20 years ago we saw Pond complete his final mission and for many of us we've been waiting for the next installment to come along. Well wait no longer since your favourite Underwater F.I.5.H Agent, Bubble 07, with his Licence to Gill is about to get the Kickstarter re-boot we've all been waiting for!
We love Pond! We were there for his last adventure back in 1993 and have long been waiting for his return. We've wished for a new game that combines the characters and gameplay we loved all those years ago with: - Modern devices - Updated graphics and sound - The original designer - Even more of that punny/British Pond humour!
So we're starting from scratch and we need your help!
The High Concept:
After the dramatic events of James Pond 2: Codename Robocod, Santa moved his toy production to a brand new, high security facility. His original factory stood abandoned, gradually falling into darkness and decay. Twenty years later the stories began. ...Stories of strange sounds coming from the derelict facility at night. ...Stories of missing toys. ...Stories of missing penguins. ...Stories that pretty soon reached the ever alert ears of crack underwater intelligence agency FI5H...
Special Agent James Pond is one week away from retirement. His legendary missions have taken him to the moon and back, have seen him mature from fresh faced guppy into grizzled super-agent. Now he is called upon for one last job: to return to the Arctic, back to the site of his most high profile case. His mission: learn the secrets of the shadowy factory and recover the missing penguins. This is -
James Pond: Terror Fin
Equipped with a full arsenal of tactical toys: the latest revision robo-suit, rail-boots, and bubble gun, Pond will explore the crumbling toy facility. He will find himself trapped in the domain of the Lost Toys. One by one he will face these crazed, broken play things and the bloodthirsty creatures pulling their strings. He will uncover a dastardly plot like nothing he has seen before, and at the heart of it all a familiar yet altogether changed foe from his own past.
More details on the game's design can be found here.
Our £100,000 initial funding goal is pretty modest given our ambition for the game, but it's designed that way to try and make sure a Pond game does get made. Beyond that we have a series of stretch goals from additional game features to localisation and platforms that as a backer you'll get to vote on.
Our plan for the initial funding goal is to develop initially for release onto PC and Mac and distribute the game to backers via a DRM free download link. Of course we also have plans to get onto Steam and will be offering all the other cool stuff (beta access, achievements and badges) that comes with that!
Things that made Pond great that we want to retain: - Non Linear gameplay - Platformer - Vehicles - Boss fights! - The Outfits - Useable pick up items (the umbrella!) - Gadgets! The Radar Gun - Classic arcade features, like invincibility pickup, high scores, score counter... - Sidekicks - Easter eggs! - Hidden areas - Bonus Levels - That all to famous tongue in cheek humour!
What we would like to add: - Physics engine - Underwater sections (interlaced with Land based gameplay) - Popular game themes (Zombies, Vampires, Warewolves for instance. Pond's all about the parody and reference) - More use of vehicles in multiple settings. - The best bits of all Pond games, think of it as a Pond greatest hits. - Increased used of outfit unique abilities (RoboSuit grapple ability, Rail Boots etc..) - New Graphical style - Multiple solutions to levels, using pickups, gadgets etc. - Cameos from famous Pond characters, new characters. (Dr. Maybe is back!) - Famous pond locations, underwater, north pole, moon etc.
No Modern Nonsense!
We want to bring back Pond for the things you loved about it, and that includes retro gaming features. We're talking about Boss levels (that are tricky to beat!) high scores, easter eggs, cheat codes and above all a focus on playability. We're not interested in prying more money from your pockets with DLC bolt ons, trying to support a freemium model by pushing IAPs, or constantly spamming your Facebook wall so we can get all your mates involved (although if you could do that, that would be awesome!) This is one of the nice things about Kickstarter, you make your pledge and we get to make a game (something we love) so we can deliver it to you (something you want!)
We all know that Penguin (One of the chocolatiest biscuits in the world, apparently…) featured in the original game, which although at the time was some big corporate product placement, the designers slightly irreverent attitude and their sheer awesomeness have made them part of the game's charm. So we want them back! We're currently trying to get into talks with McVitie's to see their return, but if you have another product that you'd like 'placed' (And wouldn't mind the Pond treatment) then get in contact. After all we are looking for funding!
