About this project
Shrug Island is a hand-drawn tale, a game of nature puzzles and musical adventure for desktops (PC/Mac and Linux) and tablets (iOS/Android).
In this game, you play as 2 separated friends and trying to meet as they reconnect with a living home they've been away from for a season. You switch between the two, use their different abilities to solve nature-based puzzles, sing to their surroundings, dialogue and collect parts of the world, as you explore and bring together animated pieces of an unusual story.
Based on the existing world from an awarded short film, and the research of 2 previous mini-games, Shrug Island is a large point + click adventure in current stage of alpha prototype.With Kickstarter support, we'll deliver the 1st of 4 chapters, average playtime of 60-90min. each.
Its a concept built up for years, inspired by nature walks and dance, animation and games, engaged audiences, and a supportive network. We call on you now to help us finish it. Find some process via the development blog. Or, play the research below:
The Shrug world changes with the seasons. It's an Island that speaks to its people with music, and is once a year covered by the tides. Its the home of the Shrugs, beings deeply connected to nature and shape shifting with it. In this game, you reveal parts of a story as you awaken and maintain life on an unusual 2D world, through several of its kids.
The Shrugs have just returned after migrating season. Sea level has gone down, everyone has landed and lost their feathers, the family is now putting their home back together again.
The kids can't wait to catch up, and go back to their special haunts and pranks around the Island and its village. All is full of life, until, things start missing...
In Chapter 1, Li and Shri, are the first 2 little Shrugs you switch back and forth to play with.They've come home separately, and are struggling to find each other.
The Island is the third core character of the game, with its personality and voice. It has been asleep for awhile and the kids will determine what mood it wakes up in. Learning its musical language is key to the making the two friends meet, and realizing there is not only warm fantasy but powerful trouble ahead, on a road of friendship.
Visual focus on the actual puzzles and character paths will be made stronger, while we aim to keep a polish of the game that feels like an hand-painted animation film you weave together AND jam with as you go!
Each Shrug's personality defines his individual contact with the environment, which is translated into unique game mechanics. Shri transforms and moves his surroundings.
Li uncovers things, and chats at them in great lengths. Choose and combine their special abilities as you learn to communicate with the mysteries around you, and unleash the magic of the Island.
There are many intricate puzzle atmospheres, great storytelling adventures, and point+click games out there. Simon the Sorcerer, the Dig, and more recently Botanicula, Osmos,Sword and Sworcery and of course, Knytt Underground. But there is also resonating music, evocative dance, sculpture, and powerful voices in the world of nature, in and around us. In the mountains of Norway and the redwoods of the West Coast...
All of these things inspire the game Shrug Island will be. We hope to create an experience that roots the player, characters and world interactions, on a deep yet personal level. A game, that gives a set strange and warm personalities to the meaningful subject of our connections to our surroundings. A game to invite you to choose your way forth into the unknown, humming, with a sense of wonder.
The sound of the game is Shrug Island's voice, a language the player will be called to learn. We make it a point to record most of our sounds in nature, or using natural objects, instruments, and their harmonies. It is essential to the feel of the game that this sound is also DYNAMIC, so players actions will trigger different harmonies of the soundtrack!
What to look forward to:
Shrug Island is the long story of a group of friends finding their places in an unpredictable family, and the seasonal reawakening of powerful dream. It is also a polished puzzle athmosphere. For best player experience as well as production, we have split it in 4 parts.
From the second chapter, you'll have an older Shrug kid to play and switch to; Ney, a charismatic and moody youth that channels light. There'll be many Shrug village locations to discover, odd relatives to catch up with, and more natural wonders to unwrap, and eventually the story will take you on a dramatic twist. If we're lucky, we may get so far as to map these things out for you! That will depend on you:)
During these 30 days we'll launch a few real world and online events, in which you can receive exclusives ! Check back for our updates!
Shrug Island is based on the world from my student film made between France and Norway. "Shrug" was awarded in Annecy in 2009 and made it to children film festivals around the world. Life happened for a while, then in 2011 I was invited into the amazing artist residency of the Open Workshop, in Viborg, Denmark. There research started on new interactive Shrug projects, as light storytelling towards positive activism.
