This is the star-spangled news you've been waiting for. We will be shipping you a Kickstarter-exclusive "Silver" build of Meriwether on Flag Day: June 14!
In game development, the final release of a game is knows as the "Gold" build. We're calling this our "Silver" build because, while we're not quite ready to release it to the general public at this point, the game is feature complete and stable.
Most importantly, we want to give all of you, our backers, an opportunity to give us feedback on all aspects of the game. We can’t wait for you to play and tell us what you think. Only once we have the opportunity to polish, improve performance, and take your feedback into account, then we will make an actual Gold build and start selling the game publicly. And of course, all backers will get access to all forthcoming builds.
We will be shipping rewards to coincide with the Flag Day release! We have almost all of them already, as you can see from Exhibit A: T-shirt, Compass USB (two displayed so you can see the front and back), merit badge, and my personal favorite, the Thunderclappers mints!
We are finalizing the giclée prints that our most generous backers will be receiving as we speak and expect they will ship on-time. And we finalized the cloth map/in-game map design just a few weeks ago; we have now begun the printing/cutting process for those. We will update with a picture of the cloth map soon!
With your support, we have been able to create a game like nothing else out there. You simply won't find a combination of history, narrative, and innovative mechanics out there that Meriwether delivers. We are so excited to give put it in your hands. We can't thank you enough.
We're just about to send our map to print. But first, we wanted to run it by y'all one last time as a quick check to make sure we didn't mess something up. We've been starting at it for so long, it would be good to have you all take a look with fresh eyes! Thanks for all your feedback last time, as you can see we have integrated much of that feedback here.
Just a reminder, this is a map of Meriwether, not necessarily of the Lewis and Clark expedition. All of the other physical rewards are either finished or ready to go to print shortly. More on that soon to come!
The Kickstarter-exclusive version of Meriwether fast approaches! (Remember, you get the game before the general public.) We will be updating more frequently in the coming weeks as we prepare to send you the game. Coming soon: action shots of the swag we have for you!
Today, we want to feature our superb voice actor: Ben Britton IS Meriwether Lewis! As we focus on polishing up Meriwether for release, one of the final things to be done is to replace Carlos's placeholder voiceover with the actual recordings. To remind you, we didn’t make our voiceover stretch goal, but we decided we just couldn’t live without at least a little of the color and character that a talented actor can add. So now, between levels, you will hear Lewis describe his state of mind and the state of the Corps as they make their way westward, and then back home.
Click the above clip to hear Meriwether Lewis (as portrayed by Ben Britton) announce, with his typical sense of decorum overrun by the joy of the occasion, that he has succeed in his mission to cross North America.
We asked Ben a few questions about his work as a voice actor in general and specifics about his work on Meriwether. Here's our interview:
1. Tell us a little about yourself: your education, your career, what you do for fun.
Absolutely! I've been acting for a long time, since childhood, and in 1994 I attended NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for Drama. Several years ago I started getting into VO work and I've been doing so ever since. As an avid gamer since back in the Apple II days (we had a IIgs, it was amazing), VO work for games has always been an absolute favorite of mine. The interactive storytelling in modern gaming is almost unmatched by any other medium. It's amazing stuff to work on as an actor.
And as far as what I do for fun: regardless of how booked up the schedule gets, I always try to find at least a little bit of time to get some gaming in. Sometimes on the consoles, sometimes on the PC, sometimes the tabletop. We're huge, huge boardgame fans. You name it, we'll play it.
2. What's the life of an actor and voice-actor like? What are things about the career that no one tells you about?
Generally? Busy, very busy. There's always additional work to be done, scenes to be recorded, audio to prep. It's really, really easy to let yourself get overwhelmed. Finding the right balance can be a bit of a challenge.
I think one thing that doesn't frequently get mentioned about VO work is the sheer amount of time you'll spend in front of a computer. Generally when you think of voice acting, you think of a person going into a booth, recording their lines, and that's the end of it. But in a lot of cases, that's really only half of the equation. As an independent VO artist you're typically your own engineer, director, producer, etc., so you'll find yourself in front of a computer screen, doing things other than performing, for significant amounts of time. Consequently it's important to try and educate yourself in as many facets of the industry as possible. Never be afraid to ask questions, or to start up a conversation with developers and other members of the industry. You never know what it might lead to, and you won't find out unless you take those initial first steps.
3. How did you decide on the kind of voice you wanted to give Meriwether Lewis?
What qualities did you try to impart through him through the voice? Did you need to do any special kind of preparation?
The beautiful thing about playing a historical figure like Meriwether Lewis is the vast amount of research data that you have at your disposal. His life, his personality, his time spent on the expedition - it's all documented and chronicled. He seemed like the kind of man who was genuinely in awe of the task ahead of him and his crew, both for the opportunity for scientific discovery, and for the staggering toil that would be involved. But at times he was also deeply burdened by it, by the expectations of the journey. I tried to convey that split whenever possible. He was a complicated man, put in an incredibly daunting position.
Having access to all the historical information and feedback from Josh and the team was unbelievably helpful. I love character research, and all of it was invaluable in finding the proper tone for Lewis.
4. Were there any unexpected challenges you encountered doing the voice-work for this project?
Given the amount of research material and the quality of the team's feedback, there really wasn't much that was unexpected. One small thing I can think of: the names of some of the tribes of that time period. Many of them aren't the kind of words that you'd encounter in a typical conversation, and quite a few of them were pronounced in ways that took me a bit by surprise. Reading them on the page was one thing, but saying them out loud, with the emphasis in the proper place? That was something else entirely. Luckily, Josh and the team were always there to help steer me in the right direction. All in all, it was smooth sailing. The project was an absolute blast to work on.
An experienced actor and graduate of New York University's renowned Tisch School of the Arts, Ben can currently be heard in such videogame titles as 'Project Nimbus' by GameCrafterTeam (PC), 'The Lawless' by The Innocent Devils (iOS/Android), and Indiecade & Develop Award Finalist 'Ether One' by White Paper Games (PC/PS4). Find him at benbrittonvo.com and on Twitter at @BenKBritton.
More soon, folks! As always, thank you for your support.
We're about to start sending a series of updates to show the two things we've been focusing on: polishing the game and creating the physical rewards. First up is the map, which serves both of those purposes. We will be printing cloth maps as physical rewards, but it also appears in-game as a world map.
Keep in mind, this is a map of Meriwether, the game. It's not necessarily a map of the U.S. or the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Specifically, it shows the places depicted in and from the perspective of the game.
We wanted to send this around for one last round of feedback before it goes to print. Do you notice anything wrong or missing? Anything that could look better? Please let us know before it's too late!
We're nearing completion, and Carlos was the first team member to finish all his work, so with the writing complete, he is now taking on the task of reward fulfillment.
As hundreds of you already know, we have sent the survey out for Meriwether rewards! We can't tell you how excited we are! The game and rewards will be in your hands soon.
Specifically, the survey is for those backers who are receiving physical rewards or from whom we needed information (e.g. to which institutions you’d like to donate Scholarship copies of Meriwether). If your rewards are all digital, no need for a survey!
If you haven't already, please fill out the survey ASAP, and no later than Sunday 20 September. If you didn't receive a survey, please e-mail us at email@example.com and we will send you one.
We will be sending out our pre-launch update soon.