Share this project

Done

Share this project

Done
A comic adventure game about the biggest, roughest pirate in the Azurbbean and his struggle to become a noble swashbuckler.
A comic adventure game about the biggest, roughest pirate in the Azurbbean and his struggle to become a noble swashbuckler.
A comic adventure game about the biggest, roughest pirate in the Azurbbean and his struggle to become a noble swashbuckler.
966 backers pledged $41,295 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! Point-and-click fun! project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! Point-and-click fun!

$41,295

966

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.

Concept art by Bill Tiller.
Concept art by Bill Tiller.

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.

 project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound

(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:

Sheriff Nancy Steele disciplines Duke when he misbehaves. (Sharp-eyed viewers may recognize this background as an homage to Monkey Island 2!)
Sheriff Nancy Steele disciplines Duke when he misbehaves. (Sharp-eyed viewers may recognize this background as an homage to Monkey Island 2!)
The bouncer at the Gnarly Narwhal only lets in pretty people.
The bouncer at the Gnarly Narwhal only lets in pretty people.
Duke tries an unconventional approach.
Duke tries an unconventional approach.
Busted again! Hope he makes bail.
Busted again! Hope he makes bail.
In-progress: The Sheriff's office, where Duke pleads his case.
In-progress: The Sheriff's office, where Duke pleads his case.
Free for now, Duke is running out of time to become a swashbuckler.
Free for now, Duke is running out of time to become a swashbuckler.
Inn-progress: The Ben Plunder Inn, where Duke meets Jane Starling, a true swashbuckler.
Inn-progress: The Ben Plunder Inn, where Duke meets Jane Starling, a true swashbuckler.
In-progress: The fruit stand between the wharf and a jungle full of wild beasts.
In-progress: The fruit stand between the wharf and a jungle full of wild beasts.
In-progress: A foolhardy shortcut where Duke gets a nasty surprise.
In-progress: A foolhardy shortcut where Duke gets a nasty surprise.
Frustrated and humiliated, Duke contemplates rowing back to his crew and giving up his dream.
Frustrated and humiliated, Duke contemplates rowing back to his crew and giving up his dream.

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."

Pictured above:

  • 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.

Images property of their respective copyright holders. Intended for reference only.
Images property of their respective copyright holders. Intended for reference only.
  • 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
  • Animations
  • 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:
Map example courtesy of the Brian and Hong Sabino Endowment for the Arts.
Map example courtesy of the Brian and Hong Sabino Endowment for the Arts.
  • 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.

PAYPAL

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

FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    LOOKOUT. Thank you! Every backer counts. We'll keep you updated with project emails. Your name will be proudly displayed in the game's end credits.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    34 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    CONSOLE CREWMATE. All above rewards, plus:
    • A digital OUYA-only copy of the game, released the same day as PC/Mac/Linux.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    29 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    CREWMATE. All above rewards, plus:
    • A DRM-free digital copy of the game on either PC, Max, Linux. (On Steam if we are Greenlit.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    534 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    HEARTY. All above rewards, plus:
    • Beautiful high-res wallpapers.
    • The Duke Grabowski digital comic book.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    95 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $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!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    106 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    STOUT-HEARTED MATE. All above rewards, plus:
    • An .mp3 of the Kickstarter-exclusive Duke Grabowski radio adventure.
    • A hand-drawn postcard to you from Mr. Tiller!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    53 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    DIGITAL MATE. No postcard from Bill to clutter your home. 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.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    16 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    CHARMING ROGUE. All above rewards, plus:
    • Duke Grabowski T-shirt.
    • A Duke Grabowski sticker sheet, with characters and images from the game
    • Tester status! Be among the first to play the game! We'll want your feedback!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    9 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    TRUSTED CONFIDANTE. All above rewards, plus:
    • A terrific instructional video on how to paint the Bill Tiller way.
    • A physical art book about the development of this game. (color, 11" x 8.5")
    • Access behind the scenes to our developer's forum! Get the inside scoop on everything. Be prepared for adult language.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    14 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $115 or more About $115

    BOLD ADVENTURER. All above rewards, plus:
    • Name a pirate in the game! (No profanity and we have veto ability.)
    • A small, amusing pirate chest printed on board stock. (3.5" x 4.25")
    • A hand-painted, twist-action pirate pen.
    • Your name goes in the front credits as one of our associate producers!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 19 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    REKNOWNED BUCCANEER. All above rewards, plus:
    • A handsome Duke poster signed by the team.
    • A special Backer Badge that will only appear in your personal copy of the game, thanking you by name and granting you an honorific pirate title.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 12 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $175 or more About $175

    CELEBRATED SEADOG. All above rewards, plus:
    • Bill Tiller will ink a pirate map just for you! Your friends will be so jealous!
    • You'll get a phone call from Duke to thank you. (We'll show him how to use the phone.)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  13. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    NOTABLE NE'ER-DO-WELL. All above rewards, plus:
    • A pirate in the game is named after you
    • And you get to voice them. Exciting! And we won't make you say anything horrible. Unless you want to!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  14. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    ILLUSTRIOUS OUTLAW. All above rewards, plus:
    • Bill paints a digital portrait of YOU! This could be a great gift for someone special!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 5 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    KNOWN PLUNDERER. All above rewards, plus:
    • Your digital portrait will be seen in-game!
    • You'll get one of the original hand-drawn background sketches used in the game. What a collector's item!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $1,400 or more About $1,400

    HEROIC HOTHEAD. All above rewards, plus:
    • A 3D digital model of YOU, in costume, will be put in the game! You're truly in a point-and-click adventure!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 3 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  17. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,800 or more About $1,800

    LAWLESS CHAMPION. All above rewards, plus:
    • Your very own 6-inch-high, 3D-printed, physical model of Duke Grabowski!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  18. Select this reward

    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    PIRATE CAPTAIN. All above rewards, plus:
    • A 6-inch-high, 3D-printed, physical model of YOUR pirate from the game. The one you voiced. Who has a statuette of themselves? You!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  19. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    PIRATE ROYALTY. All above rewards, plus:
    • Bill Tiller will paint you a pirate scene in acrylic on a large unframed 18" x 24" canvas. Bill hates working in "real paint" because there is no "undo button", so these will be rare, indeed.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  20. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    SWASHBUCKLER. All above rewards, plus:
    • Bill Tiller, artist and designer, will fly to your house and paint a mural on your wall, and he will do your laundry and dishes to boot. Only two people in the world can get this reward. Now you can truly live inside an adventure game.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (60 days)