Embark on a medieval seafaring adventure featuring trading, exploration and pirates. Lead your crew of chosen warriors to victory and ensure that your village is prepared for the coming winter.
This battle may be lost, but The Great Whale Road is still coming to Steam Early Access in May!
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So we had a team meeting. Bera the Grumpy threatened everyone with her axe. Eadric the Wise tried to avoid bloodshed. Hild the Foulmouth sweared a lot and in the end we decided to add a special addition option. Yule is only a week or so away ...
Additions to Reward Tiers:
- Tiers €8-€18: Every existing and new backer in these tiers will receive one backer exclusive in-game Hunnic character. You can choose either Boarex (a female Hunnic warrior) or Bleda (a male Hunnic warrior).
- Tiers €25-€75: Every existing and new backer in these tiers will receive both backer exclusive in-game Hunnic characters.
- Tier €125 and above: Backers will receive the two exclusive in-game Hunnic characters and one The Great Whale Road 'cultures' t-shirt (global shipping included).
- Backers of all tiers from €8 to €125 will get 1 'culture' t-shirt for free, if they add the required amount for shipping to their pledge (€5 for shipping to European Union countries, €15 for international shipping, note that shipping within Spain is €5 for this Special as well!)
- Single-player game which combines RPG elements with crew management, trade and exploration
- Trade or pillage your way across the North Sea. Your game, your decisions!
- Combat design combining turn-based tactics and cards - character cards can be assigned to four classes (heavy, assault, skirmisher, support) and customised with different historical weapons
- PvP Arena: How does your warband fare against friends or foes - and optional drop-in battles
- Digitally hand-drawn and authentic setting
- Releasing on PC, Mac and Linux - Steam Early Access planned for May 2016
- And meet many colourful characters:
What are you waiting for? Go Medieval!
Do we have to send Bera after you?
You can run, but you can't hide from the bad weather!
The whale path has many endings, a cold or bloody death at many of them. Whatever made you leave the warmth of your hearth, the dagger that cuts your throat does not care about your dreams. Choose your companions wisely, your oar brothers and sisters can keep you alive or sell you on a slave market.
The Great Whale Road is set in Early Medieval Europe. The Roman Empire in the West is long gone, and the Germanic tribes of the migration period have started to form their kingdoms in its place. It is a period of cautious stabilisation along the North Sea coast. Traders ship luxury goods along the rivers and the coast from places like Constantinople and Egypt.
You will manage your ship and its crew. Your village needs you, make sure to gather enough supplies during the sailing season for the winter to come. The game features historical cultures like Danes, Picts, Anglo-Saxons like Northumbrians and Angles, Britons, Franks and more.
Explore the coast to discover safe harbours, markets and villages.
The most important currency on the whale road is renown. Companions will follow you more willingly, if some of your fame rubs off onto them. Renown is not only gained by slaying ones enemies, but also by exploring and heroic deeds. Set sail with your party to gain renown and find supplies to prepare your village for the coming winter.
Help your crew to solve their problems, and someone might stop the arrow aimed at your throat. If you want to be a leader, become a ring-giver worth of sagas.
Will the bards sing your tale or will you be forgotten?
Single-Player Saga Mode, PvP Mode & Drop-in Battles
- Crew Management: You manage a ship and its crew led by your chosen hero. Choose from a number of heroes including a fearless warrior, a weathered trader and an exiled murderer.
- Exploration: Travel and explore the coast. Discover stories and follow their threads to uncover quests, hidden treasures, and quite often, death.
- Choices & Decisions: Find the best ways to supply your village, and increase your renown. You decide - be a hero or villain. But even a villain is a hero to some.
- RPG: Select classes and assign abilities as well as equipment, which can be upgraded as characters gain renown.
- Trading: Discover trade routes, historical trading towns and avoid pirates (and customs officials). And yes, you will be able to take prisoners, sell them as slaves or ransom them back to their own people. This is the Dark Ages after all!
- Turn-based Combat with Cards: Quick paced turn-based fights against the AI or fellow humans in drop-in battles and PvP.
Look forward to:
- Picts! And seven other historical culture groups to recruit from including Anglo-Saxons, Britons, Franks, Frisians, Danes, Saxons and Bretons.
- Ships! Early longships, trading ships and curraghs.
- Dorestad and York! Historical locations and trade goods. Get rich or die trying, and avoid being sold into slavery by your enemies or your own crew.
- Hjalti the Unwashed! Unique heroes, champions and crew for each playable culture.
- A finger bone of a saint! Story-driven quests and fetching stuff from across the sea.
