About this project
This page and demo in Chinese: 你可以在这里查看中文界面
This page and demo in Russian: версия страницы и демо на русском
Find the latest news at: http://www.uof7.com/minotaur/
First things first!
- Minotaur has approximately one hour long v. 0.2 playable demo with voice over for PC and Mac. It's certainly the best way to learn about the game. You'll be in a good company of almost 5 thousand people who played it already.
Download it from: GameJolt | IndieDB | itch.io | Our website
The installation is very simple — just unpack the archive and run executable file. If you have any problems with it, let us know.
- UPD: Minotaur has been Greenlit! It happened pretty fast (before we could even reach top-100)... and we think it's due to incredible amount of amazing support and feedback from people who care about Minotaur. Thank you!!
- UPD-2: over the course of its campaign, Minotaur has been mentioned and featured in media. We decided to boast a bit and made this little compilation of reviews:
With all that out of the way, let us tell you about the game.
Minotaur is a crossover between point and click adventure and visual novel for Windows PC and Mac, inspired largely by games such as Zero Escape and Danganronpa series, various visual novels and quests by LucasArts, Sierra and others.
Here's a short summary of main Minotaur features:
Minotaur will be available on Steam and several DRM-free platforms, such as Game Jolt, itch.io, GOG and possibly more (as long as we're approved for inclusion). When claiming your copy of the game as pledge reward, you'll be able to specify where you would like to get it.
Five routes to kill them all
Minotaur tells a story about a group of characters who find themselves unable to leave their own home.
Tensions rise as things start to take turn for the worse and it becomes clear that their unfortunate situation is not an accident, but a trap of elaborate design. Revealing the identity of its creator and understanding their motives becomes the matter of life and death.
The story unfolds from perspective of five different characters, and although you can only unlock routes in succession, your actions and choices in each of them have universal effect.
We really love this concept! It allows us to introduce some cool relations and make each of four endings feel deserved. Once you know where flags are, it's easy to replay any route while skipping unnecessary parts and experiment.
Exploration and puzzle solving
If the above were visual novels talking, then this is where the adventure part kicks in.
Environments in Minotaur are very detailed and offer a lot to explore, but it's never about pointing and clicking all over the place. Cursor is contextual, and items from inventory are used automatically (which saves you the trouble of trying to get cat hair on masking tape).
We are working hard on making puzzles diverse, logical and connected to game world. One moment you're operating cargo elevator controls to clear the way, the next you're in combat with a drone gone rogue, watching your HP dwindle as you try to use your character skills to survive. Minotaur is not so much a puzzle game as it is an adventure game, but puzzles are its important part.
We have to admit that so far, some puzzles of more classic variety turned out to be quite hard, which is why after initial feedback from the community we introduced hint system. Although if you use it too often, Ollie, your personal AI assistant, will mock you.
Boss fights and special events
Yes, there are boss fights in Minotaur, albeit not quite the usual kind. This is not a FPS after all, and since most characters are not very good with destroying or killing stuff anyway, you will need quick wits to survive.
Another major part of Minotaur are special events — sequences which require your input and (usually) carry strong emotional impact. More often then not, they can have different outcomes which affect your progression and the ending you get.
Each of 5 playable characters has their own unique skills which enhance gameplay and help them on their journey. For example, one of them, Nod, can ask his personal AI assistant, Ollie, for help when there's a special pod nearby, and use Axis vision to visualize currents of Axis energy in the environment.
Here are some other examples:
You'll be able to read more about each of 9 Minotaur characters in a dedicated section further down below.
We included several categories of collectibles in game. Some are added automatically as you progress, while others you have to find.
You can also stumble upon some protoculture references.
Perhaps there's more to this "collecting" thing than meets the eye! Like a secret ending or something... Nah, probably not.
Minotaur is a game with 2,5D animated photorealistic environments and hand-drawn characters. Making it look really, really good is one of our main goals.
There are almost 150 scenes like the one above in Minotaur, and each of them is meticulously planned and crafted. Take a look at this very accelerated video of our lead artist, Adam Kuczek, doing his magic, and constructing background for "Parking lot" scene from scratch.
From the very beginning, we knew that backgrounds had to be alive (it is 2017, after all), and so every scene has its share of animations and visual effects. From large...
...to even the tiniest.
It's all Full HD — Minotaur's native resolution is 1920x1080 (the lowest it supports is 1280x1024), and the game can be played in fullscreen or windowed modes.
By the way, we're using Visionaire Studio to make it all happen. It's a great and reliable engine in itself, but we also believe it's the best choice for a game like Minotaur. It has the right set of tools and provides involvement for every team member, which allows us to do a lot of things fast while maintaining integrity.
Music holds a very special place in Minotaur.
Most of its characters are involved with music, in one way or the other. They perform, teach or learn music, and although it's not the main subject of the story, their passion still plays important part (and allows us to introduce some cool musical puzzles). We're using our own knowledge and experience to make it work — most members of our team have musical background. We studied music, played in bands, and some of us have even worked in recording studios!
