Why Ambrov X and Why Me? – Jennifer Brandes Hepler
Why Ambrov X?
When Aharon Cagle first approached me about Ambrov X, I was skeptical, as I’m sure most of you are. Who was this little company making what looked to be a complete Mass Effect rip-off? And how were they possibly going to manage that on a Kickstarter budget? But then we talked, and I read the source material, and I started thinking… What if when Ash/Kaidan turn against Shepard in the Citadel coup, Shepard’s own life literally depended on convincing them back to his side? What if Hawke could have used Anders’s addiction to her life-force to keep him from turning fully Vengeance? How much more intense could your relationship be with your followers if they were more than friends, more than romances – if they were both a part of your soul and the greatest threat to it?
Over and over again, the majority of Bioware fans tell us that a large part of what draws them to a character is their involvement in the main plot of the game. Fans like to have the chance to put their lover/best buddy Alistair on the throne, or have Morrigan end the Blight by carrying their baby. In the writers’ rooms, we spent long hours trying to respond to this by giving every follower a shining moment in the plot, but it’s hard for a single story to support 8 or 9 equally important co-starring roles. And the reality is that on a large game, things change – followers get cut, or downgraded to non-romanceable, or gender-swapped. And in a party-based RPG, it has to be gameplay that guides such decisions – whether a follower is the much-needed mage or rogue is often more important than how well-written they are, or how much their personal arc might get under your skin.
In Ambrov X, it is the player and his/her symbiotic relationship with the other half of their pair that are the center of the game. While there is also a sprawling space opera plot that players will navigate and world-affecting decisions to be made, the key moments hinge on the tumultuous relationship between the two main characters. Though they may fight, make up, take opposite sides and love and hate each other in equal measure, they cannot survive without each other… and humanity cannot survive without their alliance. But this doesn’t mean the story is limited to a single playthrough with a single paired character. Our intent is to have a distinct paired character for each race/gender combination the player can choose. When combined with the choices the player makes in the plots, Ambrov X will be a deep story with extensive replayability. By producing the game episodically, we get the opportunity to develop these all-important characters in conjuction with the fans. By hearing fan feedback early and often, we can tailor the characters to players’ interests, so that by the final installment, any surprises in the ending should be the kind that make you gasp… not groan.
And Why Me?
The themes in Ambrov X are ones I’ve always been fascinated with: What makes us human? At what point does having powers or needs different than most people’s make you no longer human? How can freedom be justified if it places other people at risk? How do the quirks and personal relationships between individuals get magnified when those people have the power to influence a whole world?
I have been a writer at Bioware for 8 years, and have worked on all three Dragon Age games as well as Star Wars: The Old Republic. During that time, I have received a lot of praise for my work from fans who were deeply moved by finding such deep themes explored in a videogame. My goal as a game writer has always been to convince players to do something that is bad for them as a character, that they have no good meta-game reason to do, just because an imaginary person said it was important to them.
I have also, as most of you know, received a fair amount of vitriol about my stance that games are for everyone. But I continue to firmly believe that we have not come of age as an industry or a hobby, until you no longer have to ask someone “are you a gamer?” because everyone plays games, and you only need to ask “what kinds of games do you play?” With Ambrov X, as with Dragon Age and SWTOR, we are reaching out past the “straight white male” demographic and trying to create a game for anyone who loves a good sci-fi story. Players can play any gender and romance any gender they want. Because who am I to come into your living room and tell you how to play?
What I like, personally, in a game or movie or story of any kind, is a dark, deep story about characters with larger-than-life personalities, who need every ounce of their super-human willpower to survive making decisions that will affect the lives of millions. I like to have the chance to explore the kinds of difficult, co-dependent and damaging relationships I avoid like the plague in real life. And I like to have dialogue that sings, with lines you can quote to your friends or wear on a t-shirt and every time you hear it, you’re reminded of the thrill that scene first gave you.
As lead writer on Ambrov X, that’s the kind of game I want to make. And I hope it’s the kind of game you want to play. Please support us!
