About this project
Elsinore is an adventure game set for a 2016 release on PC, Mac and Linux. In Elsinore you play as Ophelia, a young noblewoman of Denmark, who awakes from a terrible vision: in four days, everyone in Elsinore Castle will be dead. To make matters worse, the vision has inexplicably thrown her into a time loop. Forced to relive the same four days over and over again, Ophelia must learn to survive in Elsinore, doing everything in her power to change the future.
Elsinore is a point-and-click adventure game with time loops; at its core, it's Shakespeare meets Majora's Mask/Groundhog Day. We're experimenting with combining story-creation mechanics to produce something we feel is truly new.
- Dynamic Story Engine: Elsinore uses a story simulation engine to determine which events occur based upon your interactions. Lie, forgive, assassinate, befriend, or destroy — the actions you can take at any stage are numerous, and the game immediately responds.
- Intelligent Character Behavior: Each character manages their own lives, schedules, needs, desires, and plans over the course of each time loop. Even the smallest interaction has an impact on the world around you.
- Learn from Previous Loops: Over the four days within each time loop, the player can explore dozens of different outcomes for even minor actions, each time learning new information.
- Become a Diplomat: Understanding each character's motivations isn't just part of the story -- it's necessary for Ophelia's survival. Characters are complex and have long histories with each other; all of them are keeping secrets.
- Life-or-Death Decisions: In a Shakespearean world, most roads end in tragedy, and characters are quick to meet a grisly fate. Hard decisions and terrible trials force players to think on their feet.
- Hearsay & Evidence: Instead of concrete dialog choices in Elsinore, the player is tasked with gathering bits of information -- gossip, rumors, stories, lies, journal entries, bloody daggers, bottles of poison, and more -- and using them to convince characters to act. By "presenting" a piece of Hearsay or Evidence to a character, that character will change their course of action. You have dozens of pieces of information at your disposal at any given moment, and each one is a valuable tool in the right situation.
- Real-Time Implications: As you use Hearsay & Evidence, characters adapt their behavior on the fly. A normally kind and generous character may be driven to murder, and a dangerous character can be persuaded to lay down their sword. The right piece of information can even stop an ongoing massacre in its tracks.
- Simultaneous Action: Lots of things are happening all over Elsinore Castle at any time of day -- but you can't see them all at the same time. Choosing which events to attend and which ones to pass up is an important part of gathering new information.
- Time-Loop Puzzles: Moving the surrounding story forward will require the player to deeply understand and manipulate the time loop. Giving the right piece of information to a character at the wrong time can have disastrous results.
"Hey, that doesn't sound like much money. Is this enough to finish Elsinore?"
Our budget may seem small, but it's exactly what we need. All of us have day jobs -- as full-time employees in the game industry, students, or freelancers. Our jobs allow us to eat and pay student loans, but they don't allow us to spend the amounts we need to bring Elsinore over the finish line at a level of polish we'll be satisfied with.
By funding this campaign, you're saving us from months (or years) of saving before we can afford to finish Elsinore. We sincerely appreciate it!
- 1000 Backers: Alternate Costumes - If we reach 1000 backers, we'll include a set of alternate equippable costumes for the main cast (Ophelia, Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius, Polonius, and Laertes) with the released game!
- $15,000: Basic Voice Acting - At this tier, we'll be able to record a set of Fire Emblem-like voice-over emotes and lines for each character, as well as pay an audio engineer to post-process the lines for maximum quality.
- $18,000: The Pirate Ship + New Character - Did you know there are pirates in Hamlet? THERE TOTALLY ARE! If we reach this tier, Ophelia will be able to join Hamlet in getting captured by pirates at sea. This area will contain content which ties back to the main game's storyline. All backers will also get to vote on a BRAND NEW character to be added to the game -- from a top-secret selection!
