About this project
Thank you all for your support! We did it!
The adventure continues at www.venture-moon.com where we will soon have more images, videos, and fun!
"Back this or risk my fury! Or just my continued grumpiness." -- Ron Gilbert, via Twitter
"I think the whole thing sounds awesome." -- Tim Schafer, via email
"Some of the greatest videogame art of all time has come from the hand of Bill Tiller." -- Jack Allin, AdventureGamers.com
LucasArts alumni Dave Grossman and Alyssa Clark are advising on our design and dialog. LucasArts' vet Larry Ahern and Dave will appear as pirates in a cameo. See Update #12!
Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! is an exciting 2.5D adventure game for PC/Mac/Linux/OUYA, in the style of LucasArts and Autumn Moon Entertainment. Projected release date is October 2015.
Duke is a massive, brutish pirate who desperately wants to be an suave & sophisticated swashbuckler. He has a good heart, and he needs your help.
He usually solves his problems by punching. He wants to change, but he doesn't know how.
The gameplay is classic point-and-click goodness that you know and love from games like The Curse of Monkey Island and our own Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island. Enjoy tropical locations, solve amusing inventory and dialog puzzles, and revel in comic pirate mischief.
(The art you see in our Kickstarter is in-progress. It'll be even better in the final game!)
Concept screenshots, not yet in-game, but using game assets:
To become captain of the pirate ship Brazen Blade, Duke is given a challenge by his crew: to win the love of three women. Or, more precisely, to "sea-deuce" them, as old Slewface says with a leer.
Slewface is the villain, and the challenge is sexist, and Duke has to realize it over the course of the game. When Duke gets to shore and meets actual women, everything changes. He has to relate to them as actual human beings.
As Bill said in a recent interview,
"He slowly learns through trial and error, and a lot of pain, what's the right thing to do. He starts realizing, 'Hey, maybe what I originally wanted -- maybe I don't want it after all. Y'know? Maybe this crew is a bunch of jerks and I don't really need 'em.'"
Bill goes into more detail in Update #2:
"The story is really about peer pressure, the dangers of following the herd, and about watching a character change and mature."
- The swashbuckle police.
- A charismatic drifter.
- Duke, whom you already met.
- Nancy Steele, Sheriff of Bodacious Bay.
- Bob the Bouncer.
,,,and many more! It'll take more than brawn to win them over!
We don't want to give away too much, but Bill has crafted quite a story. You and Duke will have to wrestle an ape, fire a cannon, attack a fort, rescue innocents, and maybe fall in love.
- LucasArts' Monkey Island series, of course, is an inspiration. Bill is well known for his work as lead background artist on The Curse of Monkey Island.
- Mongo from Blazing Saddles.
- The Hulk.
- Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears. ("Grabowski" is a nickname for fans of the Chicago Bears. For more, see Update #1.)
- We all love the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland, even after they put in Johnny Depp.
- And we're studying the classic swashbuckling movies of Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks. (Not pictured.)
Yes, identify yourself!
Bill "Curse of Monkey Island" Tiller designed the game and is painting the backgrounds as you read this, so you know it's going to look great and be a lot of fun. He has a long history with point-and-click adventures. Learn more in Update #6.
Gene Mocsy will contribute design and dialog. He was the author of 1954: Alcatraz and in-game writer for Perils of Man and Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island. He's also doing 3D work because he used to do that at EA. Learn more in Update #7.
Jeremiah Grant, veteran of games like The Force Unleashed II and Rime, and films like The Avengers and Pacific Rim, will handle tech and rigging. He's also crunching data to keep us on an achievable schedule. Learn more in Update #5.
Also joining us:
LucasArts alumni Alyssa Clark will help with our dialog. She comes to us from Hollywood, where she writes for the popular MTV werewolf show, Teen Wolf. Update #12.
LucasArts alumni Dave Grossman is advising on our gameplay and puzzle design. His credits include Monkey Island 1 & 2, co-project lead on Day of the Tentacle, writer/designer of Sam and Max at Telltale, and Director of Design for Tales of Monkey Island. Update #12.
LucasArts alumni Larry Ahern will appear with Dave in a cameo. Larry was animation lead for Monkey Island 2, Day of the Tentacle and Full Throttle, and Co-Project Lead on The Curse of Monkey Island, among other notable projects. Update #12.
Influential storyboard artist Mike Cachuela will help Bill design Duke Grabowski's cutscenes. Mike is known for his terrific work on The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Coraline, and more. Update #14.
Marketing and crowdfunding expert Sarah "Burra" Burrough joined us mid-campaign and helped make this project a success. She previously worked on the Kickstarters for Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet and Jason the Greek.
Bill, Gene, and Jeremiah did two point-and-click adventures at Autumn Moon Entertainment: A Vampyre Story and Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island. Individually, we've worked on 30+ shipped games. Some of the highlights:
We started developing Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! last year as an internal test of the Adventure Creator toolkit for Unity. It grew into a full game idea we want to share. You're gonna love it.*
*Love cannot be guaranteed in Nevada, Rhode Island, or wherever feelings are prohibited.
