About this project
We've reached our funding goal! To everyone who has pledged, tweeted, written about us, or told a friend: THANK YOU!
In Elegy for a Dead World, you travel to distant planets and create stories about the people who once lived there.
Three portals have opened to uncharted worlds. Earth has sent a team of explorers to investigate them, but after an accident, you are the sole survivor. Your mission remains the same: survey these worlds and write the only accounts of them that outsiders will ever know.
The game is now in development, and will launch in the first quarter of 2015 for Windows, Mac, and Linux on Steam. Beta keys will go out as soon as the Kickstarter ends.
If you are unable to pledge on Kickstarter, or missed the Kickstarter period, you can still pledge and get most rewards here.
We created Elegy so that everyone can write. As you explore, the game helps you create the narrative. You begin on Shelley's World, now devoid of life. A bloated, red sun scorches a landscape of towers, sculptures, and cryptic machinery.
As you encounter these elements, Elegy will cue you with a series of writing prompts. Here, for instance, the game asks you to describe the landscape:
There are many stories to write and many places to visit, from the crumbling museum, stone faces, and sweltering plains of Shelley's World to the central planning station on Keats' World to the desiccated shores and frigid tundra of Byron's World.
Each world offers multiple sets of prompts, each intended to inspire you to write a different story about it. Elegy might ask you to write a short story about an individual's final days, a song about resignation, or a poem about war. In the more advanced levels, you'll sometimes get new information halfway through your story which casts a new light on things and forces you to take your story in a different direction. We like to think of those as puzzles -- writing yourself out of a corner, so to speak.
When you've completed your narrative, you have the option to share it with other players through Steam Workshop or reproduce it in digital and print media.
You can read other players' works, browsing through the most-recent, the best-loved, and recently-trending stories. In our gameplay tests so far, players have expressed a variety of thoughts about what happened in each world -- the silhouette of what looks like a telescope to one player looks like a rocket ship to another, and a planet-destroying weapon to yet another.
You can also take screenshots of your story and upload them to a print-on-demand site like Blurb or Lulu, which will then send you a gorgeous, full-color, physical book:
Elegy began last year, as a collaboration between Dejobaan Games and Popcannibal. Since that time, we've shown it off to hundreds of gamers, writers, designers, and press at PAX, E3, and other venues. Here's some of the kudos we've received:
Selected preview articles and other mentions:
Eurogamer: The write stuff: Elegy for a Dead World preview
- Rock Paper Shotgun: Shelley They Can’t Be Serious
- Joystiq: Elegy for a Dead World turns players into poets
Mashable: 8 Breathtaking Indie Games Stealing Hearts at E3
BBC: E3: What video games to expect for the new-gen consoles
- PC Gamer: The Best PC Games of 2014
- New Scientist: Storytelling beats action in new games
El País: Jugar con versos en el planeta Byron
And here's a Gamespot video interview from the E3 convention in LA, with project leads Ichiro and Ziba.
Development started in October 2013 on what was initially a week-long experiment. It has since grown into a passion project that we've been self-funding. We're committed to finishing this project, but we need your help to give it the final push.
To create a world, the game's designers, Ichiro and Ziba, sit down to consume British Romance-era poetry, and sketch them as stories. Illustrators Jonathan and Luigi interpret that to create flat-colored mockups, which Luigi spends months turning into the beautiful hand-drawn scenes and layers that you see in the game:
We still have a lot left to do:
- Painting and animating additional artwork for each world
- Creating lush soundscapes
Composing multiple writing prompts and puzzles
Your pledge will help us take the time we need to achieve our vision. As thanks for backing, we're offering these rewards:
GOAL REACHED: DRM-Free Elegy
We'll create an offline, DRM-free version of Elegy that doesn't require Steam. Save stories locally, and create images you can share on your website, blog, or an image hosting site. If you've selected a Steam key as a reward, you'll receive a link to download the DRM-free version after version 1.0 of the game launches.
GOAL REACHED: 1,000 Stories
Educators have approached us about using Elegy to teach creative writing and language skills. Help us reach this goal, and we'll give a hand-picked group of schools 1,000 copies of the game for free.
Dejobaan Games has been making games since 1999, and is approaching its 20th commercial launch. The multi-award-winning studio is best known for its BASE jumping game AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity, visual novel Monster Loves You!, and bullet-hell FPS Drunken Robot Pornography.
Popcannibal's awards include an IndieCade E3 Selection, IGF Honorable Mention 2014, Official Selection Gamercamp Toronto 2013, Unity Awards Finalist 2013, Official Selection PAX East Indie Showcase 2011, and "Most Meaningful Game" at the International Academic Conference on Meaningful Play 2008. Popcannibal's "Girls Like Robots," published by Adult Swim, was the 13th best reviewed iOS game of 2012. Popcannibal's contract development portfolio includes advergames for film, beverage, social and technology companies.
Risks and challenges
Nobody's created a writing game quite like Elegy before. How do we engage with people to get them to write? Does the art convey enough to give writers something to run with? Is it even the kind of game people will want to play? In the 15 years during which we've been in business, we've had projects take much longer than expected, and have had to cancel others outright.
But it's not all bleak!
Collectively, Dejobaan and Popcannibal have released over twenty five titles. Elegy, in particular, is tightly-focused on one thing (writing!). Now, after nearly a year in development, Elegy is almost finished.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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