Interactive graphic novel infused with experimental music about the anxieties of growing up in the digital age. Coming to PC and Mac. Read more
This project was successfully funded on February 21, 2014.
About this project
Check out all our campaign updates here.
Troubadour is a story about accepting the responsibilities and expectations of life in a world of toxic distractions. You'll guide Lu as her perception of the world is wrapped in a glitch-filled aesthetic, permeated with digital toys, and moves to a striking soundtrack.
The experience, at a high level, is critical of how our society no longer moderates our relationship with technology and the consequences we face because of that.
We're trying to ride that fine line between revealing enough to prove why this endeavor is worth supporting while keeping the real surprises under wraps.
Yes. No. Maybe. We've been calling it an interactive graphic novel, but it is presented in what would be traditionally considered a video game format. We're building what we feel is a good balance between an interesting level of interactivity while also being accessible.
You directly control Lu through her world and memories as you would with any side-scroller, but there are scenes, necessary to the story, that come in the form of point-and-click and other interactive styles.
The target length of the experience is just over 30 minutes, around the length of a single television episode. There will be extra scenes and easter eggs for those that deviate beyond the linear path. While the story and tone will remain consistent throughout, Lu and her surroundings will evolve.
“[Troubadour] has the look of a video game, and I played it with a controller, but it’s more an interactive ball of yarn – a player grabs the lone strand jutting out from the ball, holds onto it, then starts to unravel it all.” - David Hinkle, Joystiq
“Based on what we’ve seen, the project seems like something that would be a good fit at an art exhibition. Its interactivity, however mild, has the potential to forge a connection with the audience that could set it apart from traditional graphic novels. If you’re a fan of cerebral narratives and avant-garde experiences, you’ll want to keep an eye on this one.” - Stu Strock, VGW
"This strength in expression is already apparent in Troubadour’s early state as, aside from its intriguing narrative ambitions, it looks stunning with its blurred pixel aesthetics and use of retro Windows 95-esque dialogue boxes, whilst incorporating a very quirky, and therefore very fitting, soundtrack." - Joe Donnelly, BeefJack
Eric Doty - Eric has spent the last five years working in the games industry in project management roles with a focus on community and marketing. In 2012 he wrote and published a comic book with Luke McKay (also funded with Kickstarter). You can follow him on Twitter at @dmzilla.
Zak Alexander - Zak is a Visual Artist and Designer based out of Seattle. His interests span between Visual Communications and botany. Zak is an active fine artist with a passion for story telling. Troubadour will be Zak’s first game. His work can be seen at zakalexander.com.
Dallas "Deezign" Stoeckel - Dallas is that guy in the back of the church making noises with his eyes closed. He’s a photographer, musician, and friend living in LA. You can hear some examples of his work at SoundCloud.
The demo we've been showing continues to evolve and we have many other scenes already built out, but they need art and music. A successful Kickstarter will allow Zak and Dallas to focus more of their time creating content for Troubadour, which enables us to create a more polished experience in a shorter timeframe.
We have announced three Seattle artists who are creating original art for the Troubadour zine. Please check Update 1 for more info.
All digital rewards will be delivered using Humble Bundle.
The reward tiers are fairly straightfoward. The physical rewards will be a quality we'd be proud to sell independently and we'll have fun with adding some small surprises to those, just as we're doing to with the game.
All money raised through Kickstarter goes directly into the development and support of Troubadour. Extra funds beyond our initial goal will go towards more audio licensing, voiceover, and art that will supplement the core experience.
Risks and challenges
Creating any art and putting it in front of the public is hard. Asking for support and trying your best to meet expectations is even harder.
We wouldn't be running this campaign if we weren't confident in our abilities to create something unique. We've completed our planning phases and built out a playable demo that we've showed to press and enthusiasts at PAX Prime to promising reactions. Zilla has run and delivered a Kickstarter project in the past, so we're aware of the many speedbumps that projects can run into regarding reward fulfillment and budget management.