As for soundtrack, Minotaur will feature themed playlists by various composers (whom we're searching high and low for). Primary genres are lo-fi trip-hop, IDM, futuristic electronic music and orchestral fusion.
There will be over 30 songs or an hour and a half of very fine music. Check out this small sample:
"Banshee" by L. Blomkamp:
"Ah! It's a maze (Nod's theme)" by B. Bundle:
"You are" by G. Herweijer and B. Sumner:
"Little Robot Boy (instrumental)" by Ghostfeeder:
You can listen to longer playlist in The Spire bar at uof7.com/music, and there are more tracks in demo (you can start adding them to "Extras" collection already).
We are certain that good voice over is very important for any game, even more so for if it's story-driven, so we knew that Minotaur had to have complete English voice over from day one.
We teamed up with Brittany Lauda and Matt Shipman from Kocha Sound, and they're doing an amazing job in providing Minotaur with a voice. We managed to assemble a great cast:
- Brittany (Pokemon XY (various), Queen's Blade (Mirim), games like HuniePop and Yandere Simulator) herself plays Ollie
- Chris Niosi (Mob Psycho 100 (Reigen Arataka), Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin (Garma Zabi), games like Tales of Zestiria, Disgaea 5, Smite) is the voice of Nod
- Jill Harris (Orange (Naho), Fuuka Akitsuki (Fuuka), games like Battleborn and Battlerite) plays the role of Irene
- Lucas Schuneman (One Piece (Vice-Admiral Onigumo), games like Tropico 4 and Warframe) as Arthur
You can bet that the rest of the cast will be just as great. And just a reminder: current demo version includes complete voice over of all available chapters, so that's one more reason to check it out if you haven't already.
A short clip of Chris Niosi recording for Nod
One of our main reasons for making Minotaur is wanting to tell a good story. We'd like you to peel it off layer by layer and discover new things as you progress, saying something like "Huh... So that's how it is!" every time.
Minotaur is a dark mystery centered around two themes: wonderful state of obsession and definition of consciousness. It's a mature story told in a non-linear fashion from points of view of five characters, which appear to find themselves in similar circumstances.
We try to contain ourselves and avoid walls of text. Not all story comes from dialogue, so by exploring Royce building and interacting with environment you decide how much you want to learn about characters, their world and what's really happening to them.
- Minotaur is a story-driven game with a mature story in dark mystery genre.
- It has a non-linear narrative with multiple endings — which one you get depends on your actions and choices.
- Despite Minotaur using a visual novel format to deliver its story, the game's not text heavy. We rely on visuals as much as dialogue, and if you wish to discover more, you're free to explore the environments.
We believe that strong and memorable characters are at the heart of every good story — making a connection to them is important to immerse yourself in game world. That's why we tried to make our characters relatable (as far as androids, cybermaids and talking penguins go) and down to earth.
Take a look at this short trailer (called Acronym... hmm) introducing 8 primary Minotaur characters:
And if you'd like to get to know them a little better...
To make this cast look alive, we created 10 to 20+ different expressions for every character.
To find out more about characters (and see concept art, wallpapers and more), head to a dedicated "Characters" section on our website.
Let's take a look at one of locations of Nod's route — Royce building cargo elevator.
That beautiful machine in the lower right corner is called a Ghost. It's a cybercycle capable of travelling at 250 klg/h (kiloleagues per hour).
Ghosts are produced in a faraway city of Mira...
...by Granite Corp., one of largest manufacturers of defensive equipment.
We know all that because before starting our work on Minotaur, we spent almost a year creating and visualizing the world where it takes place. It's a science fantasy setting we called The Universe of Seven (or U7 for short).
The result of this was a detailed world with a over a thousand-year history. So we turned a larger part of our website into a wiki, and if you grab yourself a cup of coffee (or your other favorite hot beverage) and head there, you'll have a lot to discover. The best place to start would probably be a fully interactive map of The Universe.
...Hades, we even have our own writing system! Here, a poster that says "What if you're right and they're wrong" (hm...) in Old Language:
We had two reasons for doing all this. First, we wanted game world to be believable. When every little detail has its place in fictitious world, even if you don't notice them all, it makes the whole thing much more credible. And second, we planned U7 as a setting for several games (video and board) and books, one of which — a short illustrated novel called Red Crown — is already underway.
Red Crown tells a separate story from Minotaur, but reveals additional background on some of its characters. You can read the first chapter online here on our website.
Let's wrap this part with a very important conclusion: by supporting Minotaur, you also support U7 and its future. We have big plans for it, and you're here with us at the very beginning. We promise we won't forget it.
We carefully prepared a lot of digital and physical rewards for you, so pick anything you like. Since everyone who pledges helps make Minotaur possible, no matter which amount you choose, we'll proudly add your name to game titles. Also, the number of digital copies of Minotaur you get increases with pledge amount to a maximum of 5. You can find exact numbers in rewards table below.
