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A rogue-lite river journey through the backwaters of a forgotten post-societal America. Forage, craft, evade predators. For PC & Mac.
A rogue-lite river journey through the backwaters of a forgotten post-societal America. Forage, craft, evade predators. For PC & Mac.
7,420 backers pledged $251,647 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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From the Art Director of BioShock and a team of veterans of the BioShock, Halo, Guitar Hero and Rock Band series comes The Flame in the Flood.

Travel by foot and by raft down a procedurally-generated river as you scrounge for resources, craft tools, remedy afflictions, evade the vicious wildlife, and most importantly, stay ahead of  the coming rains.

Featuring an original full length soundtrack by acclaimed Alt-Country rocker Chuck Ragan featuring The Camaraderie, The Fearless Kin and other special guests.

Now accepting PayPal

Add on additional copies!
 

 See the update for details.

Thanks to PayPal pledges, we're an additional $2555 closer to the next goal.

For in-depth coverage on the team and the project, check out the November issue of Game Informer.

The Backer Beta! Kickstarter backers will have beta access to the game for a month prior to launch. This counts for ALL tiers that include the game. Check out Update #7 for more details. This applies to the Mac & PC versions of the game.

Journey Down the River: Travel down a long, winding and completely unique procedurally-generated river, through environments inspired by the Everglades, Mississippi Delta, Louisiana Bayou, and other quintessentially American places. Your journey has an end. Will you survive long enough to reach it?

Authentic Survival: With survival tactics and wilderness dangers based on real-life references, staying alive until the end will mean staying warm, staying dry, staying healthy, and avoiding the ravenous wildlife that wants to eat you.

A unique world inspired by backwater America: Post-Apocalypse or just Post-Society? Did it all end with a bang or a whimper? The world of The Flame in the Flood explores what happens on the fringes when civilization gives up the ghost.

Music from Chuck Ragan: Featuring an original full length soundtrack by acclaimed Alt-Country rocker Chuck Ragan featuring The Camaraderie, The Fearless Kin and other special guests.

Surviving the hostile post-societal wilderness is no picnic. Scrounge for food and supplies, evade the ravenous wild-life, seek out shelter, maintain your raft, and stay healthy. And most important of all, make sure you’re gone when the rains arrive.

Looting and Crafting

The land is dangerous but bountiful, and if you know what you’re looking for, you might just live. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, perhaps you can make it, if you have the pieces.

Afflictions and Remedies

Snake bites, fatigue, hypothermia, open wounds, and infection are just some of the ways the world will try to kill you. Happily every affliction has its remedies, whether traditional herbal cures, wound-dressings, or simply a solid night’s sleep. Knowing which remedies slow or stop which afflictions is what separates a babe in the woods from a master survivalist. 

One piece of advice: address your afflictions in a timely manner, before they develop into something worse.

AI Ecology

Everything needs to eat to survive, and to your predators, you’re just a sack of food wrapped in a buckskin parka and cute hat. Like the river itself, our AI encounters are procedurally generated, and the NPCs behave according to rules governing hunger, fear, aggression, and territory. You’ll need to use stealth, traps, distractions, timing, and your wits to avoid becoming a feast for scavengers. 

Permadeath

When you’re done, you’re done, and if you don’t make it, you go back to the head of the river to try again.

But remember: Aesop your faithful hound, will be back with whatever he was carrying at the time of your last death. A small mercy from an otherwise cruel fate.

It was clear the time to move had come when the first rain fell and the cloud mass that spoke of the coming flood rolled south. Scout lashed her few belongings to her raft and set out for higher ground as the water drowned her cook fire. Her only companion the dog whom she had raised from a pup after finding it tangled in a muddy old sack in a river eddy. Her journey would take her through unfamiliar lands of crumbling relics from long ago. It would be a hungry trek, with scarce supplies, cold winds and rain always chasing and weakening her. She would have to build her own supplies from the pieces of scrap she could scrounge, conserve her food for long tracts of barren scrubland, ration what clean water she could find for the days ahead.

“Salvation lies at the end of the river” people say. Scout and her old dog have a long and terrifying journey ahead of them.

Scout You play as Scout, a lone wanderer schooled in the art of wilderness survival. She's seen a bit of everything as she's come of age, and knows how to deal with the challenges of staying alive in a land that isn't interested in helping.

Aesop "It was not my fault, master; my spirit was as good as ever, but I could not help mine infirmities. I rather deserve to be praised for what I have been, than to be blamed for what I am." - from Aesop’s Old Hound

Aesop is Scout's companion and beast of burden. He's been by her side for years, and though he’s not much use in a scrap, he can carry supplies, call out clues and warnings, and generally help you navigate the wilderness.