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THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! ============================= ALL TIERS will receive an AMBROV X SYMBOL STICKER and a KICKSTARTER BACKER BADGE on the AMBROV X community site! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Ambrov X community site (community.ambrovx.com) is an excellent venue where you can offer suggestions, meet other Sime~Gen fans (newbies and experts alike) and interact with the development team.Estimated delivery:Add $2 USD to ship outside the US
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MONK OF DAR ============================= DIGITAL DOWNLOADABLE COPY OF AMBROV X, EPISODE 1 + IN-GAME ACHIEVEMENT AND ITEM + Previous reward tier. In addition to a digital copy of AMBROV X: EPISODE 1, all Kickstarter backers at this level (and subsequent levels) will receive a special in-game achievement and the in-game CHEST PIECE of an exclusive KICKSTARTER ARMOR SET. The Armor Set is Moddable and will not affect the balance of the game. The KICKSTARTER ARMOR SET DESIGN will be COMMUNITY APPROVED!Estimated delivery:
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MONK OF DAR 2 ============================= DIGITAL DOWNLOADABLE COPY OF AMBROV X, EPISODES 1-5 + IN-GAME ACHIEVEMENT AND ITEM + Previous reward tier. In addition to a digital copy of ALL FIVE EPISODES OF AMBROV X, all Kickstarter backers at this level (and subsequent levels) will receive a special in-game achievement and the in-game CHEST PIECE of an exclusive KICKSTARTER ARMOR SET. The Armor Set is Moddable and will not affect the balance of the game. The KICKSTARTER ARMOR SET DESIGN will be COMMUNITY APPROVED!Estimated delivery:
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ASTROGATOR OF THE UNITY ONE ============================= DIGITAL SOUNDTRACK of the music featured in AMBROV X + Previous reward tier. Also includes the LEGGINGS for the KICKSTARTER ARMOR SET!Estimated delivery:
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THIRD ORDER CHANNEL ============================= DIGITAL COLLECTOR'S COMPENDIUM IN PDF FORMAT + Previous reward tier. The DIGITAL COLLECTOR’S COMPENDIUM will include lore and art about the Sime~Gen Universe in the Space Age. Additionally the DIGITAL COMPENDIUM will include never before published space age short stories and essays by Jacqueline Lichtenberg and Jean Lorrah. Also includes the BOOTS for the KICKSTARTER ARMOR SET!Estimated delivery:
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AGENT OF X ============================= DIGITAL AMBROV X: ORIGIN GRAPHIC NOVEL IN PDF FORMAT + Previous reward tier. Get the origin story behind AMBROV X in this one of a kind, limited edition GRAPHIC NOVEL. Also includes the GLOVES for the KICKSTARTER ARMOR SET!Estimated delivery:
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ENDOWED OF ZEOR ============================= AMBROV X T-SHIRT + Previous reward tier. PLUS Special Thanks in the Credits and VIP Forum Badge! ALSO includes the HEAD PIECE for the KICKSTARTER ARMOR SET! (Please add 20.00 for International Shipping on the T-SHIRT).Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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THE UNITY ONE ALL DIGITAL ============================= The ALL DIGITAL LEVEL! Full Kickstarter Armor, In-Game Item and Achievement, Digital Download of Episodes 1-5, Digital Soundtrack, Digital Collector's Compendium, Digital Graphic Novel, VIP Forum Badge and Special Thanks in the Credits, BETA KEY and the SIME~GEN EBOOK BUNDLE -- All 12 Novels in ePub or mobi formats (a $50 Retail Value!).Estimated delivery:
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SENTINEL OF KAL ============================= BETA KEY FOR ALL FIVE EPISODES + COMPLETE ARMOR SET + DYE SET AND ARMOR SET BONUS. Previous reward tier. Be among the first to play and test ALL FIVE EPISODES of AMBROV X. Not only will your feedback shape each episode but you will be on the cutting edge of each and every episode! ALSO includes the final piece to COMPLETE the KICKSTARTER ARMOR SET, the BELT. Be part of a rare group of players to have the complete ARMOR SET! The Armor set will include a SET BONUS and a SET OF DYES that you may use to change the color of the armor to your liking! You will also get a second beta key and digital download to enjoy Ambrov X on another computer or as a gift to a friend.Estimated delivery:Add $20 USD to ship outside the US
