True Blood, Twilight, and Vampire the Masquerade have proven to us that Gothic fantasy is incredibly popular, yet there is no online world for fans of the genre to play in. Do you want to play a space captain… or a wizard… or a mech pilot… or even Batman? If so, there’s an online game for that. But if you want to play online as a vampire or werewolf, as a fallen angel or an insatiable monster, well, you’re out of luck.
We at Clockwork Throne have seen that glaring hole in the Massively Multiplayer Online game market. We’ve watched as not one decade, but two decades, have gone by, and the big publishers have not stepped up. They don’t understand this dream, but like you, we’ve dreamt of ruling the night ever since our first encounter with the undead, in an RPG, on the pages of a book, or on the silver screen. They don’t get this dream. They won’t build it for us, so we’ll build it ourselves.
We are looking for people who share that dream, and want to make it happen…
We've funded! You will now see two kinds of stretch goals: those that are immediately on the horizon, so you can know what kind of new benefits and systems will become available, and also our “prestige stretch goals”. The prestige stretch goals are for the Adepts, Loupgarou, and Revenants, which require large amounts of art, programming, UI, story, quest lines, character modeling, and animations to add to the game.
These mini-factions will become playable to all backers at $15 or above if their respective stretch goals are met!
UPDATE! We’ve had a lot of questions about our lore, and are very proud of the new directions and innovations we’ve taken. Read more about our lore here!
Shadow’s Kiss is a game of darkness, adventure, passion, and horror, set in the fictional city of San Cipriano. The game casts you as a vampire (or possibly other supernatural creature…) who goes on quests, faces off against other supernatural factions, and gains items of power to rule the night.
While Shadow’s Kiss incorporates many of the classical elements of a Massively Multiplayer Game (MMO), it also seeks to innovate, especially in ways that make for an interesting gaming experience within a society of vampires and supernatural creatures. Parlay and diplomacy are critical parts of the experience, including building your influence in vampire society through intimidation, bribery, and seduction. You cooperate or compete with other players to rule the various aspects of the city, including law enforcement, organized crime, and the media. Your rise to power, and your story, are built around your Rogue’s Gallery, also known as your Cast of Characters, which are the allies, enemies, thralls, spies and blood dolls you’ve acquired through questing and exploration.
Clockwork Throne Inc. is a small independent studio of game industry veterans who have been working on Shadow’s Kiss for the last two years. We need your help to get this innovative MMO across the finish line and realized as a full playable experience.
We’ve poured our hearts and souls into building this game, and have already completed a lot of the things that are difficult and risky with MMO’s: server architecture, client and patcher, persistence, and a wide variety of game systems. If we are to continue, however, we need to raise money to go forward, and coming to YOU directly, via Kickstarter, makes the most sense. In a world where big money is primarily put behind World of Warcraft clones, we need the community’s help and passion to bring a vampire and supernatural MMO to life.
Create your avatar according to what kind of monster you want to be, and how you want to explore this world of shadows. Choose gender, orientation, and a story motivation. Would you rescue the child from the cultists? Play as the Fallen Angel. Do you prefer instead to walk into the room and kill everyone? You may enjoy playing the Diabolic Monster.
Becoming a vampire means transforming. Choose what sort of teeth, eyes, and facial transformation (if any) occurs during your dark metamorphosis.
You do not walk the long night alone. Other supernatural groups may be enemies or allies. The Loupgarou are one breed of a society of shapeshifters known as the Lunar Covenant…
The techno-mystical Necromancers used stolen technology from Nichola Tesla to force the dead back to life, and to communicate beyond the Vale.
The Loa Masters are a cargo cult of terror, profaning and appropriating religions and mysticism to conquer the world with nightmares.
Cultists summon demons and other unspeakable horrors from beyond the edges of reality.
Shadow’s Kiss doesn’t divide you into vampire ethnic groups. Instead, you promote to the kind of vampire you want to be, including the Lovecraftian Tenebrous Vampire and the zombie-commanding Verdilak.
Shadow’s Kiss has a large, overarching narrative built by our master storyteller. The central story will follow familiar quest progression, starting with your introduction to Vampire King Logan, who tasks you to investigate the apparent treachery of his queen, Daley.
As your story progresses, however, you will choose the direction it takes, as you build up a Rogues’ Gallery of spies, enforcers, and blood familiars.