The Raft Your "piece of ship", a lashed together junk pile that can take a beating and keep floating. You’ll need to take care of it on your journey, fixing it up if you have a hard crash, but if you do it’ll get you where you’re headed. If you don’t, you’ll take a swim and it’s game over.

“I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable” ~ T.S. Eliot

The river journey is a story that stretches from mythology, through classic literature (Huckleberry Finn, Life on the Mississippi, Heart of Darkness) to the film and television of today (Mud, Beasts of the Southern Wild). In The Flame in the Flood, we want to translate all of the poetry, adventure, quirkiness, and melancholy of those works into video game form.

The River is the central character of the game. It is the road that sweeps you ahead of the coming storm. It is a place of rest and calm when it slows and of frantic action and danger when you hit the rapids.

River Tech The Flame in the Flood might not look like your typical roguelike, but it does have one important aspect in common with that genre -- the use of procedural generation algorithms to pseudo-randomly create the world as you move through it. Why “pseudo” random? Because driving the randomness are a set of rules for making rivers that are fun and challenging to navigate, and provide for the many interesting choices you, the player, will face: risk the rapids to get ahead of the coming rain? Hit the store on the eastern bank or the gas station on the western? If I miss that gas station, when will the next one be?

Our river creation process is divided into a number of steps, including layout, island packing, flow generation, decoration, and rendering. More on all of this in an update soon!

The music for the game is being created by Chuck Ragan featuring The Camaraderie, The Fearless Kin and other special guests. You may know Chuck Ragan for his solo work, his time with post-hardcore trailblazers Hot Water Music, or as founder of The Revival Tour. He's writing an original full length album to accompany the release of the game.

Chuck is releasing “The Flame in the Flood” on iTunes. This is the song used in our video. Go pick it up! Additionally, check out his upcoming tour dates. If you drop by his show in Cambridge, MA, on December 11th, you may just run into one of us.

If you are only interested in the soundtrack, it will be available for purchase at a later date.

 

Sound design is being handled by Pat Balthrop, founder of Interactive Sound & Fury. He is an audio director and sound designer with multiple BAFTA nominations, two best audio awards at the Game Developer’s Conference, Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design by the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences, and nine awards from the Game Audio Network Guild.

His work has been heard in BioShock Infinite, The Beatles: Rock Band, BioShock, Rock Band 2, Dance Central, Rock Band 3, and more.

Pat is an all around great person, and we’re really excited to work with him again on this project.

Gwen Frey, Chad LaClair, Forrest Dowling, Scott Sinclair, Damian Isla, Bryn Bennett. Photo by Dan Perez de la Garza
Gwen Frey, Chad LaClair, Forrest Dowling, Scott Sinclair, Damian Isla, Bryn Bennett. Photo by Dan Perez de la Garza

For such a small outfit, The Molasses Flood features an astounding assortment of talent. We are a company of AAA refugees, with veterans of places like Irrational, Harmonix, and Bungie. We’ve contributed to massive critical and commercial successes like the BioShock Series, Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and the Halo series. And now, for something completely different...

Scott Sinclair Director/Art/Founder instagram.com/sincstudio
Sinc is a director and artist. His previous experience includes Art Director for BioShock and BioShock Infinite, Primary Artist for Guitar Hero, Eyetoy Anti-Grav, Rock Band 2, as well as Art Lead on Freedom Force vs. the Third Reich. He’s also the resident survival and wilderness living expert, having grown up in a swamp in Florida (as he tells it).

Forrest Dowling Ceo/Design/Founder @stuckbug
Forrest is a director and designer whose previous work includes Lead Level Designer on BioShock Infinite and Designer on Homefront. Prior to his career in games, he was a hobbyist mod maker, and is pret-ty psyched to be working with a small team again.

Bryn Bennett Mathrock/Tech/Founder
Bryn is an engineer who was previously Tech Director on Freedom Force 2, Lead Engineer on Titan Quest, and Engineer on numerous iterations of Rock Band. He’s also a legit rock star, having fronted Bang Camaro on national tours, and played on stage on Conan O’Brien.

Chad LaClair Art/Design/Founder @ChadLaClair
Chad is an artist and designer, previously credited as Senior Level Builder on BioShock Infinite and Designer on Medal of Honor: Airborne. Although a Vermont native, he has confessed that if he were left alone in the woods, he would die of something (anything) within minutes.

