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Stay awhile and read to the music of this ambient track by our composer, Philip Eberhart.
Nick Connor just got dumped by Madison, his girlfriend of four years. Enter his life in the wake of their breakup and explore his memories of their relationship. a•part•ment is a narrative-driven adventure game that will be released for PC, Mac, and Linux in Spring 2016 on Steam and DRM-free.
a•part•ment is an intimate look at Nick's state of mind as he picks through the wreckage of his relationship with Madison. Join him as he seeks self-consolation in the apartment they once shared. Venture outside to visit his neighbors: a displaced loner, a lost daughter, a grieving widow, an uncertain newlywed. Enter their apartments — their lives, their relationships, their innermost thoughts — as they seek their own resolutions.
a•part•ment is a story-driven game, a bit like an interactive novel or movie where the way you play helps to tell the story. We wanted to create a strong connection between you, the player, and the characters whose stories are told in the game. Different sections of a•part•ment have different mechanics that put you in the lives of the characters you play. In some sections you actively build the story, in others the story is in the environment and unfolds as you progress through it.
Nick is a comic artist who just got dumped by Madison, his girlfriend of four years. Now alone in the apartment they once shared, he is trying to work through his thoughts and feelings about her and the years they spent together.
Recently graduated from college, Jim's dream job required him to move across the country and leave everything familiar behind. Jim is now struggling to establish a new life and a new home for himself in a place full of strangers.
Rose is a recent newlywed and up-and-coming novelist. Her newfound fame has introduced a dazzling world into which she is trying to fit her old life and her spouse.
At a young age, May met William on a cable car — it was love at first sight. They were together until the day he died. May is trying to figure out how to cope with losing the love of her life.
Work and a divorce created a rift between Anne and her father, John. Both of them reflect on the past and try to figure out when and why they became so distant from each other.
We're a small team and in order to achieve the quality that a•part•ment and its story deserve, we need to bring in outside help. Kickstarter funding will allow us to bring in talented artists and live musicians who will help us tell our stories in an even stronger way. a•part•ment is a powerful, emotional story and deserves to be told in the most beautiful way we can tell it.
Where we're at, what we need
We have worked on a•part•ment for two years, originally as a student project at the University of Southern California’s Interactive Media & Games Division, and have created a solid foundation for the game so far. We have since graduated and recently gained the time to continue work on the game.
The stories of Nick and Madison and their neighbors are completely written. Many of the neighbors' vignettes are in alpha phase, meaning they are fully playable but in need of further playtesting and refinement. We will be completely revisiting three out of nine neighbor vignettes and reworking them based on the feedback we received at GDC and other venues.
Finally and most importantly, we want a•part•ment to be beautiful. Aesthetics don't make the story, but bad aesthetics can certainly distract from an otherwise wonderful one. Your contributions to our Kickstarter mean we can replace art that was always meant to be temporary. They mean our composer, Philip, can record with professional musicians instead of using sampled instruments! This Kickstarter allows us to make a•part•ment the best it can be.
25% - Music. We will be hiring musicians to record live performances for a•part•ment. No more sampled instruments!
20% - 3D Art and Animations. The current characters and animations were done by our team, none of whom are professional animators. We'll be revamping the characters and their animations to better portray their personalities and stories.
20% - 2D Art. We're replacing all of the illustrations and motion graphics in the game. Look forward to more motion and more detail!
20% - Kickstarter Fees and Taxes. A portion of collected Kickstarter pledges go towards fees from Kickstarter, taxes, and payments that can't get processed (for example because of account issues or rejected credit cards).
15% - Kickstarter Rewards and Fulfillment. We will be funding the production of physical Kickstarter rewards and shipping them to you.
Kickstarter Courtyard Name: We're creating a separate, explorable area to thank our lovely backers! You'll be able to access the Kickstarter Courtyard from the main menu and it will appear in all versions of the game so backers and non-backers can access it. Think of it as a navigable credit screen. Find your name and enjoy the ambience.
Playful Breakup Tweet: We'll send a playful breakup tweet to a friend of your choice! We'll be sending them out each day as we work on the game. It will follow the format:
@FRIEND From @BACKERTWITTER/BACKERFIRSTNAME: "[Silly breakup message]"
You can suggest a topic for the breakup message such as "Dentures."
Exclusive Backer Demo: We're giving our backers access to an extended demo! This demo will include the first vignette for each neighbor's story (rather than just Jim's, as in the public demo). The demo will be playable but not necessarily representative of the final, polished game. After our Kickstarter finishes, we'll send you a download link to the demo.
Digital Game: Get a DRM-free digital copy of the game for Windows, Mac, Linux, distributed via the HumbleStore, and a Steam key (or two if you picked the $40 Let's Just Be Friends tier).
Digital Soundtrack + Sheet Music: Get the beautiful and heartbreaking a•part•ment soundtrack by Philip Eberhart. Includes unused tracks. We're also including digital sheet music for some of a•part•ment's featured music tracks so you can play the music yourselves!