Some quests will require you to have Thralls -- mortals you have drained and transformed into vampires. Feeding is an essential part of the game, but beware: slayers are always looking to stop you!
Most MMO’s subscribe to the “Face Roll” system where you hit your power combos repeatedly to win. Others require “Jedi-like reflexes” and a good internet connection for realtime combat. Both of these can be fun, and there are great games that make use of them, but we wanted a combat system that would allow you to parlay with or intimidate your opponents, that would let you set traps and use stealth, and that would make magic something based on rituals and danger.
To achieve that end, we are building a turn based combat system, giving you just enough time to strategize, summon allies, and maybe even to convince that slayer that you’re his friend…
The combat powers in Shadow’s Kiss are designed to make you feel like a near unstoppable supernatural creature. Use preterspeed to run impossibly fast, and “Break Neck” to simply snap the spine of a mook level enemy.
Powers work on a combo system, where you make an initial attack and then follow through with a more impressive one, often consuming blood or energy. Skill and exploration unlock new powers and power trees, such as Siren Song, Tainted Blood, and Necromancy.
Shadow’s Kiss is a classless system. You build skill in any area you train in, both during gameplay and while logged out. This can include everything from vampire claws to pistols to alchemy. If you want to be the best martial artist who also charms or tricks members of the court you can, all the while being able to craft awesome gear for your guild. All you need is the time and dedication to invest in your character.
Everything we’ve described so far is part of what we consider the “core game,” and is at least partially implemented as of this point in the project. We need your support to bring this all together into a complete, balanced, fun game experience. Our Kickstarter is intended to let us build the following into the game:
- Adventure zones! Sewers, caves, basements, abandoned mansions, subways, industrial ruins, graveyards, catacombs, and derelict apartment buildings.
- Social zones! Museums, nightclubs, fetish clubs, penthouses, and restaurants.
- Character progression: Start as a fledgling vampire and promote to more advanced bloodlines, such as Shadowfiends, the Undying, Succubi, Verdilaks, and the Noble Vampires. Level up to gain and use stronger items and abilities.
- Core story: investigate the enemies of King Logan, discover why San Cipriano is a hotbed for the supernatural and the undead, and work to either ally or oppose the other supernatural factions.
- Procedural story: allow a “sandbox” experience where you can explore the world and quests find YOU.
Kickstarter campaigns traditionally include stretch goals: those features that we’d like to add if we exceed the base dollar goal for our game. It’s often considered taboo to list too many of these stretch goals before the basic amount has been raised, but we have consistent fan requests that we want to underscore as our “primary stretch goals” on Shadow’s Kiss: other playable supernatural creatures.
If we get enough support, with enough fans of the supernatural coming to our aid, we want to add the following three mini-factions:
Magicians, witches, shamans, and others Adepts have discovered and harnessed magic, living in the shadows and edges of society. Your Adept will be able to ally with the vampires of San Cipriano or work with Slayers to destroy them. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law".
Shapeshifter belonging to the Lunar Covenant, these werewolves are actually ancient beings from the dawn of creation, born and reborn in new bodies to mimic mortal creatures. As one of these shapeshifters, you may find temporary allies among the undead, or you may seek to purge them from the city.
Dead slayers brought back to life by the profane science of the Necromancers, Revenants are part zombie, part Frankenstein’s Creature, neither truly alive nor truly dead. When playing as one of these re-animated slayers, you may choose to follow the agenda of the Necromancers, or break free to find your own path.
We’re calling them “mini-factions” because they won’t have the same amount of content as vampires, initially, but they will be playable, and most quests and areas will be open to them. This will allow you to team up werewolves, adepts, and revenants with vampire “allies”, if you and your friends want to do so, although you should still expect risk in bringing non-vampires onto sacred ground or other meeting places of vampire society. Each faction will have a core storyline as well.
Adding the Adepts, Revenants, and especially the Loupgarou means hiring new members of the team to do that, and those costs drive the stretch goals. New playable races require art, animations, coding, story, sounds, interface, and design. We hope you’re excited enough by the possibility of playing them that you will help us hit those goals!
