A Dreamer's Dream
"Back in my Infocom days, I had the good fortune to spend a bit of time with the late Douglas Adams. Douglas was a huge fan of audio drama. The original BBC Radio edition of Hitchhiker's Guide was always his favorite. Over the years, he and I often discussed a shared dream: to recreate the experience of text adventures in pure sound. A few baby steps were taken, but until recently, the technology to do it really well simply wasn't in place. It's great fun watching Reactive Studios finally realize this vision. [Douglas: "Er, well, not much of a 'vision,' exactly, is it?"]"
We want to entertain a wide audience on a serialized basis with an interactive story. Just like in the days of radio drama, but we're combining it with the narrative techniques of interactive fiction and choose your adventure books... and voice recognition.
About The Gameplay
We're keeping our UI super simple. The experience is entirely sound and story: Writing + Voiceover + SFX + Music. With either a spoken word or a simple tap on the screen you can listen to the drama unfold in a progression similar to the multiple choice dialogue moments that you find in adventure or RPG games. You get to make decisions about what to do and what kind of agent to be in a world of espionage. Your iPhone/iPad recognizes your speech (or accepts the tap of a button) to trigger and play the next sound file so that the characters react to you as the events and story continue.
The Episodic Model
And the story will continue to unfold week after week if we're successful. We're launching in August with Mission 1, which will include a short Prologue and three full episodes in one complete story arc.
[[Sorry agent, details on the heinous plot that you must thwart are still classified! Monitor your typical communication channels for more info in upcoming weeks.]]
If we're funded we can also begin work immediately on the two additional sidequest episodes of Mission 1 so they are ready to release in September. And then we start Mission 2!
We estimate that a single play-through of an episode will be about 15-20 minutes on average, although the total playable content will be a lot more. We'd like the experience of a full serial Mission to equate to the length of a feature film.
We Have the Tools, We Have the Talent!
Logan Cunningham - We knew from the beginning that we needed top notch voice talent. We were thrilled beyond belief when the narrator (Rucks) of Bastion from Supergiant Games agreed to play our first spy nemesis! This man needs no introduction. Just wait until you hear him deliver his villainous speech in Mission 1! If you want a taste, you can check out the teaser trailer on our website.
Sarah Elmaleh - We were equally excited when we recruited Sarah, whose credits include Skulls of the Shogun, Gone Home, and Wadjet Eye Games titles such as Resonance. Sarah is like the "NYC branch" of Reactive Studios!
Rob Wiethoff - The name says it all...
We've also had the good fortune of working with Chris Ciulla of Fallout:NV, YouTube personality Kite Tales, Chris Rando, Emery Westlake, and many others. In total, over 25 actors are involved with the pilot episodes of Codename Cygnus.
Shannon Daly has knocked it out of the park as the sound director of all things Cygnus. She previously did sound for Popcannibal's Girls Like Robots and created an audio narrative for her MA thesis in Media Arts at Emerson.
Li Xiao'an is composing the music and soundtrack for Codename Cygnus. He is an Award-Winning Composer, Audio Designer and Guitarist (Berklee College of Music) who creates Custom Music and Sound Effects for Video Games. He has played on Chart-Topping Pop albums in more than 3 countries and produced audio for Games, Films and Commercial Media.
Brett Apitz rocks as a Sound Designer whose prior work includes VO mastering for Bioshock Infinite.
Heather Albano is the lead writer for Mission 1. She is a novelist and game writer of titles such as Choice of Romance, Choice of Broadsides, and Choice of Zombies.
Jonathon Myers is the creative lead, narrative designer, and writer for Codename Cygnus. Previously a freelancer, Jonathon planned and implemented narrative launch content for Game of Thrones Ascent, by Disruptor Beam. He was also narrative designer and writer of the successful iOS title Jack Lumber by Owlchemy Labs, published by SEGA in 2012. Prior to that, Jonathon was a full time game writer and narrative consultant for Zynga Boston’s Indiana Jones Adventure World, named a top-5 social game of 2011. In addition to co-founding the www.bostonindies.com website, he is a lifetime member of the International Game Developers Association and a member of the Writer's Guild of America Videogame Writer’s Caucus.
You Built a Sound Booth? Wut!?
Yep. We looked into the hourly costs of scheduling and recording our actors in professional studios. It simply wasn't in our budget to do it. We also looked into purchasing a pre-made booth. That, too, wasn't possible. So we did it ourselves. As you can hear in the video, we're now able to produce high quality voiceover any time we like.
We also documented the construction with photos. You can view our FLICKR SET to watch the whole process from beginning to end.
Current Promotional Considerations...
We're doing our best to reach an audience of listeners, which is a part of why we're running this Kickstarter campaign. We even prepared the following 30-second "radio spot" to promote our game on podcasts, websites and social channels.
We believe people out there want to listen to and play an interactive radio drama. Please spread the word in whatever way you can!
Risks and challenges
We believe that because we've already made it this far in our development process, we are a relatively low-risk project. We're a diverse team of designers, artists, and engineers who are extremely passionate about this new form of entertainment and want to share it with you. We are leaning on our expertise in production to anticipate and avoid any bumps in the road.
Sometimes, though, it can be tricky to get through the App Store approval process without any delays. We're paying close attention to the App Store Guidelines and Apple's design requirements, but there will always be the small risk of an initial rejection and a re-application.
Our preparation should allow for a smooth fulfillment process. Should they arise, we are ready to tackle any challenges that come our way.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (25 days)