This project's funding goal was not reached on April 17, 2014.
About this project
UPDATE: A lot of backers have been asking about the actual gameplay planned and for those who have not yet read the excellent graphic novels here is a bit of insight into the characters and story.
The main character, Dinah, is a 15-year old girl who lives in a rundown New England town called Bizenghast. Although the town is rife with supernatural activity, no one else believes Dinah's claims that ghosts are coming and going through the crumbling buildings and dilapidated streets. Only Dinah's best friend, Vincent, believes her...though he's never seen any ghosts himself.
That all changes when a late walk through the surrounding woods lands them both on the doorstep of an otherworldly guild called the Mausoleum, located in a cemetery that seemingly comes and goes at will, and all managed more or less efficiently (if very, very strangely) by the afterlife. Accidentally committing to a job contract as a “human agent,” Dinah unknowingly agrees to return every night to this supernatural waystation, where the lost souls of humans are stored and rehabilitated until they can pass on to the other side. Dinah must enter into vaults which contain the strange and surreal dreams of these ghosts and try to solve the problems that hold them back from moving on. Or, you know, die trying.
Each vault is a separate level in the game, which Dinah has to enter, navigate and solve, a task far easier said than done. The ghosts are often unaware that they're even dead in the first place and so it's up to Dinah, and you as the player, to discover the meaning of their death and then figure out how to help that spirit pass on.
Luckily, Dinah has a little otherworldly guidance while she's on missions, in the form of a very bizarre guild worker named Edaniel, who is a green, and is a sort of...well, in ten years, we haven't figured out what he is exactly, but maybe you can. Long-eared cat? Long-tailed bunny? Some kind of pointy monster? At any rate, he's got a fine taste in hats and terrible taste in everything else.
Abilities and Allies
Vincent - Vincent is Dinah's childhood friend and lives in the town of Bizenghast with her. A young man whose wealthy parents are always traveling and leaving him more or less alone, he sticks with Dinah through everything, considering her his only true friend. Even though he has no contract with the Mausoleum, Vincent nevertheless volunteers to accompany Dinah every night, giving her moral support and a helping hand whenever he can. Per the rules of the Mausoleum, he can't enter the dream vaults with Dinah, but he can stay outside in the main building and assist her in other ways!
Edaniel – Although he's often more scatterbrained and silly than helpful, Edaniel gladly escorts Dinah through the ghostly vaults and volunteers to wear a tinfoil hat, to help boost the signal of Vincent's cellphone and cut out some of the supernatural static. In addition to this, there are hidden bonus hats for the player to collect throughout the game, that each receive their own bonus audio content when Edaniel puts them on. Everything from radio plays, to afterlife broadcast announcements, to Edaniel's internal thoughts, and even a special director's commentary for the game itself! Collect all the hats and get hours and hours of bonus game content!
Ghost vision – What everyone else assumed was a bad case of the crazies in Dinah actually turns out to be a kind of heightened intuition. When Dinah is near ghosts, or items that have been used by them, she gains a special, ghostly sight that allows her to pick up clues in her environment, perceiving the actions of the spirits around her and providing insight on where to explore next.
Vincent sets up a makeshift HQ and photo lab in a side room of the Mausoleum, and helps Dinah out in a number of ways:
Cell phone: Vincent has a cell that he uses to keep in contact with Dinah, although reception is spotty, due to the supernatural interference. Luckily, Edaniel wears a tin foil hat to help boost the signal, but his calls can still come in through a lot of static and may be difficult to understand at times.
Knowledge: Vincent is an amateur historian and knows a ton about the town and surrounding areas. This, along with his moving of vital history books into his makeshift lab, means he can provide clues to each ghost's personal history and may be able to help Dinah along if she gets stuck.
Camera: Occasionally, strange silhouettes appear, darting in and out of the ghost worlds. No one is sure what they are, but they point to a bigger intrigue within the Mausoleum itself. Dinah uses a disposable camera to take pictures of these creatures (since the spirits only appear on regular film) and brings them back to Vincent, who develops them in his lab and tries to piece together what's really going on.
Map: As Dinah explores each new ghost world, she describes it to Vincent, who draws a map and helps her keep track of where she's been, where certain landmarks and items are, and he can make backtracking and retracing steps much easier.
