Backer Build Preview – Phoenix Point

I love X-COM, which I think I’ve stated a few times. When the chance presented itself to back the new game by Julian Gollop. the creator of the very first game in the series, UFO: Enemy Unknown and the first set of classic X-COM games—before the Firaxis remake—I jumped at the chance and became a backer for Phoenix Point.

Last week, the cool guys at Snapshot Games sent me a press early access version of the backer build coming out today, so I could take a look and see just how the game is shaping up. Below you’ll find a video of my latest session, up to the point when the game crashed on me. A minor issue with a preview build when the game is this fun.

But before we get to it, let’s discuss what’s new, what I liked and what I think they could improve on before the final release: Continue reading Backer Build Preview – Phoenix Point

Top Myst-like Games

A few weeks ago I saw that Cyan Worlds had put up a Kickstarter campaign for a 25th Anniversary Collection of Myst, a series of games I adore but because of limitations, mostly incompatibility with modern systems and being unavailable for purchase, haven’t been able to play as much as I’ve wanted to, with some titles in the series completely out of my reach.

Needless to say, I jumped at the chance and spent a ludicrous amount of money on the project, going for the next to last tier, “Writer,” which will nab me the digital and physical copies of the games and a Myst Book Box, which along with the rest of the rewards I’m hoping will be freaking cool. Continue reading Top Myst-like Games

Currently Crowdfunding – The Beast Inside

I love horror games, but I’m also a scaredy cat when I play them. If a game is truly scary, I can only tolerate to play it minutes at a time. It happened with the game I mentioned in the Bejeezus files and every other title I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. So when I hear there’s a horror game on Kickstarter, or any crowdfunding platform for that matter, my ears perk up and if there’s a demo I will be going through it, minutes at a time. This led me to The Beast Inside. Continue reading Currently Crowdfunding – The Beast Inside

System Shock is Back…with your help!

Nightdive Studios, the same people who brought us the Enhanced Edition for Looking Glass Studios’ classic PC game System Shock and own the rights to the series, including the stellar sequel—and one of my favourite games of all time—System Shock 2, are now doing something even more amazing. They’re remaking the first System Shock, bringing it to a whole new generation, but they need our help to make it true. Yep, they’re on Kickstarter, asking for help to make this game a reality and I am going to back it, I want this!
Continue reading System Shock is Back…with your help!

Preview: Wolcen Lords of Mayhem aka Umbra

Last year I backed a project on Kickstarter, my first ever backing and it was for a top-down Action-RPG (aka Diablo-clone) built using the CryEngine. Its name was Umbra but recently on entering Steam Early Access, it received a name revamp, one I’m not particularly fond of, to Wolcen: Lords of Mayhem.

I really hate the new name, I thought Umbra had a lot more character and added a sense of mystique to the world. So for the rest of this article, I’ll keep calling it Umbra.

When you launch Umbra, the first thing you’ll see is a warning reminding you of the Alpha stage of the game, and how because of that there is very little in terms of sound design in the game, which is true as there are barely any sound effects, let alone music to find in the current build. Continue reading Preview: Wolcen Lords of Mayhem aka Umbra

Preview: Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure

One of the first lessons you learn in the Lovecraftian Mythos is stay the hell away from magic, even more so from the Necronomicon. No one told this to Buzz and his acquaintance, who’s now in the hands of some crazy cultists. To make things worse, or funnier, Buzz’s cat got hit with a random spell and started talking, or as he puts it “became a horrible abomination.”

Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure, a point & click adventure game in development and currently on Kickstarter has one thing going for it that I found even funnier than the rest of the demo: the game’s studio, Stuck in Attic, is from Transylvania. With how much we tie Transylvania to horror thanks to Bram Stoker’s novel—my favourite by the way—the fact these guys are making a comedy-horror just cracks me up. Just me that finds it funny? Let’s move along then. Continue reading Preview: Gibbous: A Cthulhu Adventure

Preview: Perpetual Night

I played Perpetual Night during Rezzed 2016 and I gave you a little preview of how it plays. After the event, I received a demo build of the game thanks to the awesome people at Studio Genkan.

Before I begin: Perpetual Night is still on Kickstarter and at the time of publishing this article, there are four days left in the campaign and still a long way to go, so if you like what you see and you’re intrigued enough to help make this a reality, then please head on to campaign page and back this project! Continue reading Preview: Perpetual Night

Crowdfunding Shenanigans – The Double Fine Case

In the gaming industry, perhaps more than any other, Crowdfunding has become commonplace. Every week, if not every day, we hear of a new project on Kickstarter, Indiegogo or any other platform for anything from a point & click adventure game to a full-blown MMO.