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SECOND ORDER CHANNEL ============================= PRINTED AMBROV X: ORIGIN GRAPHIC NOVEL + KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE CHARACTER T-SHIRT + Previous reward tier. Get the origin story behind AMBROV X in this one of a kind, limited edition PRINTED GRAPHIC NOVEL and wear with pride the icons that represent your character’s Gender, Larity (Race) and Class on this BACKER-EXCLUSIVE CHARACTER ATTRIBUTE T-SHIRT.Estimated delivery:Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
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FIRST COMPANION ============================= LIMITED EDITION PRINTED COMPENDIUM + Previous reward tier. Signed by Jacqueline Lichtenberg & Jean Lorrah, this fine LIMITED EDITION PRINTED COMPENDIUM will make a rare and wonderful addition to your collection. Special GOLD thanks in the Credits and a VIP GOLD Forum Badge.Estimated delivery:Add $30 USD to ship outside the US
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ANCIENT HERO ============================= AN IN-GAME HOLOGRAM OF YOUR LIKENESS + Previous reward tier. Somewhere on the Unity One Starship exists the little known, HALL OF HEROES. In this hallowed hall players will find your likeness...a heroic human of Earth’s past. The Loreful Team will create an impressive hologram of your visage in-game, for players to marvel at for many years to come.Estimated delivery:
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HOUSEHOLD FOUNDER ============================= CREATE YOUR OWN HOUSEHOLDING + Previous reward tier. Create your own householding to be Lore-Approved and featured in the game. Your HOUSEHOLDING will be seen by every AMBROV X player and will be integrated into character creation as a selection. With the assistance of our team, you can provide the lore, symbol, colors and background of your householding. Your creation will be included in the final game and will be featured in the COMPENDIUM. Your householding will become an official part of Sime~Gen lore and could be featured in canon resources in the future! You will also get FIVE beta keys and digital downloads of Ambrov X.Estimated delivery:
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FIRST ORDER CHANNEL ============================= CREATE YOUR OWN SKILL + Previous reward tier. Ever wanted to create the perfect spell or martial move in a game? Now you can! You will work with the Loreful team to create a unique SKILL for one of the four CLASSES. Additionally, through the name of the skill or on the skill description, we will include your name, so that players will see your mark on the game. (Note: Balancing and Game Design restrictions may apply. The Loreful team will work tirelessly to make your skill as unique as possible).Estimated delivery:
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CAPTAIN OF THE UNITY ONE ============================= CREATE YOUR OWN NPC + Previous reward tier. We will send you a character sheet to create your own influential, story dependent NPC. This NPC will have an integral part in the AMBROV X storyline. Your character will be fully voiced and will appear in at least one of the 5 Episodes of Ambrov X.Estimated delivery:
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SOSECTU ============================= AN NPC WITH YOUR LIKENESS + BE OUR GUEST OF HONOR + Previous reward tier. Be our guest of honor at our Official Launch Party in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati may not be the most glamorous city in the land but at our Launch Party YOU will be treated as royalty. Such Royalty must also be honored in-game as well, The Loreful Team will create an NPC of you or of your likeness. If you so choose, we will also record your voice to be heard alongside your likeness. Your avatar will appear in at least one of the 5 Episodes of Ambrov X. (Note: Does not include travel or lodging expenses).Estimated delivery:
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SECTUIB ============================= BE THE HERO! A PLAYER CHARACTER MODEL WITH YOUR LIKENESS + POST-LAUNCH PARTY LUNCH + VERY SPECIAL THANKS IN THE CREDITS + Previous reward tier! Be the envy of all, as your impressive visage walks through the game as the hero! We’ll work with you to produce player character options that LOOK JUST LIKE YOU! Additionally you will be invited to our POST-LAUNCH PARTY LUNCH where you will be wined and dined by the Loreful staff and meet Jacqueline Lichtenberg & Jean Lorrah. (Note: Does not include travel or lodging expenses).Estimated delivery:
- (32 days)