Gameplay: When you play as Dinah in the ghost vaults you will enter a world that has been created by the ghosts imagination. The laws of physics often do not hold true and nothing is ever as it seems. Here, players will have to explore the environment, looking for clues and unlocking puzzles to discover the mystery for each ghost as to why they are tormented and cannot pass on. The reasons behind each ghosts burdened soul are unique and it is up to the player to discover the cause of each spirits death. Were they murdered? Does the spirit want revenge? How do you convince them to let go without killing their murderer? How do you help one seek closure for accidently killing their true love by unknowingly infecting them with the black plague? How do you bring justice to the kidnapped children of a crazed witch? What do you do about a young privileged girl who was accidently murdered by two of her friends? These are only a few examples of the difficult choices you will face.
Our Game Engine partners - Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games
"We have always been huge fans of the Unreal Engine from Epic Games. When we heard the announcement at GDC about the pricing change we jumped at the chance to switch our pipeline over to have access to such an amazing toolset." Ziad Seirafi Cosmic Forces, CEO
M. Alice LeGrow’s manga Bizenghast, one of the flagship original English manga for Tokyopop, was touted by Teen Vogue as a must-read; it spawned a tabletop game, a line of merchandise, an art book and a legion of obsessive fans.
Cosmic Forces is partnering with author M. Alice LeGrow and TOKYOPOP to bring you an immersive RPG game, set in the strange and eerie world of Bizenghast, an acclaimed graphic novel series celebrating its tenth anniversary.
With its unique art style, strong female protagonist and dark humor, Bizenghast has garnered fans worldwide and been published in over a dozen languages. Now the adventure continues within the dark ambiance of the Bizenghast video game.
This fully-3D adventure puzzle game will be created by some of the most talented designers and animators in the industry. The Bizenghast game team is made up of Cosmic Forces' award-winning artists, who have won multiple Oscars and Emmys for their work in conjunction with Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Animation, Nick Jr. and other companies. Their animation experience, as seen in blockbuster films like “Oz the Great and Powerful”, “Hotel Transylvania”, “Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland”, “Olivia” and more, brings incredible expertise and a captivating style to this project.
In addition, M. Alice LeGrow, the writer and artist of Bizenghast, will be working on the creative team, producing concept art, character designs and other aspects that will make this game spiritually faithful to the graphic novel series -- and she will be the voice of Dinah, the main character!
With all-new characters, adventures and story, the game will be highly accessible to new fans, while still fascinating to those already familiar with the book series.
The Bizenghast video game will be a third-person role-playing adventure. Gameplay will feature story-driven action, puzzle solving and haunting ambient exploration. Players will experience a rich narrative with an emotionally charged story, in a dark and stylized setting. 3D immersive graphics and innovative game play will seamlessly weave detailed cinematics with intuitive controls. Become an agent of the Mausoleum, enter the world of the deceased and confront their nightmares to help them escape oblivion!
The main focus of the project will be on blending cinematic action with intuitive game-play, merging the two effortlessly for a richer environment experience and a more personally engaging story. Emphasis will be on puzzle-solving and exploration, giving players more time and freedom to unravel mysteries and become part of the story.
- Film quality cinematics and character animation.
- Deep story-driven narrative with rich character development.
- Challenging puzzles and mysteries.
- Fully voiced characters with motion-capture animated facial expressions.
- AAA graphics and animation.
- Release Platforms: Mac, PC, Linux, iOS, Android.
- Chapter 1 – First 3 to 5 levels totaling 10 to 20 hours of gameplay.
- Stretch Goals for additional features, characters and chapters.
Thanks to new cutting-edge technology from Mixamo, we will bring feature-film quality animation with fully voiced characters and facial expressions to the game.
Cosmic Forces is happy to partner with Mixamo! We have chosen Mixamo All Access as part of our development pipeline for this project.Much like the movies we have worked on in the past, we plan to use a combination of motion-capture from live actors, further refined through artist created animation.
Cosmic Forces, CEO Creative Director
Ziad founded Cosmic Forces in 2012 after working with Sony Imageworks (SPI). Ziad is a 23-year veteran of the film industry, beginning his career in 1991 and later working television shows like "Star Trek: Voyager" and on feature films for Sony’s Mandaly Entertainment and Columbia Pictures. As a Digital Artist, he has been a member of the Oscar-winning team for "The Golden Compass" and Oscar-nominated teams for "Alice in Wonderland", "Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End" and "Poseidon." In his spare time, he enjoys being awesome.