In 2012, I met Igor who invited the project to be a part of his recently-founded company, Amazu Media, and Shrug games started. Several things came out of the process before the existing Shrug Island prototype, some of which you can check on the highest links.
One reason this didn't stop with a film ? The whole project kept receiving very personal responses, from all ages and places. This supported my reason to make art in the first place; to create fantasy as bridge between your imagination, mine, and something larger than us both. I wanted to create a Shrug experience the audience was more a part of, and Kickstarter allows us to do just that.
It has come a long way, and we are determined to keep going. But, if we don't reach our goal, the Shrug adventures stop here. Most of this has rested on Alina's shoulders for the past 3 years, bringing Shrugs back to you from animation to game design. She cannot continue without a steady team.
We have put in so much work, to get the Shrugs from a short film to a prototype of the harmonizing puzzle adventure you will embark on and change. It's functional, but it does not sing. It's very raw...and the voice of the Island is missing. Come on the journey and help us make the Shrug game YOU want to play!
We believe in this world! We've established good connections with public funding, investors and publishers who've shown strong interest in bringing the entire game to completion, IF we can deliver the first chapter. Its the bare minimum of what we plan to do, be a part of taking us there!
Your support goes to paying a coder and game developer to stay on the team full time creating puzzles with the director, a sound designer to ensure the game resonates to your actions, and 2 extra artists to get the visuals as smooth as possible. And though she's very fond of them, we're not sure how long Alina can live on apples...
Other important collaborators have been:
Johannes Garm Nielsen - previous Lead Programmer. Rasmus Lundgård for music to the Kickstarter video and Soren Hammerlund for his folk instrumentations. Jody Ghani and Andreas Husballe for inspiring Shrug art, Diana Lipcanu's communication skills, the MSP students boosting the Kickstarter video. And a most special thank you to Fri and Fro Ecovillage who opened their hearts and clay homes and allowed Alina to live the Shrug life for a while.
In this month, we take you on large tour behind the scenes of Shrug Island; into the game's development, its characters, and many of the environments and people who've made it what it is today.
Follow our updates, back the project, or just come along for the ride!
Risks and challenges
This concept has gone through a lot of experimentation through years; countries, versions and teams, as well as across medias. We have tried different approaches and explored different potentials about the Shrug world, through successes and failures. Its given the experience to develop clarity, focus and vocabulary needed to shape Shrug Island game into a deep experience it was always envisioned it to be.
We are currently re-rooting the structure of the team as it will be for the long haul, and of course, that will demand some adjustments.
We have planned for that.
We will restructure and optimise the pipeline, reusing code and assets where it is beneficial to the final result, and finding efficent compromises and solutions for the new designs and structures. We have some exciting character and story puzzles up ahead and will enjoy tackling them and sharing it with you!
We are passionate about this, so we look forward to confirm our new partnerships with as dedicated people, whose kinship with the games logic will allow them to do what they love best, and together craft a great experience for you to play,
Though it is a world that came from Alina's head years ago, she has long worked at keeping it a space others had a voice in creating, and some of the best Shrug things came out of that.
We are ready to take on this challenge, and hope you will come along!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes, backers will receive a DRM-free version.
Yes, the game will also be supported on Linux.
If the budget of the entire game is well over 3 times that amount, we felt it unrealistic to attempt it without more of an existing following. We have vision and ambition but also enough maturity to aim within reach, We have stretch goals planned but want to respect timing and our backers, and focus on discussing one goal at a time.
Also, if the 1st chapter ends with an opening into a story of larger scope, it can still be experienced as a game on its own.
Of course not. We have 4 chapters for several reasons.Game and player need to grow together to reach the complexity of experience and choices we want to deliver.The last moments in the game are also its first inspirations...a powerful moment we can't do without.
This project has a background in determination against many odds. Alina knows where she wants it to go. Shrug Island will get there, one way or another. But we would rather get there smiling with you in the year ahead, than in 5-10 years with a worn out idea in a form limited by outside demands. We may have interested a few publishers, among others. We need a Chapter 1 to activate them.
Support this project
- (30 days)