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Part strategy guide, part art book, the Mercenary Kings Master Codex by OBP is your field guide to the hit title from Tribute Games!

[9/1 - Less than 48 hours left to go before the end of the campaign! Become a backer now for the world's first Kickstarter funded strategy guide/art book!]

[HUGE UPDATE: 

  • ALL PHYSICAL COPIES OF THE GUIDE HAVE BEEN UPGRADED TO A HARDCOVER!
  • INTERNATIONAL FRIENDS: WE'VE DRASTICALLY REDUCED THE SHIPPING CHARGES ON MANY REWARD TIERS!]

We're Off Base Productions, a creative agency and development house in San Francisco with over twenty years of experience writing, designing, developing, and producing video game content for the world’s best publishers. From strategy guides to art books to promotional material to packaging and manuals, OBP has done it all. Now we're looking to self-publish our own curated series of premium strategy guides for creative independent games, starting with Mercenary Kings from Tribute Games, and we need your help!

A strategy guide is meant to be a companion for the reader, helping them to advance when they’re stuck, plan out the progression of their character, or point out interesting areas ripe for exploration. It’s your field guide for a multiverse of experiences. But in the world of YouTube and Wikipedia, the printed strategy guide has become no more than an upsell statistic for game store clerks at worst, or a throwaway object never to be looked at again when the game is over at best.

The staff behind this project wants to create a guide that works against this paradigm by creating a high-end, highly collectable object akin more to a well-crafted novel or a premium graphic novel - something that is a joy to hold, flip through, read, and proudly display on your shelf. We want to publish a piece that supports the experience of a game while reflecting its creative team’s efforts and talent.

The fun gameplay, rich crafting system, killer art style, and the passionate creative team behind Mercenary Kings has inspired us to begin self-publishing our own strategy guide series. We're honored and excited to team up with Tribute Games, and our backers, to make this dream a reality.

Our primary objective is to create a full-featured strategy guide for Mercenary Kings, complete with comprehensive mission walkthroughs, strategic boss strategies, crafting recipes, detailed maps, thoughtful build suggestions, amazing art, and more. It’s an opportunity to create something special for the fans celebrating both the game and the creative team at Tribute Games. Our primary inspirations are the 16-bit era Nintendo Player's Choice series of strategy guides, Japanese-style guides, and creative fan guides such as the Mother 3 Handbook.

A few inspirational selections from our reference library.
A few inspirational selections from our reference library.

The Mercenary Kings Master Codex is planned to be a beautiful 8" x 11" full-color, 200-page hardcover tome. We've got two beautiful covers in the works, each are exclusive to this Kickstarter and will never be available anywhere else.

A work-in-progress mock up of the front and back covers by Brady Hartel. Art by Stéphane Boutin of Tribute Games.
A work-in-progress mock up of the front and back covers by Brady Hartel. Art by Stéphane Boutin of Tribute Games.

The standard Kickstarter cover features the gorgeous Mercenary Kings box art by Stéphane Boutin, with silver foil sidebars and gold foil "Kickstarter Edition" seal. The silver foil treatment and gold seal are exclusive to backers of this Kickstarter.

We'd love to make this guide available to public if we're funded. If that happens, the general release will not feature the Kickstarter-only foil treatment and will retail at at a more expensive price point. Save cash and get the shiny goodness by becoming a backer!

Corey Lewis' initial sketch for the variant cover.
Corey Lewis' initial sketch for the variant cover.

Limited to 1000 copies, the Limited Edition Variant guide features a cover by top-tier comic artist and video game aficionado, Corey Lewis. Corey is the mastermind behind the hit comics Sharknife, Peng, Seedless, and Layered Jacket. His most recent works include the Kickstarter-funded Sun Bakery anthology and the SEGA-themed tribute mini SEGAZINE. Check out more of Corey's work at http://www.reyyy.com/

More info on the Limited Edition Variant is coming soon. We'll be making the variant available in batches of 100 until all 1000 are claimed.