- Acquired the full historic rights to James Pond! - Convinced Chris Sorrell, the original designer to be involved. - Tracked down the original team and interviewed them ruthlessly! - Generated some initial funding. - Setting of our next funding goal and deciding what we want to achieve!
It is sad to tell that Richard Joseph is no longer with us otherwise we'd ask him to be involved at the drop of a hat! That doesn't mean his iconic work over the 3 games can't feature in the new one though. We also have all the rights to James Pond music so Richard's legacy (and infuriatingly catchy pieces!) can live on in the new Pond. Let's not forget the sounds either! James Pond had some pretty iconic sound design that interestingly varied from machine to machine. We'll be reviving some of the more iconic pieces and making sure they end up in the new game. We're working closely with PJ Belcher Pro Audio to make sure the audio in game is top notch. Whether it be new sounds and music, re-imagining of the old stuff, or faithful mastering of the retro pieces and SFX we'll make sure the audio is brought right up to date!
Meet the Team!
Chris Sorrell - Chris came up with the idea for a game with a cartoon fish called Guppy back when he was just 18! Attracting the attention of Millennium Interactive they turned it into James Pond and the rest is history. Chris was responsible for the majority of the programming, design, art and even some sound on all Pond titles! He's as integral to Pond as a gill is to a fish so we're very pleased to have him on board! Although Chris has basic involvement with the project, participating in the campaign and producing a high end concept document for the game itself, his full involvement in the actual development is a stretch goal of ours (we asked him to work 'for the love of it' but something about bills and mouths to feed…) See our stretch goals below.
Ian Saunter - Ian was the Development Director at Millennium back in the day and we've been chatting with him about Pond for a while now! He now runs another company called Optricks Media (check them out!) who do some cool Augmented Reality stuff and AppToy design.
Michael Hayward - Now running his own company in alternative health medicine, Michael was the Managing Director at Millennium, who aside from being responsible for all the promotional, marketing and merchandising of Pond also came up with the name James Pond which would then carve out the very future of the franchise. We're currently talking about getting him onboard with the new project for some pretty cool stuff!
Jeremy Cooke - The man behind Gameware. After buying the full rights to Pond back in 2003 Jeremy hasn't really done much with Pond until now. Why now I hear you ask? Because the timing is just right! Crowd funding and digital distribution has opened up a whole world of opportunities for the independent developer and what better time to bring back Pond than on the 20th anniversary of his last mission!
PJ Belcher - The project manager and producer. PJ is the new guy on the scene and largely responsible for running this campaign. He'll be closely overseeing the development of the new game as a producer and be directing the audio. He's also the silly voice you hear in the Kickstarter video, go mock him on Twitter @pjbelcher.
Art Team, Assemble! - None of the lovely art you see on this page, Twitter and Facebook would have been possible without the awesome talents of Woody over at Utopian World of Sandwiches (The guys behind Chompy Chomp Chomp!) and Tom from 2D forever. Go check them out and show them some love. But don't hire them because they're really good and we want them for ourselves….
By using Kickstarter it allows us to involve supporters and the fans on a level we could never have dreamt of before. By backing the project you'll get a vote in all our key design and development decisions, making sure we make a game with the fans and not just for them! After approaching a number of publishers to become involved in making a new Pond game we found none were willing to part with sufficient money to make a new game unless they also owned the IP. . We think they've missed a great opportunity and so we have turned to the fans to make this project happen! It also means we can gauge how many people want to see a new Pond game before just going ahead and making one!|
The money you pledge isn't going on fast cars, vacations or any flash swag, it's all going towards the design and development for a new Pond game to be delivered across new platforms - the Designers, Programmers, Artists, Audio, tech licensing, general project management and delivery costs.
The more we raise the bigger the game!