In The Great Whale Road you will not only manage your warband, but you will also build decks by combining your warriors with cultural and class abilities and war cries.
Your heroes, champions and spear fodder are equipped with armour sets aligning them with one of four classes:
- Heavy: Decent armour and at least fyrd level training for men and women fighting in the shieldwall
- Assault: Killers, berserkers and zealots - not too concerned about their personal safety
- Skirmishers: Hunters, careful professionals or just someone especially gifted with the bow, throwing spear, and sling.
- Support: Pious monks, murderous priests and pagan sorceresses - bandages, honey and magic mushrooms.
Each class has specific war cries and special abilities. Armour sets also provide protection against certain types of side effects.
Weapons and Side Effects
All the weapons in the game are based on archaeological finds, historical sources and reconstructions.
There is a wide range of weapons already included and we are adding more over time.
Different weapon types and cards can cause a variety of historically and medically correct combat injuries - a pierced foot, a torn meniscus, internal bleeding, broken bones and many more. It seems that the legs were especially vulnerable to injury.
Above you can see the basic side effects, but there are a lot more planned. Odin!
The development preview of our core combat gameplay is available for Windows and Mac now. A Linux build is available too, but we only recommend it for experienced Linux DIY fans. Please remember that we are still in development, so this is just a taster of what we are working on – it is work in progress, with some placeholders and defects. But we really want to show you where we are heading. It is for two players online, Internet connectivity required.
Head over to our website for the download.
This is barebones functionality and the final combat will have complex war cries, class and cultural abilities, more weapons and armour sets, character progression and AI. None of that is in the preview, but it allows you get a feeling for the atmosphere of the full game. The deck building and armoury screens will change, they exist in this form only for this preview and contain some placeholder art. You can find a ‘How to play’ inside the preview, as well as some help.
Playing this combat preview can be a little adventure by itself. Combat is stressful and life in 650 A.D is harsh. A hero might decide to sleep in, or a berserker might refuse to die in battle. The norns have been seen cutting a thread on occasion, and Fenrir's chain is a prototype. Beware!
All bugs found will make their way into the Book of Defects, they will be dried and crushed before we go into Early Access.
We are too small a team to support this preview for long, and I am sure everyone agrees that we should focus on the full game. So we will log all issues found and put them on the defect tracker to fix them for Early Access. Your feedback is much appreciated, you can find our forum thread here.
Trading never stopped in Europe after the fall of Rome. The trade along rivers and the North Sea coast continued, as archaeology and surviving custom legislation clearly show. We try to represent trading in the game accordingly.
As communities were self-sufficient, trade focussed on luxury and prestige items. German ceramics, glass, Frankish swords, Byzantine jewellery and exotic spices were traded for coins, and most likely items like fur, ebony and most importantly slaves. Most slaves were captured during skirmishes and raids and sold across the sea.
The Great Whale Road will feature characters from many of the cultures you would expect to meet along the North Sea coast in 650 A.D. Some of them friendlier than others.
We spent a lot of time researching the period, so most of the things you will see and read in the game are historically accurate. Sometimes we are going out on a limb, but there should be at least one historian, archaeologist, or historical reenactor somewhere who will share our view.
Our composer Víctor Riera has composed two tracks for us already:
- Limited to 5 items per backer. Please add €5 for shipping to European Union countries, and €15 for international shipping. Shipping within Spain is free. You only need to add shipping ONCE per order. You will be able to choose how to spend your add-on money once backer surveys are going out. Please message us if you have any questions!
- Physical Art Book: €35
- T-Shirt: €15
These are draft designs and minor changes are possible. The final designs will be confirmed before we'll send out backer surveys.
- The Great Whale Road will be available for Windows, Mac and Linux. It will be available on Steam (we have been Greenlit!) and also as a DRM-free download.
- Early Access will only be available for backers choosing the Steam Key! Please keep this in mind when answering the backer survey.
- We are considering an iOS and Android version for tablets. This would happen sometime after the PC and Mac release. Reaching stretch goal territory could allow us to achieve this sooner.
Sunburned Games is a newly founded indie studio, and we have assembled a team combining promising young talent and industry veterans.
Joachim, one of our founders and CEO, managed global technology start-up and financial technology software projects for well over a decade and after nine years in London he decided that he wanted to do something more fun. So he and Birgit, his wife and co-founder, started Sunburned Games here in Valencia. Joachim manages the studio, while Birgit looks after the finances and commercial aspects. You can find them and nearly all the team on LinkedIn, if you want to find out more about their backgrounds.
