In Broken you are Jim, a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder, more commonly known as multiple personality disorder. Your goal is simple: Cure yourself and merge your minds into a singular whole. To do this you’ll need help from your pet rabbit, Harold. Harold’s death several years ago was the catalyst that split your mind apart. Now, you chase after the ghostly visage of the bunny in hopes that catching him will merge your mind and mend what’s broken.
In our senior year at Columbia College Chicago, what would eventually become G.R.N. Studios began work on a puzzle game for our capstone project. We initially entitled the project Mirrored as in early prototypes all levels involved players controlling two characters at once who moved in mirrored directions to each other. The idea was to get both characters to the end of a maze at the same time. But this idea seemed too simple for an entire game. So we discussed how to add mechanics and context to the idea to make it a fully featured product. Level designer Nick Niemiec, designer Kriz Rojas, and creative director Seth Golovin eventually came up with the idea of having different characters each with their own movement patterns. We also decided that the mazes should evolve over time to add new mechanics to the game.
The next step was providing context to these mechanics. After a great amount of thought, Seth came up with the idea of having each of the characters actually be a personality of a single main character who suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder. The new idea required a new title and a new art style. For the title we went with Broken, symbolizing not only the broken mind of our lead character, Jim, but also the collapsing mental asylum that would be the game's setting. For art we turned to professional artist Austin Light. A long time friend of Seth, Austin agreed to help create an art style for Broken. We knew that the game needed to be shown from a top down perspective, so Austin recommended we go with the slightly tilted style popularized by The Legend of Zelda and other classic 8 bit games. We agreed and from that decision the art for Broken was born.
Meanwhile sound designers Pat, Sean, and Billy were working on an array of sound effects to compliment the art. Billy got in touch with Spencer Riedel, a local voice actor who agreed to provide the voice over for the game. Finally composer Elan Hickler began work on a soundtrack that would bring life to each area.
The next breakthrough came several months later when Seth realized that there needed to be something special to symbolize the exit on each level. The result was Harold, the iconic bunny who would come to dominate the story of Broken. The team turned to artist Amanda Humfleet to provide art for Harold's various forms. Each personality saw Harold in a different way and while each personality was wildly different, they were all connected by a shared love of Harold.
The final piece of the puzzle came in the form of a collectable. We realized that there needed to be a greater element of replayability in the game, and also a way to unlock extra and hidden content. For this we created a collectable, the psychiatrist's notes, that would be strewn throughout the asylum for Jim to discover. Collecting these notes would provide further backstory to the events taking place and would unlock additional content if players collected enough of them.
All the pieces were in place but school was over. We weren't willing to give up on Broken, though, now that we had come so far. So Nick, Seth, Pat, Sean, Elan, Austin, Amanda, Kriz and programmer Morgan O'Brien decided to take a school project and turn it into a true commercial product. After months of work we had a playable demo and needed additional funding to help finish the game. Which is where you guys come in. We want you to see what it is we love about Broken, and know that words and video can't fully capture the feeling of playing the game. So we've uploaded our demo to Kongregate for you to play. We hope that after you play the demo you'll want to help us see the game through to completion.
To that end we want to be transparent as possible regarding how we plan on spending your hard earned money. So please allow us to give you a simple list followed by a more detailed description below.
Licenses and Software Development Kits
Release Costs and Fees
Hardware and Software Costs
Licenses - Broken uses the free Unity Game Engine as its core. But while the basic version is free, licenses to release on additional platforms and to use additional features cost a lot of money. We want to release the game on as many platforms as possible and in the highest possible quality. To this end we'll need licenses to create iOS and possibly Android versions (Minimum $1500 for one license for one designer). To develop for iOS we need a software development kit($100) which will be an additional cost.
Estimated Costs - $5000
Legal Fees - It may seem minor but there are a ton of legal fees involved in setting up a company and releasing a product. At the very base there are incorporation costs that let us be a company. Then there are contracts to be written, taxes to be paid, and a lot of legal consulting to make sure we do everything up to code.
Estimated Costs - $1500
Release Costs and Fees - Releasing a game on some platforms is free. Others require fees be paid for certification and listing. We want to release on as many platforms as possible. Steam and other online distributors can be costly to get listed on and we'll need money to cover these costs.
Estimated Costs - $1000
Hardware and Software Costs - As you might think a lot of hardware and software goes into making a game beyond the costs of the engine. Software of various types may need to be purchased to make assets or keep track of files. Hardware may also break and need to be replaced, and testing software and hardware needs to be purchased so that we can assure the game runs on as many computers, tablets, and phones as possible.
Estimated Costs - $2500
Total Development Costs - $10,000
Estimated Amazon/Kickstarter Cut - $1500
Estimated Taxes - $2000
Total Kickstarter Fees - $3,500
Estimated Reward Production and Shipping - $1500
Total - $15,000
We feel that after you play the demo you'll understand why Broken has the potential to be an amazing game. But we still have a long way to go. To get there we need your help to raise $15,000 over the next 36 days. We absolutely believe in Broken and we think you will too after you watch our video and play our demo. Broken is a product of love for the team here at G.R.N. Studios and we sincerely hope you'll come to love it as much as we do.
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If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
All previous rewards plus your name in the credits as a Producer, a physical art book, numbered, signed, and with commentary from the artists, and a unique code which will entitle you to any future versions of Broken on any platform, plus any downloadable content that may be made on any platform.
All Previous Rewards Plus A Special Edition Physical Copy of Broken in a numbered collectable tin, including a collectable USB Stick containing the game, the soundtrack, concept art, and videos, a collectable Lithograph of the Broken team signed by the designers, and a collectable Poster signed by the artists.