If funded, we'll be working directly with Tribute Games to bring you the most comprehensive and accurate guide possible for Mercenary Kings. Full mission walkthroughs, level maps, enemy profiles, detailed material and crafting info, and of course tons of beautiful art from the Tribute Games team await you. Check out our preliminary outline* for an idea of what we will be putting together:

*Note: Content subject to change based on game content. Mercenary Kings is currently in development.

  • Intro/Story - Art and text setting up the world of Mercenary Kings
  • Basics/Getting Started - Covers controls, options, core gameplay concepts, and general advanced strategies
  • Missions - Full maps of each area with enemy/item placement, walkthoughs of each mission, boss profiles with strategy
  • Crafting - Full list of crafting items with stats and material requirements, full list of materials with locations/rarity 
  • Multiplayer - Strategies specific to co-op gameplay
  • Enemy Profiles - Stats and attack data for each enemy
  • Cheats and Easter Eggs - It's a secret to everyone
  • Extras - Bonus artwork, sprite sheets, design documents, developer interviews... basically whatever we can convince our partners at Tribute Games to share ;)

Part of what makes Japanese and the NES/SNES era of strategy guides so inspiring to us is their focus on highlighting the artistic efforts of the creative teams behind the games they represent. From Katuya Terada's stunning illustrations for The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Nintendo Player's Guide to Akira Toriyama's character drawings in the Chrono Trigger Perfect Bible, these guides are both your mentor and companion for brave new worlds. 

In the Super Metroid guide, for example, artwork and game maps go hand-in-hand.
In the Super Metroid guide, for example, artwork and game maps go hand-in-hand.

For the Mercenary Kings Master Codex, the artwork produced by Tribute Games will be featured throughout the guide. From sprite sheets to pre-production pieces to promotional art and everything in between, our guide will be a celebration of the creativity behind this memorable title. Many guides throw a few production pin-ups in the back and call it a "feature," the Off Base Master Codex series aims to deliver something more. Part strategy guide, part art book, totally awesome from cover to cover.

BONUS ROUND: Backers of the original Mercenary Kings Kickstarter entitled to the digital art book will be automatically upgraded to a digital copy of the Mercenary Kings Master Codex if funding is successful! 

The staff at Off Base Productions is stacked with years of experience producing strategy guides for AAA titles. The primary leads on the Mercenary Kings project are:

Josh Richardson, Lead Author - Josh has over seven years of experience in the video game industry, starting in the trenches of QA at companies like LucasArts (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed) and Double Fine (Brütal Legend) before joining the OBP editorial staff in 2010. His previous strategy guide credits include Twisted Metal, InFamous 2, Playstation All-Stars, and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.

Brady Hartel, Lead Designer - Brady is a killer designer and accomplished artist in all forms of media, whether it be for guides, artbooks, digital instruction manuals, or user interfaces. His impressive list of strategy guide design credits includes Playstation All-Stars, Disgaea 1 & 3, and Persona 4. Mr. Hartel is also a key member of the Skullgirls development team, serving as the lead UI designer/animator and production artist.

Tim Lindquist, Production Director - Mr. Lindquist leads the design department at Off Base Productions, and is the founder of Hardcore Gamer Magazine and OnionBat Books (formerly known as DoubleJump). He has overseen the production of several critically-acclaimed guides for fan-favorite series' including Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Persona, and Disgaea

This project is a labor of love for our team, and they're ready to give it their all should our project succeed.

Work in Progress Characters sample. Click Link for Larger Image.
Work in Progress Characters sample. Click Link for Larger Image.
Work in Progress Mission Sample. Click Link for Larger Image
Work in Progress Mission Sample. Click Link for Larger Image

We've got a lot of sweet Mercenary Kings-themed goodies for our backers! A full list of all of our Kickstarter supporters will be printed in the back of the guide. We wouldn't be able to make this project happen without you, and you deserve some credit! Now, let's talk about those goodies.