Well firstly there are the reward tiers! They are all cumulative so the more you pledge the more you get and the closer we come to crafting and delivering that Pond game! The tiers offer a whole host of kickstarter exclusive goodies from Pond merchandise only available to backers, to digital offerings and in game content. We are also offering a never before seen level of backer involvement. As a backer you will gain access to a backers only exclusive closed Facebook group, where you'll get to decide which goals we stretch to and where we'll be asking the community for input on everything from design considerations (2D or 3D?) to the name of the game itself! We'll also take input and suggestions from the community. Think you've got a good fishy pun? Well let's hear it! You'll also see your name in the credits (see tiers for available levels) have exclusive content to show you were a backer (special builds, badges, share content, avatars! etc) and loads of goodies! So stake your place in gaming history and back Pond!
We're doing stretch goals a little differently, Flex goals! Below is a list of all the things we would like to do beyond the initial funding goal of £100K each with their estimated cost. To make sure the game is made the exact way you want it to be these flex goals will be put to a vote for all backers. Pledge more to help us reach these goals and then vote for the ones you want to see!
Platforms: Beyond our initial goal it's going to take some additional funding to get the game onto certain platforms. Aside from the time and administration cost involved there's also unique design considerations for each platform, like 2nd and touch screens. Vote for the platforms you want to see and dig that little deeper to see your favorite one (or 2!) sporting Pond!
Wii U - £40k 3DS - We would love to include this, but at this time without significant further research we can't guarantee it. If there is enough funding though this will be a top priority! iOS & Android - £25k Ouya - £15k Linux - £15k PS4 (Online) - £40k PS3 (PSN) - £30k PS Vita - £40k Xbox (XBLA) - £30k
Features: Get Chris Sorrell on board! - £30k Get the mind of the man behind the fish FULLY involved in the project. Although he's currently working with the game on a basic level to have him as a Creative Lead from initial concept to delivery needs payment. Something about having to eat or something... Co-operative Play! - £25k So many platformers have employed this with great sucess and it's time Pond got the co-op treatment. In the room multiplayer is a fundamental of retro gaming. Vote for this tier and your snide comments to your friend sitting beside you can really hit home! Live chat just doesn't have that impact *sigh* Extended Campaign - £20k With this additional funding we'll be able to make the game's campaign even longer incorporating more platforms, puzzles, storyline and fun than you can shake a fish finger at! We're talking Robocod long! Playable and Legacy Sidekicks! - £25k Finnius! Getting multiple playable characters with unique abilities to work well takes a lot of effort. This funding boost will see that happen. Not only will Finnius return (We've coaxed him out of retirement, but he's demanding cash!) but we'll also introduce some new characters, ooooh. Extra and Legacy Gadgets - £20k Spring boots, the umbrella, bubble guns and cake cannons! We'll incorporate all your favourite gadgets from Quill branch and a few new ones into the gameplay on top of the ones we already have planned. Extra and Legacy Vehicles - £20k Pond's Car, Plane and even a bathtub! With this funding we can make sure these classic vehicles make a re-appearance with some new things along the way! This is on top of the ones we already want to incorporate like the Golden Bathtub! Extra and Legacy Bosses - £20k Giant Evil Teddy Bear, Giant Evil car, Giant Evil Ballri.... Hang on, I'm seeing a theme here. Well if it was giant and evil expect to see it again! Along with some new oversized, morally compromised baddies on top of the ones we have planned. Extra and Legacy Locations - £20k The shore of 3 Mile Island, the North Pole and the Moon! Legendary locations for Pond's famous missions. With this funding we'll make sure they see their way back into the new game along with even more locations than we have planned! Multiple Level Solutions - £25k A gaming feature we feel would suit the new Pond game very well! Think ahead, keep your wits about you and use those FI5H smarts to figure out how YOU'D like to complete the mission. Then go back and do it the other ways! Procedural Level Generation - £30k Pond has always been an innovator and we've seen a few other platformers put this to good use. Well how about Pond jumps on that band wagon? Real time level creation means a unique experience for each player, but doing it right will take time. This extra money can make that happen!
To say thank you to all you lovely people for your support we're offering a whole load of goodies (as well as the game of course!) Just check out the tiers on the right side of the screen to what you can get.