- $23,000: Additional Animation - At this tier, we'll be able to hire a professional animator to add to our staff of 1 artist and 1 technical artist. This will greatly improve the number of animations we can have in the game and add to the polish of each one.
- $30,000: Castle Town - Similar to the Pirate Ship tier. At this tier, players will be able to access portions of Castle Town - the town that lies beneath Elsinore in the Danish countryside. All backers will also get to vote on a BRAND NEW character to be added to the game -- from a top-secret selection!
- $36,000: Fortinbras' War Camp - Similar to the Castle Town and Pirate Ship tiers. At this tier, players will be able to access the Prince of Norway's war camp, located in a mess of swampland where Denmark and Norway are locked in a bitter conflict. Ophelia will be able to access previously-hidden information on both countries' diplomatic efforts.
- $45,000: iPad Version - At this tier, we'll be able to bring Elsinore to the iOS store for iPad players!
- $55,000 and above: Mystery goals - We'll reveal more about these stretch goals as we approach them!
Katie Chironis - Team Lead, Writer (@katiechironis)
Katie is a professional game writer by day, where she works on adventure games. She has previously worked for Microsoft Studios and EA on titles such as Powerstar Golf, D4, Avatar Motocross Madness, and SimCity.
Connor Fallon - Lead Designer (@connorefallon)
Connor is a game designer at Schell Games with extensive experience working on puzzle and narrative-heavy games. Currently working on The World of Lexica, he was previously the design lead on Enemy Mind, Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher, and the official TVtropes Alternate Reality Game.
Eric Butler - Engineer (@zantifon)
Eric is a game developer who loves creating game design tools and building simulations. By day he researches using artificial intelligence for game design, working on games such as Foldit and Refraction.
Val Reznitskaya - Technical Artist (@valreznitskaya)
Val is a technical artist and indie game developer who has previously worked at Disney Research and Panasonic. Her past game projects include the philosophy game Socrates Jones: Pro Philosopher and the official TVtropes Alternate Reality Game.
Kristin Siu - Engineer (@teahamster)
Kristin can be found making games and drinking oolong tea when she's not busy working on game/AI research for her dissertation. She's worked for Microsoft, Google, and Disney Research in the past.
Wesley Martin - Artist (@wesleylmartin)
Classically trained, Wesley loves the texture of fresh paint strokes, the weight of wet clay, and the energy of impressionistic color. Past projects include EverQuest, iOS game Shove Pro, and the Microsoft HoloLens. When he’s out in the world, you can usually find him hiking through the wilderness or bending over backwards in a Bikram yoga class.
Duncan Boehle - Engineering Support (@duncanboehle)
Duncan is a gameplay and engine programmer at Double Fine, where he has worked on titles such as Hack 'n' Slash, Grim Fandango Remastered, Broken Age, and Massive Chalice. When he's not fixing bugs, he likes to bike around the Bay Area and sing a cappella.
Adam Gubman - Composer (@AdamGubman)
Adam has produced music for high-profile clients including Disney theme parks, the NBC Today Show, and 500+ video games. Most recently, he worked on arrangements for Tale of Tales' new title, Sunset.
Risks and challenges
Elsinore has already gone through several rounds of prototypes, and certain systems have been playtested in focus groups of varying sizes. We're confident that if we raise the funds we're looking for, we'll be able to bring this game to the finish line at a quality level we'll be happy with. That said, there are still a couple of risks.
Most of us have day jobs in or close to the games industry. Because of this, work on Elsinore progresses more slowly than it would if we were full-time indies. We won't bring you a game we aren't 100% happy with, but -- as we all know from making games -- sometimes delays are necessary to ensure that quality. In the words of Shigeru Miyamoto: "A delayed game is eventually good, but a bad game is bad forever."
If we anticipate a delay, we'll be informing backers as soon as possible. We've all backed Kickstarters before, we've all lost money on no-show KS projects, and now that we're in the driver's seat we intend to treat backers with the respect they deserve.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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