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LIONESS's video poster

What does it feel like to not exist? Read more

Austin, TX Video Games
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pledged of $7,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on August 6, 2013.

What does it feel like to not exist?

Austin, TX Video Games
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About this project

UPDATE:  Thank you for all of your support so far. Lioness is a project that we'd like to see expand in terms of quality, rather than size. By having more than the bare minimum funding, we can better invest ourselves into pursuing our vision unencumbered. All additional funds will be put into giving ourselves more space to deliver on this project as efficiently and effectively as possible. (Why no stretch goals?)

LIONHEART DRIVE (or "LIONESS") is an experimental adventure game about human connection. The player controls Eggert Kirby, a freelance journalist, as he conducts research for an article about a series of seven mysteriously missing people. Of course, nothing is as it seems and he soon befriends a nicotine addicted cat and unravels a plot involving time-travel, yakuza, and interdimensional coffee.

SYSTEM: Gameplay in Lioness focuses on social interactions, life, and narrative. We are experimenting with unique new ways to approach games as a storytelling medium which haven't been explored in past adventure games.

Lioness offers a non-linear plot that can be navigated by meeting new people, solving problems, and exploring unique urban environments, all rendered in colorful, fluid rotoscope graphics.

Rather than navigating a static tree of binary decisions, we are strongly focusing on providing an organic narrative experience that feels personal and unique to everyone who plays it.

The game will be released episodically in the form of 7 'sessions'. Each session will reveal more about the plot, the world, and the people in it.


Zak Ayles (aka "mooosh") is an independent game developer and visual artist interested in exploring the potential of games as a storytelling medium. I am responsible for PUNKSNOTDEAD, Sake Express, Solitaire, and many others.

Phillip Lanzbom (aka "PostPre") is a musician focused on bringing a sound that we feel is underrepresented in video games, taking the bass and bite of modern hip-hop music and melding it with atmospheric melodies and production.

We are both contributing to the writing and design of the game.


Your donations will mostly be used to offset living expenses and development costs in order to guarantee us time to devote to working on this project as much as possible.


We've been hard at work making sure that allowing this project to come to life will be worth your while. By donating, you can receive the game itself, an early soundtrack sampler containing 21 tracks, artbooks, a short film, and more. On top of that, by donating $7 you will also receive a free copy of our currently ongoing project, cutthroat EP, as well as 7 brand new games (details below)

We've been quietly collaborating with the braingale collective to bring you 7 brand new games that will be available exclusively as a part of this Kickstarter. Each of these games are deeply unique and personal; something you wouldn't find anywhere else -- And this campaign is the only way to obtain these games for the foreseeable future. (What is braingale?)

francis ☼ by Andrew Brophy (Rocket HockeyTakishawa is Dead)
An exploration game that's (probably) not going to be about saving people, bad gravity, magic, terrifying things in the dark, coffee.

KILLING MAN by Jerry Mickle (Coffee Mafia, SHOOT CAR, SHIT PANTS)
It's time to be a        killing  man.

gabbage day by Todd Luke (Treasure of the Abandoned City, winnose)
become the unsung urban hero

Shadow Creatures are in the Sky by Namragog (Escalated Strange)
Use talismans to serve your god; fight the shadow men.

Star Bizarre by Lulu Blue (FILO • FILO • DISCO, Strife in a Parallel)
Here lies the pauper, who knew not care nor comfort. 
Here lies the father, who by behest of their ego raised a tragic life. 

Here lies the guard, yet awaiting their next order.

Untitled by Alec Stamos (Tales of the Renegade SectorFlight of the Data Thief)
More info coming soon!

The Devil's Throne by Manuel Magalhães (Marble Time)
More info coming soon!

More info on these games will be made available throughout the campaign.

For the past several months, Phil and I have been working on an experimental 2-in-1 short story video game package called "cutthroat EP". It contains:

Catering to Birds: A "not-game" about a man who believes that he is a bird. Take flight in a relaxing world of sound and color. A story of isolation.