M. Alice LeGrow
Bizenghast Author, Illustrator
M. Alice has been a professional comics artist since 2004 and is now celebrating the ten-year anniversary of Bizenghast, an eight-volume graphic novel series published by TOKYOPOP Inc, which has been published in over a dozen languages and sold worldwide. In addition to the Bizenghast initial series, she has begun a new graphic novel series called The Elephant Book. M. Alice has a BFA in Sequential Art and has had a love of comics since high school, when she decided she would pursue a career as a comic artist and abandoned her previous decision to be a pearl farmer in Tahiti, which was really for the best, otherwise this might have ended up being an even weirder Kickstarter.
Director of Animation
Shawn is a former Senior Character Animator at Sony Pictures Imageworks. He has over 15 years experience working as an Animation Director, Character Animator. Originally a traditional animator and personally mentored by Disney’s golden age animator Milt Neil, Shawn made the transition to CG Animation in 2003. His history of work has encompassed commercials, TV shows, games, and feature films. His film credits include “Oz: The Great and Powerful”, “Hotel Transylvania” and “Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.”
Creative Director, Game Designer
Brett Shapiro has over 20 years of professional experience and has worked in nearly every crew position on a wide rage of projects from Feature Films and Television to Animation, Visual Effects and Games. He has worked with ILM, EA, PDI/Dreamworks, Sony, and Apple, to name a few. Brett has been involved in research and development for digital technology pipelines through which his work contributed to productions such as Star Wars – Episode I and Lord of the Rings. Brett has designed and directed several mobile apps and he even spent 6 years teaching High School Digital Media Arts classes, where he created the curriculum for courses in Animation and Game Design. Brett has been an avid gamer for many years. He is excited to bring his strong background in both technical and creative to the medium of games.
Cosmic Forces is Licensing Bizenghast from TOKYOPOP.
Founded in 1997 by filmmaker and entrepreneur Stu Levy, TOKYOPOP established the market for manga in North America. Over its history, TOKYOPOP has published over 3,000 books, distributed anime and Asian films on home video and television, licensed merchandise to consumer goods companies, created graphic novels of major brands and led the way digitally in social media, e-commerce and user-generated content. TOKYOPOP’s brand expanded internationally with offices in Europe and Japan and a network of over 160 partners in more than 50 countries and 30 languages.
Bizenghast (c) M. Alice LeGrow and TOKYOPOP Inc. All rights reserved.
A game about ghosts and mystery that plays out in an emotionally tense pace and stars a strong female protagonist isn’t exactly the kind of project that a large studio would fund. But like the many people who have seen and supported this project's plans and concepts, we know the gaming community will be thrilled to enter a rich world with a deep narrative that includes interesting and well-defined characters.
So we are here on Kickstarter to seek your involvement. In addition to simply backing the project, we want to involve you in the entire game-making process, giving a behind-the-scenes look at how this game is made. For anyone who backs the project at $25 or more, you will not only be given access to our closed developer forums, behind-the-scenes videos and the opportunity to be present for live video conferences, you will also have access to our development journal and we have some exciting plans to involve our backers in some of the key decision making that will craft the game.
While $125,000 will allow us to bring you an amazing and fully featured first chapter of the game, we have a lot more planned. With your help, we can reach for our stretch goals, so we can better realize our full vision and give you the best game possible!
$150K: Unlock Dinah's best friend Vincent as a fully-3D, voiced companion character, as well as his parent's mansion and his private house to explore!
$200K: Team travels to Prague to record the entire musical score for the game with a live orchestra!
$250K: Unlock the entire town of Bizenghast! NPCs to interact with, houses and shops to explore, mysteries and secrets to unravel!
$300: The two tower brothers, Edrear and Edaniel, are unlocked in human form as fully voiced and animated NPCs, as well as access to bonus secret rooms inside the mausoleum!
$500K: The second chapter of the story is unlocked, with more cinematic plot, more ghost vaults, more achievements and secrets!
$700K: The third chapter of the story is unlocked, revealing all the ghostly vaults, achievements, hidden map areas and secret items of the game!
$1,000,000: The entire game is created from start to finish with all the extras, bells and whistles we can cram in, and ending with a glorious, heart-pounding, fully-cinematic finale!
The Game, Mobile Edition– Chapter #1 of the Bizenghast game for iOS or Android.