Things get physical from this point on... We'll be using BackerKit to collect data and process deliveries worldwide. Please note that images below are product mock-ups, but even though they're not photos of real items, we made sure they're an accurate representation of what you're going to get. You can check hi-res renders of physical rewards here on our website.
Quick note about delivery: from here on in and up to €500, price of delivery is not included, but we tried to optimize it as best we could. We will ship worldwide, and depending on your reward tier and location, it will cost you anywhere between €5 and €20, but never more than that.
Material things (however nice) don't last forever, so we also offer an option to immortalize yourself in digital media by leaving your mark on Royce building, where main events of Minotaur take place.
(Note that we might not be able to add just any object (copyrighted or mature content, for example), so if you already have something particular in mind, it might be a good idea to talk to us before making these pledges.)
Next two tiers are about original Minotaur art created for you and based on your specifications. We reserve the right to display them publicly, but you will always be duly credited, and only you will have hi-res or original copy, both of which you can turn into A3 poster. These tiers include all rewards listed above (except for Royce building apartment reward).
UPD: a couple more words about that €2,5K reward: a backer has asked us if Adam could color the drawing, and the answer is: Adam has prepared concepts and illustrations for mainstream feature films like Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending, cinematics for games like Halo and Crackdown, and advertisements for Samsung, Disney, Microsoft and other huge companies... So yes! Yes he can. You can drop us an e-mail or PM us here on Kickstarter to discuss it further. We're always happy to talk!
OK, this sounds a bit vague, so we fell like we need to make a hole in the fourth wall here. For this extraordinary pledge, we're offering most of the above (except drawing of one of Minotaur characters, but including your own apartment), plus your own Minotaur character participating in one of main story chapters. This character can be based on you or someone you know (in which case we might need their written consent), or your specifications, as long as they don't contradict U7 lore. Character will have their own portrait with expressions and voiced (!) dialogue with one or more other characters, and, depending on their race, their own personal interface (like Ollie). Just like with any other pledge, you can get in touch with us to discuss details beforehand. In fact, we strongly encourage you to!
Here's a quick overview to help you take your pick:
- Goal 1: reached! In addition to digital album with 30+ tracks in MP3 and FLAC formats, download will include a hi-res 8-page booklet with music-related artwork from the game (think Unter's Paulcaster and Irene singing) and notes on soundtrack by us, the dev team, and (which is probably more interesting) its authors.
- Goal 2: reached! (See updates for the drama.) Minotaur will officially support mods. We will provide tools which will make modifying certain aspects of the game relatively easy. Modders will be able to add things like fansubs and new outfits/graphics for characters, adjust how certain parts of the game look, and so on.
- Goal 3: reached an hour before the end of campaign :D We will add 1 alternative outfit for every Minotaur character (9 total). They will come a bit later than the game, though (ETA is Q1 2018).
€30K (our main goal) is not enough to make a game like Minotaur, but we have secured a bank loan and use it alongside our own funds to finance development, so rest assured additional money will go towards realization of extra features like the one above.
Spreading the word about Minotaur and helping us form a community around is just as important as supporting it here on Kickstarter. It's a good thing you can do both at the same time!
To show you our appreciation, we prepared several unlockable bonuses for reaching community goals. You've probably seen it before... 1 reached goal = 1 point (so the best we can do is 18 points).
Here are the links:
Minotaur is being made by a distributed development team from different parts of the world. Most of us have worked together in U7 committee (yep, that's how we call ourselves) for well over a year now. And before that, we were doing other game, movie and software projects...
By all means, that's not everyone who contributed to Minotaur and U7. We worked with many other wonderful professionals, among whom are Alexandre Chaudret, Maxime Plasse, Jon Everist and more. Our special thanks goes to Hélène Green for her original creative input to U7 universe, and Lee Clarke, who helped us with LUA scripting over the course of v. 0.2 demo preparation.
...for checking Minotaur out! We hope you liked what you see and decided to support the game. If you have any questions, let us know in comments here or on Steam/Game Jolt/Facebook etc. Hoping to see you in Nova soon!
Risks and challenges
Every unfinished project comes with risks and challenges, so we appreciate you putting your trust in us. Since it's a great responsibility, before coming to Kickstarter we completed larger part of the game to make sure there are no major issues, and carefully planned the rest of it to be able to meet budget and deadline expectations.
Why Kickstarter, then? Because we still need your help! We want to stay independent and maintain full creative control of the game, and to be able to implement all features and content that were originally intended to be a part of Minotaur. No sacrifices... no compromises!
We're confident that with your help, Minotaur will become what it was meant to be. And even if problems do arise along the way, we'll communicate them timely and clearly, and work to the best of our abilities to deal with them without disrupting what we promised to deliver.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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