The game is modest in size. We're keeping it small and achievable.
- 9-12 detailed backgrounds by Bill.
- 4-6 major new characters, depending on how this campaign goes. Secondary characters will be drawn from our library of models and animations.
- Comic-book style, hand-drawn cutscenes.
- Succinct 2-4 hours of gameplay.
The funds we raise on Kickstarter will go to:
- Character modeling
- Voice acting
- Sound effects and music
- Special effects
And we'll do the rest!
Stretch goals: If we raise more than $40,000, we'll be delighted to add:
- $58,000 - Fully-animated cutscenes
- $81,000 - New swashbuckling music
- $90,000 - More original character models
Become a backer today! Here are some of the rewards awaiting you.
- Official Duke Grabowski T-shirt
- Amusing paper treasure chest (3.5" x 4.25")
- Handsome poster, signed by the team.
- Sticker sheet with images from the game
- Executive pirate pen
- Attractive book, The Art of Duke Grabowski (color, 11" x 8.5")
There's even more in the pledge column to the right!
- Your name in the credits.
- A copy of the game, for PC, Mac, Linux, and/or OUYA.
- A hand-drawn pirate map by Bill, as described in Update #12:
- Digital and/or physical paintings.
- Digital and/or physical 3D models of you as a pirate.
- Bill Tiller flies to your house and paints a mural on your wall! Don't let your neighbors get a Tiller mural before you!
There's something for everyone, no matter your budget.
For a limited time, we are accepting PayPal pledges for our digital tiers only.
Please add an email address on your PayPal form so we can send you download information and any necessary surveys!
$1 LOOKOUT. We'll keep you updated with project emails. Your name will be proudly displayed in the game's end credits.
$5 CONSOLE CREWMATE. All above rewards, plus: • A digital OUYA-only copy of the game, released the same day as PC/Mac/Linux.
$15 CREWMATE. All above rewards, plus: • A DRM-free digital copy of the game on either PC, Max, Linux.
$20 HEARTY. All above rewards, plus: • Beautiful high-res wallpapers. • The Duke Grabowski digital comic book.
$30 SCALLYWAG. All above rewards, plus: • A digital art book detailing the development of the game. • Your name seen by everyone in the art of the game!
$65 DIGITAL MATE. All the digital rewards above, plus: • Tester status! Be among the first to play the game! • Video on designing characters the Venture Moon way • Video on making a game location with Unity and Adventure Creator • Video on adventure-game writing techniques • All the game's dialog in final spreadsheet form • The 2D PC-only prototype of Duke Grabowski in the short one-room adventure which inspired this game.
Double Our Fun(ds)!
We're participating in OUYA's #FreeTheGames Fund, created by OUYA to support developers making new and creative console games. OUYA will match your pledge dollar-for-dollar up to your goal amount (and a max of $250,000), so help Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! get there and be a great game for everyone! To be eligible for this match, we commit that this game will be an OUYA exclusive for a period of time. To learn more about OUYA, go to www.OUYA.tv.
(To clarify, Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! will be an OUYA exclusive for a period of time in the console and mobile space; it will ship simultaneously with our PC/Mac/Linux versions.)
You love beautiful adventures. So do we. We all want to see more of them in the world. Succeeding with Kickstarter will give us a template for the future. We'd love to bring you more adventures if this works out.
And if you're a game maker, don't you want to see how Adventure Creator and Unity play together?
Support the project, and tell your friends!
P.S. Thanks to Michael Fredianelli of Wild Dogs Productions for shooting and editing our launch video! And special thanks to Pedro Macedo Camacho for the terrific music, which he created for Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island.
Risks and challenges
The game has been fully designed on paper, so we know the scope and we have a schedule. There will be adjustments during production, especially when we start testing. We'll keep you informed of any major decisions. We want your feedback. We also have a group of advisors behind the scenes to keep an eye on our progress.
Other projects we're involved in: Bill, as a freelance artist, will be contributing to other productions while working on Duke.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Estimated ship date is October 2015. Beta testers see the game earlier, of course!
9-12 locations, 2-4 hours of gameplay. "About one fourth the size of A Vampyre Story, or one eighth the size of Curse of Monkey Island," says Bill.
A whole story, albeit a short one. A short game about a big guy.
That would be fun! We are definitely considering translations as a stretch goal after we reach the ones above.
Both will be excellent games, of the same duration. The OUYA version will need less high-poly assets and will be a smaller overall file size, by virtue of its hardware. In addition, OUYA is matching your donations (up to our donation goal), so they're essentially subsidizing the creation of the game, allowing us to provide a lower price on the OUYA version.
We'll let you know as soon as we have an answer! We understand the concern about being locked into one system. We want you to have lots and lots and lots of options.
You can vote for Duke on Steam Greenlight:
Within Steam: Community>Greenlight>Games tab>Search for "Duke Grabowski"
And on GOG.com:
The premise is sexist, yes, and then we subvert it. Seducing women is a peer pressure goal made up by Duke's weaselly crewmates. When Duke gets ashore, he meets actual women, and the game changes.
Bill goes into more detail in Update #2:
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