We've got some pretty cool stuff - from 'Pond-Backer' T-shirts so you can let the world know you played your part in this project, to a personalised Licence to Gill ID Card!
We feel it's important though to point out that our main priority is to make a game. So if you'd like the maximum amount of your hard earned money to go towards development then check out the 'No Physical Stuff' tier.
For those of you that do want some cool merchandise but also want the most of your money to go toward game development we are setting up a store where you can chose the items you want and buy them at a discounted price exclusive to project backers!
Risks and challenges
The game world moves (and develops) very quickly and new platforms are constantly emerging and so although we've made the utmost effort to put as much information as possible together before launching this campaign it's worth mentioning that some things may change.
Whether it's adding more platforms, changing available merchandise or our proposed costs of the stretch goals we will do our utmost to make sure the Backer's interests are first and foremost protected and that in all cases we will endeavour to make sure that any and all changes are for equal or greater value than those currently in place.
There are many platforms that we would like to get the new Pond onto but beyond time and money there are often additional obstacles that are simply out of our control. In all cases we will do everything in our power to make sure what we promise does happen. Given Gameware's good standing in the industry and the high profile of this campaign there really shouldn't be any issues – and in any event we will keep you informed at all times.
The Game (Early bird) - Goldfish Finger. THE GAME + HD WALLPAPER + ACCESS TO BACKERS GROUP.
Get the game at an early bird price. Only 1000 of these so get in quick! We'll send you a heartfelt download link for the game on completion (PC & Mac, Steam if we get on there).
You'll also gain access to the backer's closed group on Facebook where you can vote on the Flex goals.
We'll even send you a Pond HD wallpaper to dress up your desktop.
The Game Extra - Leak and Let Dive. THE GAME + DIGITAL SOUNDTRACK + EVERYTHING ABOVE. For the more musical of you, along with your game we'll send you a download for the Pond soundtrack. Retro and new tracks alike.
Dress for the Occasion - Underwater Agent. THE GAME + EXCLUSIVE SUAVE POND OUTFIT AND ABILITY + EVERYTHING ABOVE.
You'll get an exclusive Kickstarter only Suave Underwater Agent Pond outfit. Plus you'll start the game with the Homing Bubble Gun unlockable!
Super Expert - Robocod. THE GAME + SUPER EXPERT MODE + EXCLUSIVE ROBOSUIT AND ABILITY + SUAVE POND OUTFIT AND ABILTY + EVERYTHING ABOVE. Think you can play platformers? Well test your skill with super expert mode, this'll be unlocked from game start at this tier. You'll also get a Kickstarter exclusive Robosuit. Plus you'll start the game with the Robosuit super defense unlockable. You're going to need it!
Fully Equipped - Splash Gordon! THE GAME + ALL THE OUTFITS AND ABILITIES inc SPACE SUIT POND WITH RAIL BOOTS + EVERYTHING ABOVE.
At this level you'll get both Kickstarter outfits for Pond and abilities at game start, plus the 3rd one, a Kickstarter exclusive Space Suit Pond outfit, with rail boots special ability, slam into your enemies!
Beta Access - Operation Starfish. THE GAME + BACKER'S T-SHIRT + EXCLUSIVE BETA ACCESS inc UNIQUE BADGES, EMBLEMS & AVATARS + NAME IN THE GAME CREDITS + EVERYTHING ABOVE.
You'll get exclusive kickstarter access to early Beta and Alpha builds of the game. We'll also take your feedback and keep you in the development loop. We'll also send you an exclusive backer's t-shirt so you can show the world you helped make it safe another day!
NO PHYSICAL SWAG. Want maximum money to go into the development of the game? Well help us out by pledging at this tier, we'll only send you the digital items saving us in manufacture and YOU in shipping costs so more of your money can go into making the game! You'll still get the game and all above digital items.
Remember there are plans to offer all physical items at a special rate to backers outside of Kickstarter if you'd still like them.