The reason you're here. A beautiful 200-page, full-color hardcover guide for Mercenary Kings. Available in standard and limited edition variants, both versions are exclusive to Kickstarter backers.

As an added bonus, a digital copy of the guide is included in all backer reward tiers $5 or higher. The general public release of the digital version will retail for around $10, so backers save some cash too.

Beautiful box art on one side, as many in-game maps as we can fit on the other.

Early thumbnail of the 11x17 art print by Kinuko.
Early thumbnail of the 11x17 art print by Kinuko.

Kinuko is the lead animator on Skullgirls and previously worked on Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game with the rest of the Tribute Games team. You can check out more of her work on Tumblr (Note: Some images NSFW): kinucakes.tumblr.com

Show off your status as an elite member of the Mercenary Kings with this high-quality embroidered patch.

USB Drive features game stats and game logo!
USB Drive features game stats and game logo!

Miss out on the original Mercenary Kings Kickstarter from Tribute Games? Then upgrade your digital arsenal with this unique bullet-casing USB thumb drive. The drive comes preloaded with:

  • A copy of the Mercenary Kings game
  • Mercenary Kings soundtrack
  • Digital copy of the Mercenary Kings Master Codex

Limited to 100 units, these 1/12 scale arcade replicas are hand-crafted by our friends at Retro Heart in the UK. Created in the MVS-style, each cab features full color artwork, detailed controls, and a 1.5" LCD screen that displays images from the game! The screens are recharged via USB, and you can also load your own custom images or animated GIF. 

Each unit is hand-numbered and a truly unique collectable. We'll be showing off these units in greater detail very soon!

For the hardcore connoisseur, these real military backpacks come stuffed with every single physical reward we offer, including the 1/12 scale arcade replica and both standard and limited edition variant copies of the guide! Strictly limited to 10 units.

We found a new printer, so all physical copies of the Mercenary Kings Master Codex have already been upgraded to a hardcover without needing to raise any additional funds! 

We'll look into stretch goals if, and when, we reach our funding goal. 

OBP is a firm believer in open and honest communications with our clients and partners, and that includes our Kickstarter backers. We'll have some exciting updates during the course of our campaign, but the contents of the Mercenary Kings Master Codex are subject to change as production continues. In any case, you'll be the first to know when new developments arise.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Funding

Producing a strategy guide is an expensive, time-intensive project. Our partnership with Tribute Games gives us access to the art assets and game resources we'll need to write, design, and produce the strategy guide, but it's up to our backers to get the funding going. Funds will be used to pay staff during production of the guide, print and productions costs for guides/rewards, and fulfillment costs. In the spirit of transparency, here's the rough breakdown of our budget:

$20,000 - Labor costs (Authoring, Design, Layout, Art Commissions)
$30,000 - Physical goods production (Printed Guide, Rewards)
$15,000 - Reward fulfillment (Shipping materials, postage, etc)

Production Schedule and Delivery Expectations

We're shooting for a late 2013 delivery of the guide to coincide with the PS4 release of Mercenary Kings and ensure guide accuracy. Production is expected to take 2-3 months to complete the guide, but may take longer depending on the development schedule of Mercenary Kings. Printing will also add another 4-6 weeks before the guides can be shipped out, but the digital version will be delivered to all backers immediately after we go to print.

In any case, we'll keep you up to date throughout the entire process. We've been down this road before and plan to mitigate any delays to our best ability.

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    THE ONE SHOT SOLUTION: Missed out on the original Mercenary Kings Kickstarter? Rectify that in one shot with an 8GB USB thumb drive made from a BULLET CASING! Features a laser-etched Mercenary Kings logo and comes pre-loaded with the a digital copy of the artbook, game soundtrack, and a digital copy of the Mercenary Kings game for PC!

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