Kickstarter: Massive Chalice

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Double Fine, founded by Tim Schafer in 2000, returns to Kickstarter after their massively successful Broken Age. This time, they will be producing a game called Massive Chalice, which as of this writing has a little over 28,000 backers and about $1,084,000 out of their requested $725,000. You might be wondering why the team turned to Kickstarter again, which is a valid question. Double Fine says that “[our] goal is for all our teams to remain independent and responsible directly to their players. Kickstarting MASSIVE CHALICE allows us to maintain a pure creative vision, put out updates on our own schedule, respond to feedback without roadblocks, and release it all DRM-free.” I think those are excellent reasons to go the crowd-funding route. Broken Age is still in development and going strong, but that team represents only a third of Double Fine.

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Massive Chalice is described as: “If turn-based tactics and feudal fantasy had a lovechild, and that offspring founded a mighty century-spanning dynasty, it would be Massive Chalice.” The game is being built on the in-house Buddha engine, which also powered The Cave, Costume Quest, Iron Brigade, Stacking, and Brütal Legend. Inspirations for the game include X-COM (the original), Final Fantasy Tactics, and Fire Emblem. They are also drawing from the “array of families” from Game of Thrones. It will be a single-player, “epic, replayable turn-based tactics game where you train generations of heroes to repel a demonic invasion.” The game will also be randomized every time you play, which will lend itself to replayability. The project lead is Brad Muir, who created Iron Brigade, was a programmer on Psychonauts, and a designer on Brütal Legend.

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Concept art of a female hero.

One of the FAQ questions, which I thought was nice of them to address:

Q: Are women in Massive Chalice only meant to have children and raise them?

A: Massive Chalice will be a very inclusive game!  It’s true that in the pitch video we reference an immortal King (drawn in the likeness of Brad) but in the final game we want the player to have the role of an immortal king or queen. And your bloodlines and fighting force will be made of both male and female heroes – equally capable of splitting demonic skulls!

The game also did not initially include same-sex couples, but in a forum post broaching the topic, Brad had this to say:

THIS THREAD IS AWESOME. I want the game to be extremely inclusive. We crafted a message about biological sex equality for the FAQ and put it up yesterday evening. But I realize that’s not the whole story! We haven’t said anything about same sex couples because I’m not sure how it would work yet! But it’s another aspect of being inclusive that I really want to see worked into the game. Once of the coolest ideas that John and I had was to work in some nature/nurture concepts into the game. Once a hero is born, you can leave them with their biological parents or you can move them to another keep to be fostered by a different pair of parents. The child’s skills could then come partially from their biology and partially from the parents that raise them. This could be an excellent spot to have same sex couples. A child that’s born from two mages and then fostered by two male (or female) warriors in a different house could grow up to be super powerful! :D!

So that’s awesome! And something that might never have been addressed in a traditional design cycle until it was too late to implement. Interracial couples and lineages will also be supported; from one of the designers (John):

We’d definitely like to incorporate various skin tones and hair colors that are then passed down (and blended) to the next generation. Heck, I was just talking to Double Fine artist Geoff who has been investigating a system in his free time that might allow facial features of two parents to blend together and create a new face for a child that has features of both parents! So there’s an example of where we’d like to take Massive Chalice‘s character systems – we’ll have to deep-dive with our programmers and artists to find out how far it’ll be able to go, but supporting different skin tones is something we’re pretty sure we can support! 😀

Rewards:

  • $20 – Digital copy of Massive Chalice for Windows, Mac, and Linux. DRM-free and on Steam; a special backers-only badge on the official Double Fine forums; your name listed in the Backers section of the Massive Chalice credits in the game and on the official website.
  • $35 – All previous rewards, an extra copy of Massive Chalice, and you get to start your first heroic generation with an in-game, backer exclusive relic.
  • $50 – All previous rewards (except your name will be in the Super Backer section of the credits), early access to the game via Steam, downloadable HD versions of the 2PP Behind the Scenes videos, a high-res digital art package, and a digital copy of the soundtrack.
  • $75 – All previous rewards (except your name will be in the Special Edition Backers section of the credits) and special edition box with the game on-disc.
  • $100 – All previous rewards (except your name will be in the Bloodline Backers section of the credits), plus immortalize yourself in the world of Massive Chalice as one of the Bloodlines in the game.
  • $150 – All previous rewards (except your name will be in the Collector Backers section of the credits), plus an exclusive limited-edition t-shirt and poster.
  • $250 – All previous rewards (except your name will be in the Signature Backers section of the credits), plus your poster is signed by Tim, Brad, and Massive Chalice team members.
  • $1000 – All previous rewards (except your name will be in the First Players section of the credits), visit the Double Fine office in San Francisco to be one of the first to play Massive Chalice, and give your feedback directly to the development team over lunch. If you can’t make it to SF, you get a Skype or Google Hangout with Brad Muir.
  • $5000 – All previous rewards (except your name will be in the Design Consultants section of the credits) and contribute to an early Massive Chalice design meeting either at the SF studio or in a Skype/Google hangout.
  • $10,000 – All previous rewards (except your name will be in the Massive Patrons section of the credits) and an exclusive invite to an epic Massive Chalice board game night with Tim, Brad, and the rest of the team at Double Fine’s studio.

All backers will also be treated to making-of video updates from 2 Player Productions, who have also been documenting Broken Age and the Amnesia Fortnight project.

You only have a couple more days to get in on the Massive Chalice Kickstarter, so back today! You can follow Double Fine, Brad Muir, and Tim Schafer on Twitter, like Double Fine on Facebook, and check out the official Double Fine website. You can expect to see the game in September 2014.

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