Devil's Bluff - 9v1 Murder-Mystery w/ music by Jake Kaufman
Every player is a suspect in this retro-themed online murder-mystery adventure. Can you out-wit your opponents & survive the night?
Have you ever watched a Friday the 13th film and thought you could have avoided a moronic death? Have you ever played a game of Clue and wanted to solve the mystery in a real-life mansion? Have you ever watched an episode of Scooby Doo and wished that, just once, those meddling kids didn’t get in the bad guy’s way?
Devil’s Bluff is the game that will give you that chance!
An online-only isometric action game for up to 10 people for Windows, Mac, and Linux (and hopefully Tablets and Consoles), our goal is to put you inside a new type of survival horror game where every character you encounter is another player - and one of them is a killer.
An experience filled with cooperation and competition, you'll be asked to use your twitch-based reflexes, powers of deduction, and voice chat to find a way to outwit the killer (with or without the help of others) and make it out alive.
Devil's Bluff tells the tale of a group of friends who decide to rent out the world's most haunted Mansion to compete in a scavenger hunt tied to the lore of the old house itself. It's all going great, until someone decides to ruin the fun by promising to kill everyone at the party.
The only way to make it out alive? Work together to finish the scavenger hunt before Devil finishes you.
And how will it all play out? Minute-to-minute gameplay will involve a few core concepts we'd like to familiarize you with. Here's your cheat sheet:
Playing as the Survivors:
Most of you poor schleps will be stuck playing one of the remaining Survivors. You'll have to hope for a little teamwork and smart thinking, or your night may end with the rest of these saps getting you killed. The game will feature a wide variety of costumes, but each player will have the exact same skills and attributes, keeping the playing field level, simple, and fast-paced.
The Scavenger Hunt
Players will be paired in teams of two to compete in the scavenger hunt, where they’ll be asked to track down 10 items, each identified by unique clues. To keep every game fresh, elements of the scavenger hunt will be randomized each play-through:
- Item Location: The items themselves will have dozens of potential hiding places, including out in the open, inside hidden compartments, deep inside secret passageways, and lost locations inside the Mansions giant hedge maze.
- Item Order: Teams will chase the same items one-by-one, but will be given them in a different order. This not only encourages teams to split up, but also gives added incentive to see other fail, as they may have tracked down clues you’ve yet to uncover, allowing you to loot your way into the lead.
Exploring the Mansion
The Mansion itself is full of secrets, many of which require a teammate to fully exploit. Their triggers and locations will move each game, keeping the sense of exploration alive with each new game. Once they have been found, these secrets will become highlighted in the game world and your in-game map, allowing easy access for players who take the time to fully explore the world.
- Secret Passageways: Like a mini Pac-man maze, the Mansion is packed with a network of hidden tunnels that serve as shortcuts to other areas, but the switches used to open doors will always be far enough away that a fellow player will have to let you in. This means players who are being chased will have to act quickly to help each other avoid an untimely demise, and players who aren’t exactly thrilled with their teammates will have opportunities to ditch their buddies.
- Peep Holes: Passageways will also be peppered with peep holes, which can be used to spy on other players. If you can see other players, you’ll also be able to hear them, which means you might catch Devil in the act, see your partner conspiring with another group, or hear key info from other teams about who they think is the killer.
- Trap Doors: Since the switches to these doors are randomized, we thought it would be fun to have them serve a duel purpose: opening trap doors that separate players!These might accidently split you up from a teammate, or be used to get rid of unwanted hangers-on. You can even use them to ditch Devil!
- Sliding Staircases: Another element triggered by switches will be sliding staircases, which will case players to fall to the bottom and end up stunned. This will allow players who time it right to slow down Devil and opposing teams at critical moments.
- Deathtraps: Another critical element of the Mansion are “deathtraps.” Things like broken railways on balconies and staircases, trap doors that lead to pits of spikes, switches that cause poison arrows to shoot out of holes in the wall…you know, the sort of stuff you can use to send Devil (or other Survivors) to an early grave. They will require perfect positioning and solid timing, but will come in very handy if you can pull it off.
- Hiding Places: But maybe you’re a love, not a fighter. Or a coward. Whatever. The Mansion will have plenty of dark corners, hidden cubby holes, and more to allow you to give Devil the slip. Provided he’s not already there waiting, of course.
Real Talk with Real People
Unlike most games that feature audio chat, Devil’s Bluff features proximity-based audio, which means the closer you are to another player the louder they become.
You can use this to your advantage in situations like:
- Listen closely to hear others moving about in the Mansion.
- Talk with your partner to share intel.
- Eavesdrop and listen in on other team’s
- Tip off other players when you’ve seen the killer in action.
