If that piqued your interest, here's the longer video (6:34):
The quickest way to describe it is as X-Com meets Worms i.e. it’s a turn-based strategy game where players battle both each other and NPCs to acquire loot and experience. You’ve got a squad of customisable characters - change their stats, weapons or armour and see their look instantly updated in-game. To succeed at Scavengers you’ll need to balance and blend your squad, think strategically and of course, be prepared to take risks! Oh, and a small slice of luck wouldn't hurt ;-)
The game is set in a dark dystopian future with a liberal dash of humour running throughout. As you can see from this video, we don’t take ourselves too seriously! In the game you'll meet some, ahem, 'quirky' AIs, mechanised robots with a taste for tartan and temperamental alien weaponry that will help you rule the battlefield - if they don't blow up in your face first...
As part of this, we’ve had three core design principles when making the game:
“When things go wrong, they go very wrong”
“The bigger and more complicated a weapon is, the more likely it is to go wrong”
“Players may die often, but always with a smile on their faces”
Just before Christmas we alpha-released the game onto the web and you can find it at playScavengers.com. So a really important point to note is that it’s not vapourware and this video isn’t smoke and mirrors; we’ve made great progress with Scavengers and we need your help to make it better, not to actually make it.
We could tell you that Scavengers is a tale of love and hope in a time of war and conquest, and with your help at some point we hope it will be. But at present we’ve just focused on the essentials which is allowing people to get together to blow each other up. So the core multiplayer gameplay is now in place and stable.
As part of the Beta we’re looking to bring in single-player and capture the flag modes, destructible scenery, melee attacks, experience and skill levels, hackable doors and cameras, smoke, gas and EMP grenades along with tripwires. We’ll also allow synchronous gameplay as well i.e. you’ll be able to take your turns at the same time as each other rather than in order. We also hope to enable cooperative play.
We can already support thousands of players playing together at once although at present we’ve restricted games to just 4 players. We also think we’ll be able to offer synchronous gameplay as well i.e. you’ll be able to take your turns at the same time as each other rather than in order as is currently the case, but that’s only if you want to play the game that way.
We have also created an Editor capable of customising all graphic, audio and map assets. This Editor will be released with the beta and will basically allow everyone out there to fiddle with everything. We’re going to release a video over the course of this project that shows exactly what you can do in the Editor but hopefully you’ll get a taste for it in the video.
At the moment, we’re only looking to support PC and tablets as we haven’t the manpower to do enough performance optimisation for mobile (though we have had the game running on the very iPhone 4S that filmed the video!). Your pledging will enable us to fully tackle this work.
Finally, we get to the best bit - Scavengers is freely available to the public and you will never ever EVER have to pay to play Scavengers.For the alpha we are restricting player numbers at present as we can’t support all you guys but this will not remain the case after the beta and if you pledge anything you’ll automatically gain access.
Without making your ears bleed with a load of techno-babble, in essence, everything you saw on the video is just a web page; there’s no download and no installation required, you just go to our site, playScavengers.com and it immediately runs in your browser. We also have some very clever and very fast back-end technology, which we’ve spent the last year writing, which allows us to join thousands of people together very quickly. There’s no Flash or native code or any of the stuff that this generation of web games use.
The reason we’ve done this is because it means that you’ll be able to play our games with your friends and family, via your PC at work, your mobile phone on the bus and then on your TV at home, with all of your data stored online.
And yet despite playing on PCs, tablets, mobiles and Smart TVs with their different screen sizes and input methods, it is exactly the SAME game, no matter where and on what platform you’re playing!
To make things even better, we’re going to be the first truly cross-platform game. Other games never let people on different platforms play each other; whose ever heard of a PC gamer playing against an XBox owner? But we don’t care; everybody who plays Scavengers is playing together with everybody else
Why do we need your cash? It’s simple – the money is to pay the lovely chaps in the video so they won't starve before we finish the Beta. So far we’ve existed on a small investment but because we’re working with bleeding edge tech, and making a brand new first-of-its-kind game, it's taking longer than expected to get the core technology in place. None of the money will be spent on marketing or anything like that, it’s solely for us to make Scavengers better. The more that you kind people pledge, the better it will get. It's as simple as that.
Now Kickstarter recommend that we talk to you a little bit about the rewards on offer. Most games give you a free copy of the game when you make a pledge but we can’t do that as the game is free anyway! Instead, we’ve tried to give our contributors a voice in the decision making process. Scavengers has always been about making the game YOU want (hence the editor!) and if you look at our rewards you’ll see that as they scale up, you’ll get the chance to participate more and more in how Scavengers evolves. Anyone who pledges is automatically enrolled in both the alpha and beta phases, and can start sending us feedback straight away.
To conclude, we'd like to thank you for taking the time to look at this project. We’d like to thank you even more if you’re now considering or have already made a pledge to the project. If you’re not considering making a pledge then please remember that under Kickstarter rules, if we don’t make our minimum then a) we won’t get anything and b) the lovely guys in the video will be very very sad as they won’t be able to continue the work that they’ve been doing for the past year. Consequently, if when you’re reading this, we’re very close to the total, perhaps you’ll reconsider because we know you won’t regret it :)
We’d also like to thank Adobe and Techsmith for their 30-day free trials of After-Effects and Camtasia respectively which we used to make this “no expense spared” video ;-)
Remember you can find loads more info about the Scavengers project on our web site at playScavengers.com so please check it out. We also intend to keep adding more info and videos as the project progresses, so if you’ve got any questions or requests, just get in touch.
Finally, apologies if there are any odd sounds in the video or the light changes; our office is on a busy main road and buses, ambulances et al have a tendancy to roar down it; you would not believe how many takes it took to get some siren-less video ;-)
Update - Early Gameplay Video
Here's a video we did back in Jan 2013 in preparation for this project; it should highlight gameplay a little better (sorry there's no sound).
Update - Feature Breakdown
We've had requests for a bit more info on the fetaures we're looking to implement as part of the Beta; hopefully this should help:
Risks and challenges
We hope that the fact that Scavengers isn't vapourware will illustrate to our backers our ability to deliver on this project. Whilst it's taken time to get us where we want to be, our understanding of the technology now is such that we feel confident that we can deliver on the Scavenger's Beta project. We've deliberately not included exact timescales but we expect the work to take 3-4 months. We very much intend keeping our backers appraised on a daily basis of the current situation whether it be through Kickstarter, our site, blog and Twitter channels. In dealing with problems we intend utilising the same skills that have got us where we are, namely hard work, an intelligent approach and some good humour in dark times :)