Damian Isla Mastermind/Tech/Founder @damian_isla
Damian is an engineer whose prior credits include Co-Founder and President of indie studio Moonshot Games, Creative Director on Third Eye Crime, AI Lead on Halo 2 and 3, and Senior AI Engineer on BioShock Infinite. The best way to motivate him is to tell him that a task is impossible, which he takes as a personal affront to his capabilities.

Gwen Frey Risky Business/Art/Founder @diregoldfish
Gwen is an animator, technical artist, and producer. Her previous titles were Senior Technical Animator on BioShock Infinite and Marvel Heroes. She’s all business, so there will be no screwing around with this bio.

Check out all the sweet rewards you can get! An important note: the images are not indicative of final designs. We will be working to make sure everything we deliver is cool stuff you’ll be proud to own.

The game! I know we’re being a bit on the nose with this reward, but we think it’s a good idea regardless. You get a copy of the game, to be delivered via Steam upon release.

Exclusive Backer Wallpapers! We’re going to make a bunch of cool wallpapers so you can bask in the game whenever you close all your windows, look at your lock screen, or see it poking out from behind rows of icons on your phones, tablets, phablets, smart watches, digital refrigerators, or whatever other devices you may own and wallpaper.

Digital Art Book! We love art books, and want to make one of our own. It’ll be packed with concepts from the making of the game. We’ve been meticulous about saving images from every step of the way, and you’ll be able to see the journey we took in building the game.

Digital Soundtrack! We love Chuck Ragan and you should too. He’s writing an exclusive soundtrack for our game of original songs. You heard the first one in the trailer, and by pledging at a soundtrack tier that one and the rest can be yours. This tier will help us produce the best possible full length album.

Exclusive In-Game Content! We’re making exclusive raft, hound, and backpack variants for our Kickstarter backers. They will only ever be available for people who back us now, so don’t miss out. After each death you’ll have a screen of your character, telling the story of your life and death, including an image of your Scout, Aesop, and raft.

Signed Postcard! We’ll send you a postcard covered in our thanks & signatures. We love signing giant stacks of things, so if you want to help us live that dream, pledge at a postcard tier.

Name in the Credits! Be the envy of your peers as your name is displayed for posterity in the credits and on our webpage patrons wall. Just like when you donate your millions to a prestigious museum, higher pledges get more prominent placement.

Embroidered Survivor Patch! Festoon your tanned hides and tattered gear with a handsome patch.

Name a Location in the Game!* As you explore, the names of places you encounter are generated from a database of possible names. You can add your name to this list, and lay claim to your island. Imagine the joy of succumbing to dysentery on your own island. This reward could make that dream a reality. (* This will be subject to creative review. Maintaining tone is very important to us, and we hope it is to our backers as well)

Poster! Spruce up your pine needle lean-to with an 11x17 poster featuring the art of Scott Sinclair.

Swanky T-Shirt! Protect yourself against the elements with a cool t-shirt. We’re a bunch of loathsome hipsters, so you can be sure it’ll be fine in quality & cut.
Preview of T-Shirt design
Preview of T-Shirt design


Signed Fine Art Print! Have you moved from your pine needle lean-to to a fancy derelict bus, and need a higher class of art to adorn your walls? This fine art print featuring the work of Scott Sinclair is just the thing you need to class up the place.
WIP sketch of the art print
WIP sketch of the art print


Physical Art Book! Impress your friends and foil your enemies when they see this handsome volume on your coffee table or book shelf. The pages can also be torn out and crumpled up to provide a little extra insulation in a survival situation.


Development Playtest! Usually playtests occur with a 1 way mirror between the designers and players. They never meet, never speak. We can’t afford a big fancy mirror, so we’re giving this opportunity to you. Meet up with Forrest on Skype or in person if you can make it to Boston, playtest the game, share your notes and thoughts on the experience, and help us make the game better.


Design a Character! The world we’re making is sparsely populated, but those you encounter will be colorful. Work with us to help design a character that will be seeded into the random encounter tables. Who are they? What do they want? What’s their quirk? We know you all have a bizarre relative or acquaintance who is the perfect inspiration for a memorable personality.


Your Dog, In the Game!* We will create a version of your beloved pet as a selectable dog in the game. You can travel the river with your own faithful companion at your side. Additionally, your little pal will be available in everyone’s game, so they can all spend some time with your friend. (check out Update #5 for restrictions).

Original Painting! Get an original 12x12 acrylic painting on board by Scott Sinclair. This will be a one of a kind piece inspired by the game.

