In the late 1950’s, the Soviets were pressured into a quick follow-up to the success of Sputnik 1. As they scrambled to launch Sputnik 2, they included plans to launch the first organism into orbit as a way to up the ante on the Americans. They took stray dogs off the street and put them through rigorous tests and training. One of these strays was the dog we know now as Laika. She was selected to be the first dog in space and was launched aboard Sputnik 2 on November 3, 1957. Unfortunately, in their haste, the Soviets did not incorporate any method to return Laika to Earth. At the time, it was said she was humanely euthanized after several days in orbit. It was revealed decades later that she most likely died from heat exhaustion shortly after leaving the Earth's atmosphere.
We all have a sense of how dependent and trusting dogs are and it’s this aspect of their nature that makes the story of Laika so tragic. The more we read about the details of this story, the more we became obsessed with making it right. What if Laika didn’t die? What if she came back to Earth? How would she treat the people that seemingly betrayed her?
These questions developed into the alternate universe of the game. The tide of Soviet power rolling across the face of the Earth was strong, but not inexorable - until novel, strange energy sources were discovered. The impunity granted by these new engines of destruction lit a fire under the Russian war machine. So when Stalin rolled into Paris, the resulting flare-up of global conflict left little more than smoking ash heaps where America and Great Britain had been, and left the less developed countries of the world in the shadow of a newly unipolar, unabashedly imperial USSR. Now, Stalin is dead. Though resistance movements have emerged, the Soviets still stand supreme as rulers of the globe. Only a force from beyond the earth could possibly tip the balance. Abram Krupin, who leads one of many resistance cells alonsgide his wife, Amulya Diggavi, knows this. When he sees a dog fall from the stars, then, he takes it as an omen. This dog speaks, wears silver armor, and has an arsenal of mysterious weapons. Abram calls her Laika.
Laika believes that, despite all odds, she can protect the countless lives crushed by the Soviets.
Laika Believes is a 2D action platformer in the same vein as Cave Story and Iji with some Metroid and Deus Ex influences as well. What makes Laika Believes unique?
- Massive, nonlinear levels that model the layouts of real locations in a way not yet seen in other platformers
- Large, choice-rich skill trees that let players approach the game the way they want to
- A novel defensive mechanic that lets players turn the firepower of Laika's enemies against them
- Use combinations of offensive and defensive techniques in unique and exciting ways
- Smoothly flowing, fast-paced shooting action
- A story of struggle and hope, full of twists and revelations
- Rich, evocative art depicting a world dominated by a technologically ascendant Soviet empire
- Secrets and rewards hidden in every corner for the determined player
“The idea of the game is so cool, so ambitious and utterly bat-crap, that it could be amazing.” - Stephen Johnson, G4
Laika Believes has been in various stages of production for about 2 years now. We got this far through an initial fundraise with angel investors.
Laika Believes is planned to be a three-part release. The first episode, The Sun at Night (SAN), is nearing completion. During the course of development so far we have:
- Built an engine from scratch using XNA, MonoGame, and OpenGL
- Spent tons of time of pre-production with story writing, gameplay design, and art prototyping
- Constructed and designed all of the levels from The Sun at Night (SAN) and have the skeletons complete.
- Designed and implemented a unique 3D mapping system for our 2D world.
- Tested and refined aspects of gameplay mechanics
- Designed a soundtrack aesthetic that fits with the world we are building and begun composing music
- Developed a nanomachine system as both an important part of the world and of gameplay as a crafting system
- Designed and implemented a complex upgrade system to allow players to tailor their gameplay experience
- Created beautiful, hand drawn 2D art assets to populate the wire framed levels and breathe life to the world we are creating.
This first installment will be about 5 - 15 hours of gameplay depending on how you choose to play the game. Laika Believes: SAN will include a prologue and four large non-linear levels. The game is very narrative-driven and you can choose to explore this narrative in depth or to bypass parts of the game and move quickly, keeping the action high-octane.
“The characters are well-realized, the dialogue well-written and the concept gripping” - Jordan Mallory, Joystiq
Using Kickstarter for our final raise allows us to start a conversation with the future players of Laika Believes and get your feedback on what features you’d like to see in the final product.
One of the awards is Alpha Access and we want to use this as a true testing environment where we can get a great influx of feedback to help us tweak the final game and make it as great as we know it can be. Kickstarter is the perfect platform for this!
In our previous campaign, in which we asked for $100k before we found ample funding privately to cover most of our costs, we learned pretty early on that localization is going to be important for this game. Learning more about our diverse audience is an incredible byproduct of Kickstarter.
"Yup, totally sold on this idea" Earnest Cavalli, The Escapist
We are asking for $20,000 which will be split almost evenly between finalizing the sound design/effects and localization costs.
We were fortunate enough to raise significant funds through private investors, but we need your help to perfect the sound design and bring the game to as many people as we can!
“Soviet soldiers, robotic versions of man’s best friend, and in-depth character and exploration? What’s not to like?” - Christopher, 6aming.com
"Occasionally a game comes along which leaves you guessing and wanting more... Laika Believes promises to be such a game." -True Achievements
The fun part! We've pulled together some really awesome rewards as a thank you for supporting Laika Believes. We have a bunch of tiers for you to choose from and we are also offering a few items a la carte so you can customize your reward!
The below mock ups of the physical rewards are just that, mock ups. But they are a good representation of what you can expect in the final product! Most of the actual production for these rewards will happen once the raise is successful and we know how many of each to order. We'll keep you updated with final images for each reward as we get them. We promise they will all be awesome!
The whole point of launching a Kickstarter - besides financial support - is to start a conversation with our supporters and eventual players. We want to hear from you! Send us your questions, comments, concerns, idle musings! You can reach us through this Kickstarter campaign or through any of the options below.