Dorothy's great-great-granddaughter joins forces with Tin Woodman and Lion to battle Scarecrow's mindless army for control of Oz. Read more
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on July 14, 2013.
About this project
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We've decided to remove the Alice: Otherlands stretch goal from this campaign and start another Kickstarter just for Alice. Please, do not pledge to those tiers so we may remove them. Stay tuned for more information!
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OZombie is a narrative-driven action-adventure game set within an alternate version of the Oz universe created by L. Frank Baum. The game's themes and characters are inspired by Baum’s deeply imaginative books (all 14 of them!) then filtered through the story and art treatment you've seen applied to our other games like Alice: Madness Returns and Akaneiro: Demon Hunters.
- OZombie will be first and foremost a single player game. You'll play as Dorothy and be able to persuade many of the captivating fiction’s familiar characters such as Tik Tok and Billina to join your hunting party
- OZombie will also support an optional multiplayer mode, which you can unlock after finishing the single player experience. In multiplayer you'll be able to select from a range of player characters and enjoy competitive features like Raids and Tournaments..
The game will:
- Feature a variety of perspectives and game modes with an emphasis on role-playing, tactical combat, exploration and story telling.
- Feature exploration and role-play in a 3rd-person perspective with a turn-based streamlined combat.
- Be developed using Unity 3D technology
- Be delivered to most platforms Unity3D can target, but initially launch on Linux, Mac, PC (Windows) and latest-gen tablets.
- Be localized for play world-wide (EFIGS and more).
- Support offline single-player mode, though you'll need to complete a one-time online website registration in order to download your game.
- Contain NO form of DRM.
If you enjoyed Scrapland or the Zelda games, then this will be a game for you. Join the fight against Scarecrow and his demented minions and restore the ruined world of Oz to its former glory. .
While inspired by Baum, our Oz will be a non-conformist version, distinct from both his original, and ALL subsequent adaptations (including American’s Oz project, which Atari killed nearly a decade ago). Honoring Baum’s sublime vision, Oz is a real place, rather than a young girl’s dream. That idea was an MGM invention.
Our antagonist is Scarecrow, once king of the Emerald City, later ousted in a coup, and eventually exiled to a life of solitude, despite being described as "the wisest man in all Oz." There's a lot of frustration, misunderstanding and rage contained within his life's journey. After enduring such insults, who can blame him for wanting to retake his rightful position and establish an Oz where his intelligence and rule will never again be questioned?
Our Oz is mystical, filled with magic, enchantment, and a vast collection of unique “Ozite” artifacts. Where Scarecrow holds sway, you’ll find adapted and evolved hardware imported by visitors from other lands, usually represented in a style called "steampunk," which has its own particular look and feel. Other countries still under resistance retain much of the beauty of Oz.
The Land of Oz, as in the books, is divided into four diverse countries, with four distinctive populations – Munchkins are in the East, Winkies in the West; Gillikins in the North and Quadlings in the South. At the center of Oz you'll find the legendary Emerald City, the capital and home to the ruler of Oz. Beyond these native territories and the deadly deserts that surround them are many more lands to be explored.
Our Oz, distant and remote, is an island set in the Pacific Ocean. Freed from the constraints and conventions of Western culture, we can explore themes of society and self-reliance in a sort of 'clean room' environment. Dorothy will arrive by boat, a refugee from a world on the brink of ecological and societal collapse
As a kid I was a huge fan of Robert Heinlein’s stories. There are several "Heinlein themes" that I like and want to explore: Individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies (and vice versa), the influence of organized religion on society - and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. Hence, "zombies" are destroying Oz in a mindless (heh) fashion, without thinking of the future consequences of their actions. The fact that they are "zombies" or that their leader is obsessed with "brains" is less about the traditional "brain eating" concept of zombies and more about mindless conformist behavior.
The Immortals of Oz will play important roles in the larger narrative theme - Ak, the Master Woodman and Bo, the Master Mariner - represent various aspects of nature and balance in Oz. When Dorothy arrives, Scarecrow has already managed to murder Kern, the Master Husbandman, god of farming.
After converting most of the Land of Oz to his faction, Scarecrow now seeks to destroy the remaining Immortals. He fights to free Oz from "lazy magic" and to begin a new era where "life matters because there is death." His idea of utopia is one where creativity, passion and imagination are evil and should be repressed. Mindless repetitive activities and Luddite prejudices align with his goals. Happiness comes from conformity.