To fund a game, there are a few options. You can get a publisher to fund development, seek out private investors, fund it out of pocket, or seek help via crowdsourcing sites like Kickstarter. We’ve elected to go with a mix of self funding and crowdsourcing.
Ultimately, we’re making the game for the people who want to play it. That wouldn’t change regardless of how we fund, but by going straight to gamers we can keep ourselves limited to a single boss. We don’t have enough cash individually to bring this game to completion, which is why we’re turning to you, our backers, to help get us the rest of the way and help make the game the best it can be.

Risks and challenges

Making games is a difficult process filled with unknowns. Lots can go wrong. We’re a small team and it will still be possible to fail, even if we successfully kickstart.

Team: sometimes life can hit people in unexpected ways. Everyone on our team is necessary, so if extenuating circumstances prevent any individual from working on the game, the whole project will be at risk. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to eliminate this risk, without holding enough money in the bank to pay a competitive salary to replace someone should some catastrophe occur. In games, hiring an engineer or an art director can easily cost our entire budget, so without doubling or tripling our budget as an insurance policy, this will simply be a risk we need to take.

Creative: Making games involves taking creative risks, and they don’t always pan out. You can lose time correcting from choices that don’t end up working as well in practice as you imagined they would. This is often why games go over budget and dates slip. We have a production plan in place that allows for a large amount of leeway prior to the actual date we’d like to ship. We know the creative process can take time, so we’re scoping in order to hit our dates.

Technical: usually games can present enormous technical challenges. This is a low risk for us, as we’re using Unreal Engine 4, an engine that we are all very experienced with. Collectively, we have decades of experience working with Unreal. This is a new sort of game for some of us, so of course there will be unknowns to overcome, but each member of the team has shipped multiple games across multiple platforms, and we know how to successfully ship a technically sound title.

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FAQ

  • The short answer is that it’s not part of this Kickstarter campaign, and we won’t know if we can support it within the next month.

    The longer answer is that we want to get this game into as many people’s hands as possible, and that means supporting as many platforms as possible, including Linux. If you read the Game Informer piece on us, you may have seen a phrase we use internally: “Minimum Awesome”. We want to make the best game we can with the resources we have, and part of that is controlling our scope. That includes platform support. We want to make sure that everywhere we release the game, it’s the best it can possibly be. We would like to do a Linux version, but don’t want to do so until we’re confident that we can do a great job on it.

    Last updated:
  • Yes. A number of us on the team play a lot of PC games with a controller, and supporting that is important to us. We’re committed to making the game play great with a keyboard & mouse or with a controller.

    Last updated:
  • Check out the stretch goals! The first tier allows us to add German, French, and Spanish, the second language tier will be Polish, Russian, and Portuguese. We also allow for users to swap in their own translation files, so if you wanted a version in Klingon or your own made up bird language, you could do that too.

    Last updated:
  • We’ve received a lot of questions about early access, and honestly, are undecided. There are definitely some big upsides, like getting input early. We hope to have something to announce a bit later into the campaign about early access.

    Last updated:
  • We’d love to release the game on the Xbox One and PS4. Right now, the PS4 is a stretch goal. We don't have any other platform support news to announce at this time.

    Last updated:
  • We are 99% sure that we'll have a DRM free version. GoG doesn't approve titles until much closer to their release window, so we can't say if it will be there with absolute certainty until much closer to release.

    Last updated:
  • Our best guess right now based on other Unreal Engine 4 titles is:

    Windows 7, 64-bit
    DirectX 11 Graphics card
    2.5 Ghz CPU, dual core
    4 GB RAM

    Last updated:
  • There are not currently any plans for a Wii U version.

    Last updated:

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    All of the above, PLUS a digital art book and a digital copy of the soundtrack by Chuck Ragan. Making a high production value original album isn't cheap, and this tier will help us make the best soundtrack possible.

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    All of the above, PLUS your name in the credits as a BACKER, and a handsome embroidered patch that demonstrates your status as a survivor in a harsh world. International shipping rates will apply.

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    All of the above, PLUS a sweet poster featuring the art of Scott Sinclair, AND you get your name in the game. You can stumble across your island or old camp as you play the game, as will every other player. (subject to creative review)

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    All of the above, PLUS you help design a character that is added to the roster of NPCs to encounter. Who are they? What do they want? What quirks make them a unique memorable addition to the world? Help us fill the world with interesting personalities. You will be credited as PATRON DESIGNER.

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    Most of the above (not including 'design a character'), PLUS Your dog will be made into a selectable companion in game. You will be credited as DOG LOVER (or whatever.. you can decide).

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Funding period

- (30 days)