Laika Believes: The Sun at Night (Canceled)
Immersive 2D action platformer for PC/Mac/Linux (console later) depicting an alternate history of Laika, the Soviet space dog.
For those who might not know the history, 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 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 influences as well. What makes Laika 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
- 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
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 from action to action.
“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!
"Yup, totally sold on this idea" Earnest Cavalli, The Escapist
We are asking for $100,000 - which is a lot of money - but all of it will go directly to finalizing the art and sound assets and making Laika Believes as perfect as we can. This money will also help us launch on multiple platforms, including PC/Windows, Xbox 360, Mac, and Linux.
- Roughly $50,000 of the raise will go directly to art production. This includes animation, background art, etc. The detailed, hand drawn art style of Laika Believes is time intensive but worth every second. This is what allows us to create an organic, fully realized world.
- Roughly $25,000 will go to finalizing sound assets and implementation. We want the sound to be another layer of the world and ensuring this is done organically and beautifully will take some teamwork between our engineers and the great guys at Gl33k.
- The remaining $25,000 will go to ensuring our engineering team has the time to take our codebase and add the necessary goodness to port over to Mac & Linux. (At the time of launch, we are 100% compatible with PC & Xbox 360 only)
We need your help to finish the art and sound assets of Laika Believes and to bring the game to as many platforms as possible at launch. We want to share this beautiful game with 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.
Risks and challenges
Although the money from Kickstarter will help us better coordinate a simultaneous launch on multiple platforms, there is no guarantee that a small team like ours won’t run into issues. We will do our absolute best to launch as promised.
If there is a widespread issue in beta, there is a chance that the release date will be pushed back.
Laika Believes is planned as a three part series. There is always a chance that the second or third part of the series will not release on time or at all. However, a successful launch of the first installment will go a long way to mitigating these risks.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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