Only Devil can deal melee damage, but you'll be able to whap your fellow survivors for fun or strategic purposes.
Here's some more details:
- Players can be slapped in any direction, and will bounce off solid surfaces, giving you the ability to “pinball” them around.
- This can be used to knock player’s out of harm’s way, but can also be used to thrust your competition into trouble.
- Once they’ve been slapped, they’ll be briefly stunned. This will disable their audio and movement capabilities for a brief period, letting you get a word in edgewise (or allowing Devil to move in for the kill).
Devil’s Bluff will feature a Mario Bros.-esque walk/run system with a unique sprinting mechanic. Unlike most games that allow you to sprint for a limited period of time, you’ll be able to sprint as long as you like, with one condition: The longer you hold down the run button, the more likely you are to trip in classic horror movie chase scene fashion. This will add a risk-reward element to movement while being pursued, for both the Survivors and Devil, so plan your escape route carefully!
Capture Devil For the Win
Provided everyone can work together, it is possible to capture Devil once enough info has been gathered on his or her identity. Here’s the basics of how it will work:
- Any player who has seen Devil’s true identity can attempt to initiate a capture in a button-mashing mini-game similar to an old-school NES Track ‘N Field tug of war.
- Devil is stronger than the survivors, so they’ll have to gang up on him to pull it off.
- If you collectively strong-arm Devil into submission and you’re guess is right, you all live to see another day!
- However, if players decide not to help, or they get over-powered by Devil, they will take significant damage, which could easily lead to a massive shift in the fight for survival.
Playing as Devil
Each game session, one lucky player gets to play as our mild-mannered maniac, Devil, where they'll get to see how good their killer instincts really are.
Devil has been planning this murderous romp for some time, leading to some key gameplay advantages vs. the standard Survivor toolkit:
- Hidden Identity: Devil will start the game in costume just like the other Survivors, but he or she will be able to rapidly switch between that costume and the alternate Devil outfit, allowing for surprise kills, subterfuge, and more.
- The Evil Eye: Devil has extensive knowledge of all the traps and tricks the Mansion has to offer. Just like players who have discovered a hidden element, Devil will be able to automatically see every unseen aspect of the Mansion without having to discover it first.
- Skeleton Key: Devil works alone, so in addition to The Evil Eye, they will also have access to a skeleton key, which will allow him or her to open hidden passageways without the aid of others.
- The Pitchfork: Last but not least, Devil wields the best (and only) weapon in the Mansion, the mighty-mighty pitchfork. It takes a while to lower the boom, so you’ll have to plan your strikes carefully, but when you land them, look out!
After promising to send him an impossibly adorable Puggle picture at least once a day, we finally convinced Jake “Virt” Kaufman to help us score an eerily orchestral soundtrack that blends classic chiptune chirps with a Sega CD level of audio juiciness.
The soundtrack will be available via Bandcamp as a name your price purchase once we ship, and if you select the right tier, you’ll be able to get your mitts on the music before anyone else.
Pump up your woefully insufficient laptop speakers and jam out to his first taste of audio awesomesauce here:
After slaving away for “The Man” on aggressively mediocre licensed games and an endless line of soul-sucking sequels, we finally decided to fight the good fight and bring some original IP to the world. With veteran developers who’ve shipped games for the likes of EA, Ubisoft, Sega, 2K, and more, the team is ready to put everything we have into Devil’s Bluff. We’re making this as much for you folks as we are for us, and we’re excited to have you along for the journey. If you still have burning gameplay questions after reading the above, KBJGames headman, Keyur has volunteered to address them himself. Call him directly at 513.402.0912
Well, after essentially calling out the above publishers as “The Man,” we’re pretty sure they’re not going to start throwing bags of money at us (well, unless they think it would reeeaally hurt). Kidding. But seriously, as we stated above, this is a very personal project for us, and we’re committed to seeing this vision through with as much ownership and investment from the team and our backers as we can manage, and Kickstarter provides us with the perfect platform to do just that.
Speaking of our incredible good-looking, intelligent backer base, we don’t just want you guys to throw money at us an go into a cocoon of anticipatory angst.
From character design to determining the development order of our game modes, we want you to be as involved as possible in the design process, and we've got big plans to make that happen.
For more info on how we plan to ride your brilliant minds to gameplay glory, be sure to check out our Rewards and Stretch Goals section.
First and foremost, we want every Backer of Devil’s Bluff to know how important they are to the team, so we’ll be giving everyone who throws down on the project the opportunity to keep tabs on development, chat with the team and vote on dozens of design decisions via our private backer forums. Members only, people!