The Game, Computer Edition - Chapter #1 of the Bizenghast game for Mac, PC or Linux.
Digital wallpapers – Special Edition wallpaper art for your electronic device.
Forum Access - You will receive exclusive access to our private developer forums, where we will be posting frequent updates on the game's progress and sharing a behind-the-scenes look on every aspect of the game's production. This will also include video blogs and live discussions with key team members!
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL! If you are one of our first 100 backers, you will receive digital edition of the Bizenghast graphic novel, book 1, as an eBook from Comixology!
Soundtrack – Digital copy of the haunting game soundtrack!
Art Book (Digital) – Digital version of the Special Edition Art Book. This will include concept art, paintings, storyboards, character sheets and everything else from the production of the game that we can possibly include!
In-Game Outfit for Dinah – Kickstarter backer exclusive! We will craft a special in-game outfit that will only be available to our backers. Backers will also be selected to vote on its final design!
Beta Access - We need beta testers for the early beta versions of game builds! Your playthroughs and feedback will help us test and improve the game before its release. We will have a dedicated private forum for beta testers, where you can post comments and suggestions to help us shape the game design.
T-Shirt – Nothing says “I'm on the development team” like an exclusive shirt! Special Limited Edition Bizenghast video game t-Shirts will be designed only for backers and our in-house development team, and will not be sold anywhere.
Playing Cards – A full deck of beautiful Bizenghast playing cards, featuring all-new artwork by creator M. Alice LeGrow.
8.5”x11” Poster – A limited-edition full color Bizenghast game poster.
Bizenghast Graphic Novel Series – Explore the Bizenghast story with the complete 8 book graphic novel series published by TOKYOPOP.
Bizenghast Art Book, Falling into Fear - Art book with 24 mini-posters and 12 pages of stickers featuring limited-edition art from the graphic novel.
Name on a Grave – Your name immortalized in stone, literally! You can put your name, your pet's name or the name of a friend or family member on a gravestone that will appear in-game, in the Bizenghast graveyard for all players to see for eternity!
Great Big Poster – Cover your wall with the Limited Edition 36”x40” full size wall poster signed by artist M. Alice LeGrow, Creative Director Brett Shapiro and the creative team. If you wall isn't big enough, build a new wall. It'll be worth it.
In-game Painting – Artist Creator M. Alice LeGrow will create a digital painting of you, or a friend or family member of your choosing. The painting will appear in-game, in a frame, on a wall, for all game players to see. You will also receive a 36"x40" physical print of the painting, signed by M. Alice LeGrow, sutiable for framing!
2 Tickets to Launch Party – You and a guest will be invited to our launch premiere party, where you can meet the entire team, our friends and family, and schmooze with entertainment industry guests. (Note: M. Alice will try to challenge you to a spring roll eating contest. Don't accept, because you can't win. No one ever does.)
Statue of You – A 3D model stone statue of your likeness, or that of a friend or family member of your choosing, to appear in the game, in the Bizenghast graveyard for all to see.
In-Game Character – We will create an NPC of you, or that of a friend or family member of your choosing, that will appear in the game. Your in-game likeness will appear somewhere creepy and players will be able to interact with you!
Dinner and Stay in Santa Fe, NM – A 2-night stay at a premiere resort hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico. You will get to hang with members of the creative team, meet creator M. Alice LeGrow and Creative Director Brett Shapiro and be treated to a high class dinner with key members of the development team. The spring roll warning still applies.
Risks and challenges
$125,000 is the absolute bare minimum we need, in order to create the first chapter of the game and do it justice, without sacrificing our vision or the level of quality to which we are accustomed. Coming from a background in high-end studio feature films, we know quality and have the creative and technical expertise to deliver great visuals. With the funding we receive, we will also hire experienced designers and professionals from the gaming industry, to help us develop and build the actual game-play, run operations smoothly and deliver a really well-made, entertaining game.
A big consideration, even in multi-million dollar games and media production, is time. While our goal is to have a delivery date of Winter 2014, there are always unforeseen issues that might crop up. We plan to be totally transparent with our backers as we go about our day-to-day work on this project, providing ongoing development journals and updates for everyone to stay involved, every single step of the way. Our main focus is to deliver the highest quality experience possible to our backers, because without them, this project wouldn't be possible!
Music courtesy Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
- (30 days)