We've put a lot into this project already as well as trying our best to be flexible and roll with unexpected obstacles. We feel confident in our planning and expect to ship before the end of 2014. Backers will be kept up to date during production.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The Kickstarter funds will be used to make the PC/Mac version the best it can be, then we'll investigate where Troubadour can go next.
Pledge $5 or more
***HOOK LEVEL*** - You'll be able to keep up to date on progress through backer updates. ALL BACKERS WILL RECEIVE DIGITAL WALLPAPERS AND BE LISTED IN CREDITS.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or more
***MIDI LEVEL*** - FULL DIGITAL COPY OF TROUBADOUR. DRM-free for PC or Mac.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $15 or more
***FORTE LEVEL*** - DIGITAL COPY OF TROUBADOUR + ORIGINAL GAME SOUNDTRACK (digital copy) by Dallas "Deezign" StoeckelEstimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or more
***REVIVAL LEVEL*** - DIGITAL COPY OF TROUBADOUR + ORIGINAL GAME SOUNDTRACK (digital copy) + PDF ZINE/ARTBOOK by Zak, Zilla, and guests.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or more
***QUARTET LEVEL*** - VINYL STICKER + DIGITAL COPY OF TROUBADOUR + ORIGINAL GAME SOUNDTRACK (digital copy) + PDF ZINE/ARTBOOKEstimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $50 or more
***REFRAIN LEVEL*** - T-SHIRT AND VINYL STICKER. + DIGITAL COPY OF TROUBADOUR + ORIGINAL GAME SOUNDTRACK (digital copy) + PDF ZINE/ARTBOOKEstimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
14 backers Limited (31 left of 45)
***BALLAD LEVEL*** - PHYSICAL COPY OF THE GAME ON DVD (includes soundtrack) + PHYSICAL ZINE + SIGNED PHOTO OF NOODLES THE CAT + T-SHIRT AND VINYL STICKER + DIGITAL COPIES OF GAME, SOUNDTRACK, AND ZINEEstimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $150 or more
9 backers Limited (21 left of 30)
***GIG LEVEL*** - SIGNED AND NUMBERED KICKSTARTER EXCLUSIVE SCREENPRINT + T-SHIRT AND VINYL STICKER + DIGITAL COPIES OF GAME, SOUNDTRACK, AND ZINE. US shipping only for this level
***Note: This is the only level with the print.Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
Pledge $300 or more
9 backers Limited (1 left of 10)
***ACOUSTIC LEVEL*** - A CHARACTER BASED ON YOU OR A PET + PHYSICAL COPY OF THE GAME ON DVD (includes soundtrack) + PHYSICAL ZINE + SIGNED PHOTO OF NOODLES THE CAT + T-SHIRT AND VINYL STICKER. + DIGITAL COPIES OF GAME, SOUNDTRACK, AND ZINE. We will not be basing any characters on children due to the tone and content.Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $600 or more
2 backers All gone!
***CONDUCTOR LEVEL*** - YOUR OWN SOCIAL ANXIETY/FEAR USED FOR A SCENE (We'll work with you to put it into the game in a way that makes sense, whether that be directly in the main plot or an alt scene. The tone of Troubadour varies, but we will be avoiding violent triggers) + ASSOCIATE PRODUCER CREDIT + PHYSICAL COPY OF THE GAME ON DVD (includes soundtrack) + PHYSICAL ZINE + SIGNED PHOTO OF NOODLES THE CAT + T-SHIRT AND VINYL STICKER. + DIGITAL COPIES OF GAME, SOUNDTRACK, AND ZINEEstimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $1,000 or more
3 backers All gone!
***MAESTRO LEVEL*** - PRODUCER CREDIT + ALL DIGITAL AND PHYSICAL REWARDS AND EXTRAS (Game, Soundtrack, Zines, Shirts, Stickers, Poster, etc) + ONE OF A KIND SKETCH + LUNCH WITH ZAK AND ERIC IN SEATTLE (travel/lodging not included)Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
- (30 days)