Collector's Edition - Manta Ray with the Golden Gun. BOXED VERSION OF THE GAME + SPECIAL THANKS GAME CREDIT + POND MUG + THE GOLDEN BATHTUB + EVERYTHING ABOVE. Collector's items exclusive to Kickstarter. We'll send you a boxed version of the game (remember those?) & a digital version. You'll also get a special thanks credit for being so awesome. Go to any game studio in Cambridge and it'll have branded Mugs! Here's your chance to have one. But the biggest thing is the Golden Bathtub! Summon it at any time and travel to parts of map otherwise inaccessible, and all in a genuine golden colour, phwoar!
The Completionist - Octoguppy. UP FRONT GAME CHEAT CODES + LEVEL OVERVIEW MAP + EXTRA T-SHIRT + JAMES POND RINGTONES + EVERYTHING ABOVE.
This is retro gaming, we're not going to just release the cheat codes to the public! But want the inside scoop? Well then this is the tier for you, keep them secret like a loyal F.I.5.H agent, or go rogue and post them on the internets.... You'll also get a 2nd t-shirt, a map of the levels and James Pond ringtones of all the retro music!
F.I.5.H Agent Pack - Licence to Gill. PERSONALISED LICENCE TO GILL + POND CARD CASE + ART PRINT + HIDDEN AREA RADAR GUN + CUSTOM GAME COMPLETE SEQUENCE + EVERYTHING ABOVE. Ever wanted to be a real life FI5H agent? Well this is the closest you'll likely get (it's really hard to get in!) You'll get a personalised Licence to Gill card with your very own face on it! (just try not to gill too many people, ok?) A Pond card case to keep it safe and an art print. To help you be an agent in game you'll also start the game with the Radar Gun unlocked, be the first to discover those many hidden areas we'll be putting in! Then to really make you feel like a Secret Agent you'll be privy to a classified end of game sequence just for this tier and above!
Classified - For Your Eels Only. YOUR FACE IN THE GAME + EVERYTHING ABOVE. Much like how Chris immortalised his now wife's name in Pond by having her name on every love heart (no really, he did that, you're gunna go check now aren't you?) YOU can now have YOUR own face (or a loved one's!) in the game itself! We won't tell you where yet, but it's cool! Keep your eels peeled!
Launch Party - The (Goldfish) Bowl is not Enough. EXCLUSIVE AND LIMITED INVITE TO LAUNCH PARTY + EVERYTHING ABOVE. Come to the game's launch party and meet the development team. You may even be able to coerce us into signing some stuff! (You'll need to arrange and be able to travel to Cambridge UK)
Unique - Tomorrow Never Dives. CHOOSE A PICKUPABLE + EVERYTHING ABOVE (except unique). Robocod had over 90 random things that you could pickup and here's your chance to add to that list! Choose your item; whether it's something special, a pet or YOUR chance to be random and we'll put it in game (within reason!) We'll even give you a unique in game credit for you contribution!
Unique - Quantum of Salmon. NAME A LEVEL + EVERYTHING ABOVE (except unique). So think you're a dab hand a fishy puns eh? Well let's see what you got! You'll get to name a level in the game (must be a suitably Pond-esque pun) and we'll even give you a unique credit in game for you contribution!
Unique - Catfish Royale. YOUR TWITTER TAG IN GAME + EVERYTHING ABOVE (except unique). Like the many easter eggs and hidden areas that Pond has become famous for we'll make your Twitter tag one of them! Sit back while every player seeks out YOUR Twitter ID to 100% the game. We'll also give you a unique in game credit (which can be your @tag if you want!)
Unique - SkyShoal. DESIGN A BOSS + EVERYTHING ABOVE (except unique). You'll work with the developers to design your very own boss that'll end up in the final game. From how it looks, to game mechanics you'll get to choose, our only requirement is that it's large and malevolent... We'll even give you a unique in game credit for your role in development!
Unique - From the Reef with love. LOVED ONE'S NAME ON A HEART + EVERYTHING ABOVE (except unique). Immortalise a loved one's name (or your own if you're like that!) by having it appear on every love heart in game! In the ultimate gamer geek love gesture and homage to Chris' easter egg. We'll also give you an unique in game credit for your contribution!