Secure yourself a DRM-free digital copy of Devil’s Bluff for PC (or other platforms, as we get Stretchy with it - See Goals that Stretch section for more info). Backers who drop $15 or more can select their platform of choice from these or stretch goal platforms as they become available.
If there’s one thing the Devil enjoys more than offing his fellow party-goers, it’s killing trees. Get your very own old-school print manual, packed with character info, Mansion details and one of those seizure warnings in that impossibly tiny print. *(Also available in Digital format)
Overwhelm your ears with the OST from Jake Kaufman. Packed with more sweet sound than you can shake a pitchfork at in one shiny jewel case, complete with exclusive cover art and liner notes galore.
A must for getting in the right frame of mind to play Devil’s Bluff, this peerless fashion accessory reminds you to ask yourself “What Would Devil Do?” Drive slow in the fast lane Refuse to help old ladies cross the street! Stand in front a packed elevator while people try to exit! Whatever you do, make it a Devil day!
Worship at the alter of evil via lovingly crafted of the master of mayhem himself, Devil. Perfect for desktop deviants and bookshelf bad guys, this one-of-a-kind villain is a must for all dedicated disciples of the everyone’s favorite evil-doer.
Your very own high-quality Devil’s Bluff bumper sticker, which you can slap on your locker, laptop, car or the foreheads of your enemies. Go nuts, people!
Display your devotion to Devil’s Bluff on your wall with this limited edition 18x24 custom foil print that’s sure to inspire all sorts of unspeakable acts of deception during your moments in the Mansion.
Remember before the days of in-game maps, when titles came with sweet pack-in maps you could hang on your wall? So do we, and we’re bringing the geographic goodness with this highly-stylized, full color 24x18 poster. *(Also available in Digital format)
Want a leg up on the competition? This softbound saddle-stitched guide will get you thinking like an evil genius, offering up:
Detailed maps of the Manson that note all potential interaction points.
Info on every last trap, tricky and gimmick you'll encounter and how to make the most of them.
In-Depth strategies on how to play the role of Devil, the friendly survivor, and the out-for-self a-hole.
Suggestions on how to make use of each character based on their physical appearance.
A guide to real-time conversations that will detail how to work a room and get people on your side.
It will also include a complete collection of all the scribbles and sketches that helped shape the characters, animations and world of Devil’s Bluff.
And for all your LARPers out there, the guide will also make hosting your very own Devil’s Bluff scavenger hunt a lot easier thanks to a pain-staking recreated Scavenger Hunt Guidebook, including the rules and regulations for the game, checklists and official scorecards! Just try to keep the real-life killings to a minimum, folks.
Remember when games came in tragically fragile boxes? Still like the extra oomph of modern-day special editions? Get both! The Physical DE includes:
A digital copy of the game
Game Box (physical)
The Game Manual (print)
The Deluxe Strategy Guide (print)
The Manor Map Poster (print)
Limited Edition Poster (print)
The Devil's Bluff Soundtrack (physical)
A Devil's Bluff Bumper Sticker
A WWDD Bracelet
Vinyl Devil Mini
Plus you'll get a digital edition of each you can pass along to your cheapskates buddies who didn’t dish out that Deluxe edition dough.
Wear your black, shameless heart on your sleeve with this Backer-exclusive unisex 4.2oz 100% cotton Short-Sleeve Tee.
Upgrade your wardrobe worthiness with this high-quality designer custom-designed hoodie featuring custom art from lead artist Art Vogt.
Move over, Slenderman! With this replica of the Devil’s in-game mask, you’ll be able to terrify your friends in new and interesting ways! Bougie turtle-neck optional.
Immortalize your image via lead artist Art Vogt in the form of a one-of-a-kind concept piece that captures your charm via an exclusive piece of Devil’s Bluff concept art. It may even end up in the final game!
Want to be among the first to play Devil’s Bluff? Back one of our Tester Tiers and dive in early, helping us crush bugs, refine mechanics, and perfect the art of being a back-stabbing, poker-faced Bluffer from the jump. Backers of the Killer Edition tier will also get a heavily increased chance of playing Devil during testing. Plus everyone will get credit in the game as an official QA Team Member.
Want to get a little taste of the rock n’ roll rollercoaster that is game development? Back a Design Tier and work directly with the team, attending meetings via Skype or Google Hangout and help with new costume ideas, take new rooms from concept to completion, and add interesting new traps and tricks to the Mansion. You’ll even get credit in the game as a Design Specialist!
Members of our design tiers also get an added bonus in the forum of a digital copy of the final Game Design Document (or GDD, as it’s called in the biz). Learn how ideas go from concept to completion with this detailed blueprint of the game you helped create!