Yet I’m curious when I see developers returning to crowdfunding platforms after incredibly successful games and campaigns. Particular among those, and the reason I thought of this piece, is Tim Schafer and Double Fine. My concern is this: when does crowdfunding stop being a necessity and becomes a sleazy easy-money scheme? Continue reading Crowdfunding Shenanigans – The Double Fine Case

EGX Highlights – Tears of Avia

One of the games for which I saw the longest queues in the Rezzed section over the course of my EGX adventure was Tears of Avia, a tactical RPG with anime-ish elements. It’s currently on Kickstarter. I passed by the stall and looking over people’s shoulders I saw bits of the gameplay and it was a style I was familiar with and knew I liked, a style all of you who ever played Final Fantasy Tactics will also recognise. Continue reading EGX Highlights – Tears of Avia

Interview: Agustín Cordes – H.P. Lovecraft: The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

Earlier this year, Senscape, the developers behind the upcoming Asylum and founded by the mind behind Scratches, Agustín Cordes, launched a Kickstarter Campaign for the Lovecraftian Adventure Horror game, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

A few months ago, I contacted Agustín for a small interview about the game. Here are his replies. Enjoy!

First of all, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions.

It’s my pleasure, thanks for having me!

In your announcement of the game, you mentioned this would be the first official H.P. Lovecraft game. Could you tell us more about that?

Yes, this is the first game that would use both the name H. P. Lovecraft and the title of one of his stories. Up until now we have seen lose adaptations or spin-offs, but never a straight translation of his work to a videogame. For example, Shadow of the Comet and Dark Corners of the Earth are very loosely based on The Shadow Over Innsmouth. What we did is negotiate a license with the Lovecraft Estate established in Providence, the same organization that has been maintaining original manuscripts, letters and photographs from Lovecraft for decades. This is how dedicated we are to bringing a exceptionally faithful adaptation of The Case of Charles Dexter Ward to video games.

Can you tell us what made you choose this The Case of Charles Dexter Ward as the Lovecraft work to adapt?

While it wasn’t our first choice, it was a solid second option. It’s a wonderful story to be turned into an adventure game, full of fascinating aspects of investigation, exploration, and intrigue. And of course, lots of horror. It was almost natural the way in which the story became a game.

Charles Dexter Ward & Joseph Curwen

How much of the original novel are you adapting and how much is original content?

We’re retaining as much as possible from the original novel, and the changes being introduced are minimal. In fact, when it comes to the storyline, little has been changed — rather, we introduced slight modifications to the ordering of sequences or pacing for best effect as an interactive game, all while retaining the spirit of Lovecraft’s timeless story.

Following up on the previous question: What are the challenges of adapting a novel into a game?

It depends on the novel being adapted, of course, and in this case the transition has been quite smooth. Pacing is the major challenge, as Lovecraft was very slow-paced and descriptive, which can be a deal breaker in games these days. The general idea is to detect which parts of the story can be turned into interactive elements, such as an adventure game puzzle, and fortunately Charles Dexter Ward has plenty of them.

With the impending release of Asylum, how are you dividing work between the two titles?

It’s important to note that the Kickstarter campaign didn’t succeed, so our current team is 100% focused on Asylum. With the proper budget, we could have divided the work between two different teams.

The John Hay Library at Brown University!

Speaking of Asylum, as a Kickstarter veteran, do you have any advice for indie developers thinking of crowdfunding? What do you think is the most important thing they should have before doing it?

Crowdfunding can be deceiving and Kickstarter has become very unpredictable, even if you invest lots of effort in the campaign. My advice would be to build a strong community before tackling fundraising, otherwise your campaign may not receive enough attention.

Will The Case of Charles Dexter Ward be a First Person Adventure game, much like Scratches and Asylum? If so, will players be able to move with the keyboard or will all movement be using the mouse?

No, we’re planning the game as a third-person adventure, very much like games such as Broken Sword, Gabriel Knight or many LucasArts classics.

On a more technical level: how are you developing the game, what engine are you using for it?

We’ve recently switched to Unity for our productions, and we’re happy enough with it. What we’re using is a sort of hybrid between Unity and features from our in-house engine called Dagon. It’s working out pretty well.

On which component of Charles Dexter Ward are you currently working on?

Nothing for now, I’m afraid, as we don’t have funds to produce the game. We’ll see what 2015 brings!

Is there anything you’d like to tell our readers that we haven’t covered in the previous questions? (Say as much as you’d like)

I’d simply like to thank you all for the support and patience throughout these years. Even if our Kickstarter campaign for Charles Dexter Ward failed, we still managed to raise $110.000, which is no small feast these days. We’re still hard at work on Asylum, ensuring it fulfills its promise of an engrossing horror experience, and then hopefully tackle our new projects.


I’d like to once more thank Agustín for taking the time out of his busy schedule to respond for this interview.

This will also probably the last article published on The Mental Attic for 2014. See you next year!