Not zombies of the flesh-eating variety, OZombie seeks to speak to the individual who goes about their daily life oblivious to the socio-political forces that shape and determine the quality of life. In his search for brains, Scarecrow has turned the peoples of Oz into mindless automatons, one and all.
The OZombies sing a siren's song (do a dance, cast a spell, worship an object?) other Ozites cannot resist. By the time Dorothy arrives most Ozites have forgotten why they still bother to resist - defeat seems inevitable, things are too far gone and hey... being an OZombie isn't all that bad.
Scarecrow has infected a larger society in which survival has become the only value; do anything to survive is the mantra that all his followers conform to and perpetuate. So killing him is neither victory nor resolution. Dorothy will have to do much more -- build communities and persuade allies to root out and destroy the damage to multiple cultural and political institutions to restore a humanistic civilization. The return of individual integrity, responsibility, and non-conformity is arduous and dangerous.
This is Dorothy's challenge. This is YOUR challenge.
This is me with RJ Berg on a trip to meet Chairman Mao. RJ is a founding partner in Spicy Horse and has been my creative partner since we were teamed up at Electronic Arts over 14 years ago. Apparently, Mao is dead.
At EA, RJ and I worked together to create the world, characters and narrative for American McGee's Alice. When development on Alice finished EA fired RJ (after 15 years of employment) and allowed the game's developer, Rogue Entertainment, to go out of business. In protest I quit my position at EA and went independent with RJ. Since then we've worked on crafting stories for games like "Grimm," "Alice: Madness Returns," "Akaneiro: Demon Hunters" and other Spicy Horse projects. We collaborate on all things story, but tend to divide our efforts between major story elements and arcs (which I largely drive) and dialog (which RJ largely writes). This collaboration has served us and our products well.
When it comes to themes, a lot of my "narrative voice" comes from my own youth, which might be described as "troubled." Fortunately, RJ understands quite well the parts of my past that drive the dark inspiration for stories like "Alice." It's against this backdrop and via this creative collaboration that I feel mine and RJ's best storytelling is done. Following in what's become a tradition for our games, OZombie will encourage players to explore themes and challenges related to independence, personal identity, coming of age, trust, overcoming adversity, and perseverance.
Spicy Horse Games was founded in 2007 and has developed a diverse collection of games across PS3, 360, PC, Mac, Linux, web and mobile. Almost all of our games have contained a "twisted fairytale" theme because it's a narrative and artistic domain we feel comfortable exploring. With a focus on interesting projects and high quality of life for our employees, we've managed to attract and retain some of the best and brightest artists, animators, programmers and developers from around China and the globe.
Spicy Horse has the longest and most distinguished tenure of all the indie Western development studios in Shanghai. We have established a reputation for delivering unique games, built a positive development culture and proven that indie development in China is not only possible, but highly rewarding for everyone involved.
Mysterious, maybe a little ominous, The Box is rumored to hold secrets related to OZombie and/or Alice: Otherlands. Only American knows for sure. Pandora and Jim's attempts to open The Box resulted in pain and frustration. What they didn't know is that only a magic number can open The Box. That magic number is 6000. When our campaign hits 6000 backers The Box will open and its secrets, whatever they may be, will be revealed. The Box will then be free to choose another owner and to hold a fresh cargo of secrets.
1st Stretch Goal: 6000 Backers, we will open the Box!
2nd Stretch Goal: 11,000 Backers, Chris Vrenna joins to compose the soundtrack!
3rd Stretch Goal:
These items can be purchased in addition to your tier pledge. In order to do so, simply add the amount of the item (plus any shipping) to your pledge amount. When the survey comes around at the end of the Kickstarter, you'll be able to indicate what the additional monies are for.