We hope you’re really into this game, but let’s say you actually want to get in to Devil’s Bluff? We’ve got your back, people! Get your face in the game in one of the Mansion’s numerous wacky family portraits and help us class this joint up a little.
We’d be lying if we didn’t confess that we lazily sip bourbon by firelight on a near-nightly basis, but if we hit our Kickstarter goal, we’re kicking this bad boy off by throwing down, KBJ style! If you’re a Backer on any of our high-end tiers and can get to Cincinnati, OH, you’re officially invited to come help us put a dent in our bar tab as we ramble on about the game and how awesome you all are for helping us make it a reality.
Finally, in the event that any of our independently wealthy potential Backers decide to drop the big bucks on the Bluff, we’re pulling out all the stops. We’ll fly you out for a 3-day visit to meet the team on Halloween of next year, show you all the behind-the-scenes stuff we hide on our dev chats with clever camera angles, play a livestreamed match for bragging rights for the whole community to watch, hit up a haunted house, and last but not least, cruise the mean streets of Cincinnati for some life-altering shenanigans. All you have to do is sign a waiver ensuring our lawyers you won’t sue us in the event you, like, lose a limb or something. Pretty standard stuff, really.
The Deal with PS4, PS Vita, Xbox One & Wii U
Time will tell which platforms you Bluffers help bring to life, but everyone who purchase a copy of the game (yes, even you, Champion of Early-Birdness!) get to choose the platform of their choice once the campaign has ended.
New Game Modes: Even More Ways to Be a Weasel
There's a handful of game modes we've decided are locked into certain Goals (such as Double Trouble Mode, where two Devils can co-operate to eliminate the survivors or compete against each other to determine who oozes more evil), but the rest?
You guys will determine which modes make the cut by popular vote, choosing between options like:
Sole Survivor Mode - In this timed mode, all players play the role of Devil but one. Luckily, they have a Mansion Map and a Skeleton Key that instantly opens up all secret passageways. How long can you survive?
Every Devil for Themselves - Everyone is a bad guy in this free-for-all Devil deathmatch mode. We fully anticipate some WWE-style battle royal madness here. Temporary teamwork, weaker Devils running away from fights, and mounting tension as the player pool dwindles will undoubtedly be in the cards. The jury's still out on a folding chair to the face, but we'll try our best.
Mimic Mode - In this sneaky slice of Bluff, Devil will be able to steal the costume from each survivor he or she kills, adding to their arsenal of deception with each death. Easily the amateur voice actor's favorite.
And many more! We'll even bring the best community suggestions into the mix.
Get Gussied Up with Costume Party Packs
If you crashed as many Halloween parties as we did this year, we're pretty sure you saw some sweet get-ups. We did, and we were left with tons of ideas for new Survivor costumes for the final retail version of the game.
As such, as we hope to use a portion of certain Stretch Goals to add several 4-Costume Party Packs featuring new threads that you will get to vote into the game via 2-step process.
First up, you'll choose the costume type. Want to see a clown and a lion tamer? Vote them in! Think clowns are evil, terrifying blights on a restful sleep? Vote in a pirate and ninja instead!
Finally, we'll provide a series of sketches for each costume, and Backers will vote on their favorite version of the costume y'all have chosen and WHAMMY! It's in the game. Take that, EA Sports. Kidding. Please don't sue us.
The more Bluffers we can amass in the Kickstarter Mansion, the better this game will be, so we'd really appreciate you spreading the word.
But before you head out the door and start harassing random people on the street on our behalf, here's a few ways you can promote the project without abandoning the confines of your oh-so-comfy couches:
Of course, when that's done, you're more than welcome to go solicit strangers wearing that once-worn Halloween costume you just stashed away in the closet. Just don't expect us to pay your bail if things get weird. Printing up t-shirts that say "Free [Kickstarter Backer Name Here]" is pretty much our limit.
Lastly, we are a proud member of the Kicking It Forward community: http://kickingitforward.org
Risks and challenges
By now, you’ve read enough of these “Risks and Challenges” thingies to get that making games is tough. Bringing a concept like Devil’s Bluff to life will be no different, as we’re looking to blend old-school gameplay values with never-before-seen mechanics that rely on both competition and cooperation, and finding that balance will be tricky. Luckily, we have a team with over 20 shipped titles under there belts across 11 platforms and our biggest secret weapon: all of you. We’ve spent tons of time refining the core concepts of the game, and plan to work tirelessly to test, tune and perfect the art of backstabbing with our Backers until we’ll find the right balance of strategy, technique and fun that will make Devil’s Bluff a unique, memorable experience unlike any other.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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