Digital Art Book: A digital art book that contains tons of concept art and 3d art from a•part•ment's development history. Also includes developer commentary and unused materials.
T-Shirt: Wear your heart on your sleeve with an a•part•ment t-shirt.
Poster: A gorgeous 36" x 12" panoramic poster for your apartment walls.
Kickstarter Courtyard Tree: You and your sweetheart will get a forever heart carved on a tree in the Kickstarter Courtyard. The a•part•ment artist will add a special carving with your and your SO's initials or names to one of the Kickstarter Courtyard trees.
Disclaimer: The a•part•ment team does not condone carving real trees, only digital ones!
Kickstarter Courtyard Name Plaque: We're giving our highest tiers a special digital plaque in the Kickstarter Courtyard. When we've finished building the Kickstarter Courtyard we'll send Pretty As a Picture ($1000 tier) and Together Forever ($2000 tier) backers a map so they can choose where they'd like their plaque to go.
Digital Portrait: Our artist will draw you (with another person, if you'd like) in Nick's comic style. We'll mail you a high quality physical print and it will appear in the game on Nick’s bulletin board.
Acrylic on Canvas Portrait: Our artist will paint a portrait of you (with another person, if you'd like) in acrylics. We'll mail you the original canvas painting and it will appear in the game in Nick and Madison's study.
The a•part•ment team is The Elsewhere Company and our super awesome friends! The project was originally a MFA thesis project at the University of Southern California’s Interactive Media & Games Division.
We're a small group of skilled designers, engineers, artists, and writers. We've all been pouring our time and effort into this game because we love it and we hope you'll love it, too!
The pledges we receive from this Kickstarter campaign will be used to pay the extra talent we need to hire in order to reach the final level of polish the game needs. You are helping us continue working on the things we love.
Robyn Gray is a co-founder and designer at Otherworld Interactive. a•part•ment was her Master's thesis for USC's Interactive Media MFA program. She is the lead narrative designer, primary 3D artist, writer, and engineer.
Richard Emms is an experience engineer at Oculus VR. Graduating from USC's Interactive Media MFA program in 2014, his master's thesis was on visualization and analysis of interactive systems of play. He is lead gameplay designer and lead programmer on a•part•ment.
Raghav Bashyal is an indie game developer, IndieCade festival organizer, and a recent graduate of the USC Games undergraduate program. He has made games about flying shoes, a talking gameboy, trippy 9/11 fantasies, his grandmother, Lenin, and a dead guy named Alfred. He is a designer and programmer on a•part•ment.
Philip Eberhart is a•part•ment's composer and sound designer. After graduating Berklee College of Music, he moved to Los Angeles to work as a composer's assistant at Hans Zimmer’s composer complex. Philip has created sound for virtual reality experiences, short films, video games, and documentaries.
Steve Cha is currently an MFA candidate in USC's Interactive Media and Game Division. He focuses on revisionist works, and capturing irony through game design. He is also a comic sans enthusiast and works on a•part•ment as a writer.
Rachel Goyeau-McCay is the a•part•ment team's newest addition. She will be creating all of the new 2D art for the game and is the artist behind the t-shirt and poster designs for this campaign. Back the Kickstarter so we can hire her full-time!
Special thanks to our awesome community manager, Kelsey Beachum, who has helped us navigate the unknown waters of crowdfunding, social media, and press! And Trish for putting up with our lack of on-camera charisma (so many "um"s!) and making us look amazing! <3
- Every little bit helps. Any contribution you can make will help us on our way! And if you can't contribute but still love the game, there are lots of other ways you can help out.
- Follow and share our Twitter, @aseparatedplace, and like our Facebook page! Retweets, favorites, likes, and compliments — we love all of these things! :D Here's a pre-written tweet (via clicktotweet) if you don't want to write one yourself.
- Link and upvote us on Reddit, Imgur, and your favorite communities.
- Play the demo! Play it with a friend or significant other! Get excited, get nostalgic, get inspired!
- Keep an eye out for our updates. We've got some exciting updates lined up with more videos, music, and concept art! Our team will discuss the characters in a•part•ment, our process, and why we're making this sad and beautiful game.
Risks and challenges
No matter the outcome of the Kickstarter, we plan on finishing a•part•ment. A successful Kickstarter will allow us to expand on the game and give it the level of quality that we think it deserves. If the Kickstarter is not successful, the version of a•part•ment we make will be much humbler.
With this in mind, our greatest challenge will be hitting our Spring 2016 release deadline. a•part•ment is already fully scoped out and carefully budgeted. Our team has been working on the game together for over a year and we know our own and each others' capabilities. However, there is always the potential for unexpected delays to our schedule (additional playtesting, final polish, etc). We’ll do our best to stick to our release window, but if necessary will delay release in favor of a rock-solid game. If this happens we’ll keep our backers updated.
Because Kickstarter pledges go straight to outside help and not our core team, we have budgeted accordingly and have already spoken directly with the artists and musicians we will hire to plan our Kickstarter pledge goals. Budget setbacks will not affect our ability to finish the game.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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