?
You have two choices as you might have guessed: Reaping or Research.
Selecting Reap presents you with 3 options - side quests if you will - and they vary in duration. The longer it is, the larger the Corpse Haul you'll get from it. But obviously it costs more to do the mission, and there's always the risk they'll fail the mission if they're overworked or over tired.
- And this is where the Lounge spaces come in?
Exactly. And then with each successful mission you'll get Work Experience Points, XP. Earn enough XP and they get additional proficiency points and can do better missions, and so on.
- So that's Reaping. What about Research?
With this you can send a minion to a specific piece of research, like the Rat Zoo. Researching here enhances the Plague Rat ability. Each upgrade needs a certain number of research points - and each employee generates research points according to the number of skulls of Research Competency on his employee card. An employee with 3 skulls will research something 3 times faster than an employee with one.
- Excellent! I'm very much looking forward to researching the next advancement in incendiary cows.
That would be offal.
- Thanks Dan. Thanks very much.
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- - - - - - - - Pigeon Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $20 / €15] - - - - - - - Thanks! You'll get a digital download of the game on release and access to the exclusive backer forums.Estimated delivery:
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- - - - - - - - Villager Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $48 / €36] - - - - - - - Have your name immortalised as a villager in the game! You'll get exclusive access to the Death Inc Beta test (approx. August 2013) and a Kickstarter-only in-game statue for Grim's office. Includes everything in the £15 tier.Estimated delivery:
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- - - - - - Alpha Villager Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $62 / €46] - - - - - - Be the first to play Death Inc! Get access to the exclusive Alpha test, expected June 2013. Includes everything in the £30 tier.Estimated delivery:
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IF YOU PREVIOUSLY PLEDGED AT THIS LEVEL YOU NOW GET MORE STUFF - SEE BELOW--------------------------------- Digital Villager Edition! -------------------- [Approx $68 / €52] ------- You'll get everything in the £40 tier PLUS an extra digital copy of the game (to make TWO!), a digital copy of the soundtrack, a digital copy of the art book and a digital copy of the Death Inc. comic. -------------------------------------------------- A ready to print and make papercraft figure of Grim T Livingstone + A digital design doc revealing the dark art that is game design at Ambient Studios!Estimated delivery:
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- - - - - Digital Villager Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $70 / €52] - - - - - - You'll get everything in the £40 tier PLUS an extra digital copy of the game (to make TWO!), a digital copy of the soundtrack, a digital copy of the art book and a digital copy of the Death Inc. comic.Estimated delivery:
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- - - - Wish You Were Here Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $72 / €54] - - - - - - - Be the envy of your friends and receive a boxed copy of Death Inc including an exclusive pack of custom Death Inc playing cards. Plus you'll get a set of Death Inc "Wish You Were Here" postcards and stickers. Includes everything in the £40 tier.Estimated delivery:Add £5 to ship outside the UK
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- - - - - - - - Poxed Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $120 / €90] - - - - - - That's fighting talk: You're upgraded to having a soldier named after you in the game! You'll get the Death Inc. art book, a physical copy of the soundtrack and free access to all future expansions. You'll also get everything else in the £50 tier.Estimated delivery:Add £10 to ship outside the UK
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- - - - - - - -Scythed Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $160 / €120] - - - - - - You're upgraded! Your name used as an important target for infection in a level! You'll get an upgraded Special Edition copy of the game signed by the team - including 'old school' game box, printed manual, map and a high-quality print of the Death Inc. comic. You'll also get a Death Inc. T-shirt, your name in the credits and everything else in the £75 tier.Estimated delivery:Add £10 to ship outside the UK
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- - - - - - - -Epidemic Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $400 / €298] - - - - - - You're upgraded to become a bonus target for Death Inc employees to reap, and you'll help us design the setting and short backstory for the event. Plus you'll get a large high quality Death Inc poster and a deluxe Hardback art book upgrade, both signed by the team and everything else in the £100 tier.Estimated delivery:Add £10 to ship outside the UK
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- - - - - - Jolly Barkeep Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $800 / €595] - - - - - - Ever fancied owning a pub? You'll get to name an in-game tavern, help design its sign and be named the proprietor. You'll get a custom print of your pub's sign and everything else in the £250 tier.Estimated delivery:
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- - - - Name Not A Number Edition! - - - - - - - - [Approx $1600 / €1190] - - - - - Congratulations, you're a Death Inc. employee! Work with us to design your character's look and backstory. You'll get a unique piece of signed and framed concept art of your character! Also you'll get a custom writing set, including a Death Inc. wax seal, sealing wax, parchment, quill and ink. Plus you'll also get your name in the Special Thanks credits of the game and everything else in the £250 tier.Estimated delivery:
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- - - - - - Yes My Lord Edition! - - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $3038 / €2322] - - - - Always wanted a title, British style? You'll be a nobleman in Death Inc! Together we'll design your coat of arms and livery, and the world will see it in the castle or fort your character owns. Choose your title (e.g. Earl, Lord, Archbishop) and we'll create a character in your likeness, and send you a signed and framed piece of unique concept art of Lord You! ---------------------NOT ONLY THAT! -----------------------You'll also get a studio visit to see the game being made and for a day long workshop with the team - see how each department works, check out the amazing animation, crazy code, fantastic design and departments and get guided through what we do to make great games. Travel to the UK not included, but a great lunch with the team is + everything else in the £1000 tier.Estimated delivery:
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- - - - - - -A WHOLE HOUSE EDITION!- - - - - - - - - [Approx $4511/€3460] - - - - - - - - This is a one off model of GRIM T LIVINGSTONE'S house - a mini masterpiece in wood and clay! The house is approx 2ft high, 2ft wide and 1ft deep. Each room has been carefully crafted - gaze in wonder upon the teeny bathroom complete with noose flush and plush bath mats, visit Grim's living room and browse his book collection. Explore the attic and then light the whole thing up at the flick of a switch. There's no doubt that you will be impressed with the level of craftsmanship on display by our artist Jon Eckersley. All the amazing stuff in the £1000 tier will be yours as well.Estimated delivery:
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- - - - - - -Your Grace Edition!- - - - - - - - - - - [Approx $8000 / €5950] - - - - - Now is your time to rule, highness! You are the king or queen in the game: Grim T. Livingstone's prime target! Help design your character and the national coat of arms which will be seen throughout the game. You'll also get a one-off oil portrait of your 17th century likeness. You'll get a studio visit too and everything else in the £1000 tier.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)