Single Player Game (addl.) - $15
"Which Witch?" Poster: $25 +$5 intl. shipping
Cloth Map of OZombie Land: $30 + $5 intl. shipping
OZombie T-shirt: $30 + $5 intl. shipping
Limited Edition Dorothy Figurine: $45 + $12 intl. shipping
Limited Edition Tin Woodman Figurine: $45 + $12 intl. shipping
The Art of OZombie: $65 + $10 intl. shipping
"Back to OZ" Canvas Poster: $75 + $10 intl. shipping
"China Town" Canvas Poster: $75 + $10 intl. shipping
"Rose Kingdom" Camvas Poster: $75 + $10 intl. shipping
Limited Edition Physical Box with Game: $75 + $10 intl. shipping
"Dorothy Meets the Tin Woodman" Canvas Poster: $100 + $10 intl. shipping
Emerald Glass Steampunk Goggles: $150 + $20 intl. shipping
Risks and challenges
The design and narrative for OZombie are still in pre-production, so many of the major challenges have yet to be outlined. Our team will tackle these as they arise, with the community's desires and concerns taken fully into account. We're planning for a collaborative design and production process, where backers will have access to and influence over the game design and direction through our Kickstarter backer bulletin boards.
OZombie will require our development team to combine elements of design, narrative and technology in unique ways. Presented alone, we've proven our ability to deliver a narrative-driven single-player game (Alice: Madness Returns) and multiplayer online ARPG design (Akaneiro: Demon Hunters), but OZombie will push us to combine AAA art, a strong single-player narrative and multiplayer online functionality into a single product. This is the sort of challenge that our studio has thrived on for years.
With your support and input we have a chance to invent an innovative and exciting take on OZ that will be ours to expand upon, improve and support for years to come. Please support OZombie and help us do best what we love doing!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
It's 42 days for the 42 official books in the Oz canon.
If you pledged at the $50/55 or above tier, then yes. For lower tiers, there will be costs connected with large expansion pack releases - in other words, all the "normal" updates you see on a weekly or monthly basis will be free - but when we release a massive content pack every 6 months, there will likely be a fee associated with that.
The game will be split into a single player offline mode and online multiplayer mode. Based on initial feedback from our audience during early pre-production we've decided to go this route and avoid the idea of "always online" for the single player mode. This means that progress made in single player - or items crafted, traded or otherwise attained in multiplayer - cannot cross between modes. If the game were structured so that single player required a connection, then we could build a seamless connection between the two modes. Not having a seamless connection between the two modes is the trade-off we make in order to avoid "always online."
After an initial purchase there will be no on-going subscription or requirement to purchase in-game items using real money. Put a different way, after the one time, up-front purchase you'll be able to play the single and multiplayer aspects of the game for no further cost. For the multiplayer aspect of the game we're still exploring the idea of an in-game shop for items
Since we're developing with Unity3D, we're able to deliver the game to any and all platforms/devices supported by their tech. We're currently planning the initial release on PC (Windows), Mac, Linux and large screen mobile devices (tablets and large format phones). Please don't worry about the mobile delivery somehow "watering down" the experience on other platforms - we're able to maximize visuals per platform, independent of other devices or platforms. As for consoles, Ouya and future devices - we'll do our best to get the game on as many platforms and devices as possible, but will need to work with Sony, Microsoft and others to get distribution in place for their proprietary platforms.
We're huge fans of the technology, backers of the Kickstarter and in possession of the development kit. We'll do everything we can to make sure OZombie appears in all its glory on the Rift but it will depend upon budgetary and time constraints.
I won't stop trying to make new Alice games. As you can see from all the early pre-production work we were doing on Otherlands, we're still happy to devote resources and time to developing new ideas around Alice's story. That will continue long into the future.
We're still having meaningful and productive conversations with EA regarding Alice. Truth is, it's an important bit of IP for them and for us (and for you!) which means that negotiating a deal is going to take time. This is normal. Think about it this way - it took over 12 months (yes, 12 months!) to negotiate and close a deal for "Alice: Madness Returns." This time around, we started talking with EA about a new "Alice" during GDC 2013 and those talks are still ongoing. Everyone involved in the talks knew about the upcoming Kickstarter campaign and has worked towards getting something in place that would could link with the campaign. Who knows? We might still get there before this campaign ends, but past experience has taught me not to bet on things like this.
What's certain is that your support of OZombie today will help put Spicy Horse in a better position to tackle another Alice game in the future. Our work on "Grimm" is what convinced EA to fund "Alice: Madness Returns," so it stands to reason that our continued development of technology and content helps prove we're still able to make good on any designs for a new Alice game. So, if not for the sake of OZombie today, then think about supporting Spicy Horse in general for the sake of a new Alice game sometime in the future.
- (42 days)