The Death Styx: A punk rock fever dream through hell. It's a fast paced, abrasive, and incredibly loud adventure that will chase you through a new vision of hell for the digital age.

By backing for $7, you will receive a digital download of both games BEFORE they are officially released to the public. 

Risks and challenges

We would like to pursue this project as a full-time endeavor. However, there is always the chance that positive or negative events may demand that we spend a longer time working on this than intended. We've planned for this, and have ensured ourselves enough elbow room that we can guarantee that the game will be completed, even if a part-time job or secondary source of funding is necessary.

As stated above, this game is indeed experimental in nature. And as experiments go, they usually fail. We feel as though we may be charting entirely new territory in interactive narrative, so we will continue to experiment, reiterate, and prototype until we have made something we're proud of. We'll be keeping you up to speed with what's been going on in our heads, and what experiments we're trying out in the game. Expect what you see above to shift and evolve over time.

I also ask you to understand that, although we intend to be as transparent as possible with our progress on the game, a certain lack of transparency is necessary for the final product to still be enjoyable. As it is a game based around mystery and surprises, if we were to display the entire development process it would conflict with what the game is fundamentally setting out to achieve.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • For Lioness: Windows at the moment, but Mac and Linux is a huge possibility.

    The bonus games vary -- at the moment I can only say with certainty that at least gabbage day and KILLING MAN will have Mac support. More info on the way.

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  • We're always looking for new opportunities, so it's hard to say just yet. We'll definitely look into services like Steam, and we will probably be distributing it ourselves as well.

    We have no intention of venturing control over the distribution of this game out of our possession.

    Last updated:
  • Of course

    Last updated:
  • Definitely, but please remember that we need to meet our Kickstarter goal in order for the project to be successful. We ask that you only use these methods if it's absolutely necessary.


    Bitcoin: 1Fq6WyLqy4MG7a1bgn6SxYrTTYgPN1i2ff

    Please send me a message containing the amount of money donated, your email address, and which reward you want. Bitcoin reward levels will hinge on the USD conversion rate at the time of donation.

    Last updated:
  • It's hard to tell just yet. We are hoping to release the first episode before the end of 2014. Nothing is concrete.

    Last updated:


  • You selected
    Pledge $7 or more

    1,568 backers

    • a digital download of each episode of LIONESS as soon as it's finished
    • an EARLY digital download of cutthroat EP, as soon as it's finished.
    • 7 brand new games(!!) from members of the Braingale collective, available exclusively through this Kickstarter

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $14 or more

    409 backers

    • all of the above
    • a digital artbook zine containing artwork and writing from LIONESS. (PDF)
    • a downloadable soundtrack sampler with 21 music tracks made for LIONESS, including 7 fresh new Kickstarter exclusive bonus tracks and remixes. (320kbs, MP3)

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $21 or more

    124 backers

    • all of the above
    • a digital artbook zine containing instructions on unaided human flight. (PDF)
    • a downloadable short film documenting a deconstruction of The Death Styx

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    58 backers

    • all of the above
    • a signed & numbered artbook zine containing artwork and writing from LIONESS. (physical)
    • a signed & numbered artbook zine containing instructions on unaided human flight. (physical)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $42 or more

    38 backers Limited (62 left of 100)

    • all of the above
    • A physical copy of cutthroat EP, as soon as possible after it is released digitally.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $77 or more

    19 backers Limited (31 left of 50)

    • all of the above
    • an original piece of artwork on 11" x 8.5" bristol board related to your choice of either LIONESS, Catering to Birds, or The Death Styx

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $105 or more

    5 backers All gone!

    • all of the above
    • work with us on naming and designing an original character in LIONESS.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $126 or more

    5 backers All gone!

    • all of the above (minus the $105 tier)
    • I will make a game for you - submit a theme and I will make a short game based on it.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)