A game industry veteran with experience in programming, design, and production, Thomas Sitch has long flirted with becoming a creature of the night, going all the way back to vampire LARP in the 90's. His love of cosplay and things gothic is matched only by his passion for collaborative and competitive online RPGs. He first started working on MMOs in 2000 on Shadowbane, and went on to work on Pirates of the Burning Sea, Wizard 101, and most recently, Crowfall.
Richard A. Becker is a professional writer with broad-ranging experience in fiction and non-fiction, across multiple print, digital, visual and interactive media. He has also been a gaming storyteller, with particular interest in vampires and other monsters, for many years.
Tre Zieman is a veteran character modeler and animator, and a 3D artist of the first order. He’s the first line of defense in creating the custom models and monsters for Shadow’s Kiss.
Monique Blaize is an incredibly versatile game developer. While primarily a generalist game designer (for both 2D and 3D design) she also freelances as a comic artist. Additionally, she is talented in indie game production and marketing. She loves reading manga and anything related to anime.
An actor turned game designer and programmer, Rich Osborn is a rising star helping with the world building, scripting, and design of Shadow’s Kiss.
Getting in as one of our early supporters and helping us get Shadow’s Kiss across the finish line means that you get the good stuff! $15 or more gets you access to the alpha, beta, and released version of the game, and all levels from there on up grant you special in game benefits:
- Pets – including werewolves, soul eaters, ninjas, succubae, etc. A pet appropriate to your adventuring area will appear and aid you in combat, and pets always level up when you do. If defeated, they go out of service for a period of time to heal their wounds. Pets also appear in your lairs and may offer their own quest lines. Read more about pets and their power level here.
- Lairs – vampire havens where you can keep one of your coffins, including sewers, mansions, cemeteries, and clubs. Havens allow you to store items, and all havens come with a servitor: some kind of supernatural creature that trains the Inspirations which are the fuel of the classless system.
- Summoning Powers – Unlike pets, a summoning power can be used once per combat, as long as you have the blood or energy to activate it. Most summoning powers are learned from skills in-game, but these Kickstarter powers are automatically granted to all characters on your account.
- Control Powers – Used to paralyze or disorient foes. Most control powers come from training your skills, but for the Kickstarter powers they are granted to all characters on your account.
- Reanimation Powers – Invoked to create zombies from any fresh corpses laying around. This is normally learned through great effort in Necromancy, most often as a Verdilak vampire, but for Kickstarter these powers are granted to all characters on your account.
Our basic Kickstarter goal represents our bare minimum to complete the playable experience of Shadow’s Kiss: a fun, engaging first 30 levels of the vampire story, exploring the game as the diabolical monster, sinister mastermind, fallen angel, or the vengeful antihero. This let’s us create the immersive story of the betrayal in the court of King Logan, along with a lot of personal storyline content that develops you as a vampire rising to power in San Cipriano. We’ll also be able to iterate on combat, integrate the adventure zones needed, improve feeding and thrall recruitment, create the variety of skintone and avatar customizations, and do the critical work on fixing bugs and polishing the game.
If we successfully raise our target $25,000, the following is deducted automatically:
Kickstarter fee of 5% ($1,250)
Payment processing fee of 4% ($1000)
We project the use of the Kickstarter funds, after those deductions, as being as follows:
World Building: 30% Story and Lore: 20% Programming - Game Systems: 30% Programming – Architecture: 5% Avatar Customization: 5% Art – UI and Characters: 5% Design – Game Systems: 5%
If we exceed our basic Kickstarter goal, we expand our use of funds into improving our art, expanding and improving our animations, voice over and more Midnight Syndicate music, building systems like ritual magic and crafting, and especially our stretch goal playable factions: Revenants, Loupgarou, and Adepts.
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Risks and challenges
Game design, and moreover, game implementation, is inherently risky, and massively multiplayer games are particularly challenging to scope and create. We have tackled a lot of this risk in the last two years with deploying servers, reflecting combat and interactions, and building a core client, but challenges always arise when you add more players and more complexity to the system.
There are always risks that third party libraries that we rely on may not scale, may have memory issues, or may need to be replaced for other reasons, resulting in setbacks in time and funds.
Games also have to be fun, not just complete, unlike office software. Risk derives from the revisions and testing necessary to make a fun and compelling game.
Despite all this, we are very confident in our ability to deliver this project, since we already have a working client, working servers, and core “vertical slice” aspects of gameplay operational.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)