One of our objectives is to give graduates, young artists and developers an opportunity to start working in the industry. First jobs are hard to come by everywhere, in Spain as well as in the video games industry it is even a wee bit harder. But you need folks who have shipped games as well, so here is everyone - not really in alphabetical order:
Axel Garcia: Our technology lead, who worked for studios in London (Future Games of London - which is now a Ubisoft studio) and Brighton before returning to Valencia. Before joining our team he was the lead developer for Dungeon Legends. Proud owner of an Honourable Mention from IGF 2010.
Kevin Wicks: Our man in the UK and consulting us on all art matters. Works on video games since 1995. Worked for Microprose, Eidos, Silicon Dreams, Rebellion, Other Ocean, EA Mobile among others.
Joachim Sammer: Runs the studio, writes for the game and is also acting community and social media manager. Used to be a Senior Vice President at Citigroup. Had the idea for The Great Whale Road after reading too much Bernard Cornwell.
Sergio Francés: Studied fine arts and is thus one of our artists. Also our go-to-man for animations. Did some extraordinary Capoeira when he was just a bit younger, claims he can do all his tricks.
Paloma Latorre: Studied graphic design and has a master in video game art. Works with Sergio to digitally hand-draw all the art and animations you can see in the game. She is also looking after graphic design, and gets very cross if we don't follow her guidelines.
Lance Calveley: We met Lance at the local game developer social, and he impressed us with his turn-based tactics and TCG knowledge. He is now looking after design aspects and the balancing. He also helps out with PR.
Johnny Salazar: Studied something with computers as well. Moves development tasks from the left to the right on the SCRUM board, that's the good direction. Johnny has build up a portfolio of projects while learning Unity and Unreal.
The Interns: Internships are important, and we are offering them whenever we can. We have to thank Belén, our historical research intern this summer, who amassed a huge amount of background and reference material for the game. Pablo, our current art intern, scares us daily with his raw talent.
Víctor Riera: Our composer, and also provided the sounds for the demo. He works on a few games at the moment, check out his website.
Andrés Grueiro: Someone important in the association of video game development students here in Spain and junior film maker, who studied at ECAM. Works with us on trailers.
Birgit Sammer: Last but not least important. A career in the City of London has prepared her well to look after the financial dependencies of an indie studio. Makes sure invoices and salaries are paid on time.
Can you make a game like The Great Whale Road for €50,000? If you do it off-shore and live off your savings maybe. But as we are a studio in Europe, working on the game full time, the costs to produce The Great Whale Road will be a multiple of the amount we are aiming to raise here. The difference is funded by the founders. They have also spent around one year of unpaid work on the project so far. You can see we are committed to our vision for the studio and to The Great Whale Road as a project.
The objective of this campaign is to raise funds which will go directly into game development: design, art, coding and music. We want to get The Great Whale Road to a point where we can push through the remaining development in one year with all the polish we as gamers expect ourselves. Any Kickstarter funds will be used to strengthen the team in key areas of development and art, work with a professional writer as well as expand on soundtrack and sound effects.
Other business and marketing costs are covered by the studio, as we don't want to use Kickstarter funds for those purposes.
We have put together the following table to show which rewards are included for which pledge level:
You are already a hero! We tried to keep this page as short as possible, but Kickstarter pages have this tendency to grow and then grow some more. We really hope that you like what we can show you of The Great Whale Road so far. You can follow our progress on our website and you can contact us on email@example.com.
Risks and challenges
Game development combines the risks of software engineering with the risks of entertainment projects. To prevent the sky from falling on our heads we have built a team which covers both dimensions. While we are a new studio we represent 25+ years of game development, and easily 15+ years of software engineering projects as a team. We are also using proven technology platforms like Unity, and Playfab/Photon for our multiplayer implementation to keep technology risks to a minimum. If we run into any challenges, we'll fix them. That's part of our job.
A game like The Great Whale Road needs a lot more financing than we are asking for here. The lion's share of the required funds is being provided by the founders of Sunburned Games S.A., which is a registered entity with EU VAT number, registered accounts and all.
We started work in April, and are now in pre-alpha state. We have implemented a playable showcase of the combat system, which is available as a work in progress demo. Other parts of the game only exist in the design document, mock-ups or paper prototypes to date and we will focus on them, iteration by iteration, starting in December. A successful Kickstarter will help us create all the mechanics and content we believe will make it a great game. In addition we will also release the game into early access as we think it is good practice to get players' feedback throughout the development process, and any early access sales will allow us to focus on creating the game first and cash flow second.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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