$888
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
21
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, February 16 2015 10:08 AM UTC +00:00
Ian AthertonBy Ian Atherton
First created
Ian AthertonBy Ian Atherton
First created
$888
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
21
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, February 16 2015 10:08 AM UTC +00:00

About

Escape from Ravensbrück is a 2D jump'n slash game in the style of Zelda 2 or Gargoyle's Quest. It has RPG and randomized elements, a hand painted children's book aesthetic, and a story grounded in the events of World War II. 

Initially it will be available on Windows/Mac/Linux around August 2015.

                           Alpha footage

Game features:

  • A hand painted art style, painstakingly created using many small pieces of art, with a final touch up stage where the brush graces every corner of the world.
  • Tight 2D action platforming with many weapons, gadgets, and upgrades to find and improve your character.
  • An overworld, and non-combat areas that break up the pace, reward exploration, and help to tell the story.
  • A five hour experience further lengthened by the game's randomization of item locations, monster placement, (and maybe even level layouts) within dungeons.
  • A story that ranges from the bright and colorful aspects of a children's book to the dark and horrific torture that humans do to each other.
  • A unique "lives" system built around Kala's state of mind. When Kala "Dies" in her dreams she is sent back to a check point where she must race back to where she died before she loses too much hope.
  • Flashbacks to Kala's real life where she is a little girl again stealthily avoiding Nazis.
Hand painted, storybook aesthetic.
Hand painted, storybook aesthetic.

Escape from Ravensbrück is about Kala, a girl taken from her parents to Ravensbrück Concentration Camp and experimented on by the Nazis. The pain from these experiments puts her in such shock that she falls into a coma. It is here in this subconscious state where the game takes place. Throughout the game Kala will encounter twisted exaggerations of the real world and nightmarish creatures. As well as shades of her friends and family, there to encourage and empower her. She will face her fears, and face her captors. Kala will fight in her dreams, so that she might have a chance at waking up and escaping Ravensbrück in real life.

Kala's dreams take her to many different places.
Kala's dreams take her to many different places.
Various weapons Kala can find throughout the game.
Various weapons Kala can find throughout the game.

Gameplay: Zelda 2 and Gargoyle's Quest were great games, they combined the predictable and comfortable linear level with an overhead perspective map allowing the freedom to explore an open world. These two play modes really open things up for me as a designer to add secrets to the game, tell the story on the player's terms, and change it up during gameplay. Linear games like the Ghosts and Goblins series don't offer the player a chance to slow down, enjoy the small details of a game, and learn about the world. And though lacking the connected nature of Metroidvanias, far less backtracking is required when using this overworld map system.

Sometimes flashbacks or memories invade her dreams.
Sometimes flashbacks or memories invade her dreams.

Story/Setting: There are many games that tell the combat side of the WWII story, but very few have touched on the horrors of the Holocaust itself. By using Kala's dream world as the main setting I'm avoiding making a game that makes the player constantly sad, but the message, and story is still there. The Holocaust and WWII are probably the most important events of the 20th century, and it's art's job to help us remember tragedies like this. "If the echo of their voices becomes faint, we will perish" -plate from Ravensbrück memorial museum. 

Games are now a dominant artistic medium, and have started to explore complex themes of the human condition. I want to continue this trend with my own work.

Character art, like all art in this project, is not complete.
Character art, like all art in this project, is not complete.

(@NeckbeardNinjas) Ian: I'm the artist, game/level designer, and writer for the project. I've been doing freelance art and level design over the last four years on indie projects like Malevolence (Kickstarted), Standpoint (Almost Kickstarted), and Fjall. I've been working on my own small projects for a long time, even releasing one on android (DPD). But I'd like to work on a larger and more meaningful project, and this is it. I want to make something people will enjoy, think about, and learn from, so I've come to Kickstarter to see if people think Escape from Ravensbrück deserves to be made.

(@strangefiredev) Arvydas: Is the programming ace I've been working with recently. Together we built an impressive Ludum Dare Jam entry, and have been working on a horror game project that shows promise. He's been doing freelance game programming for a couple years, with several games in the android store, and other products in the Unity asset store. He is incredibly fast and good at what he does, and is willing to face any challenge head on, until solved. He has experience in varying genres from simulation to rpg to sidescroller. Here's his website.

Arvydas and Ian's LDJAM31 Game
Arvydas and Ian's LDJAM31 Game

 We're also happy to kick it forward: http://kickingitforward.org

Current stage: As you may have noticed, there isn't much footage of the game. The game at this point is not really far enough along to show the actual gameplay. This Kickstarter is somewhat exploratory in nature, we want to see if this is a game people would like to play. Is there a market for this game?

Schedule: The current plan is to develop the game over six months assuming we don't hit any stretch goals. Upon hitting stretch goals the development time of the game may lengthen by a month or two as we add those additional features beyond the scope of the original plan.

Art Quality: Though the art you can see in the video and this page is representative of my style, it doesn't represent anything final. The final art will be much more polished.

Build #1
Build #1

Thanks for checking out our Kickstarter, and if you can't donate, consider helping us out by spreading the word around internet town.

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge when taking on this project is riding the line between an enjoyable experience and conveying deeper, darker, and more meaningful elements of the story. The real story behind WWII and the Holocaust is very sad, but if I create a game steeped in this sadness it could turn people away from playing it, and then fewer people hear the message. Some games have dealt with this by foregoing the traditional game tropes, becoming known as "art games" but this is something I'd like to avoid. All games are art, and though some might be considered kitsch, they all have value. Art can have mass market appeal and still be deeply personal, metaphorical, and meaningful. My favorite example of this is probably Pink Floyd The Wall.

Besides that pretty lofty challenge, the more typical issues of time, rent, and the ability of a small team does come into play. But we're pretty seasoned, and we are both very fast and efficient workers.

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Support

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    Thank you so much! You get our gratitude, and your name in the credits (and somewhere else in game depending on how much you pledge).

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    A copy of the game, DRM free (and Steam key if applicable). And a big thank you!

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    A digital art book featuring traditional art, concepts, and WIP art. And our thanks!

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    The game's soundtrack. And our sincere thankitude!

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    An hour long "making of" video featuring time lapse art creation, level design, and discussion of design decisions. And a big thank you to you!

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    A small color sandstone 3d printed sculpture of Kala. And our sincere gratitude!

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    A random, signed, original piece of traditional art (pencil/black and white) used as a concept or first draft for the final game. And our magnificent eternal thank yous!

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    Personal phone call and thanks from the game's designer and artist. You are simply the best!

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Funding period

- (25 days)