Kickstarter Picks: Precinct, Codename Cygnus, and more!

Only three weeks into our new penta-pick format for Kickstarter, and I already can’t remember how we ever got by with only one.  There are simply too many amazing projects worth sharing, and sometimes doubling up just makes sense.  Case in point: Sierra receives two shout-outs this week, making this your one-stop destination for adventure game nostalgia, among other great projects.   

Rather than profiling a single Kickstarter project, future Kickstarter Picks articles will be rounding up a bunch of great games that we feel are worthy of your backer dollars. Like the new format? Have a project you think we should be aware of? Be sure to let us know in the comments below!

Precinct– Counted among the ranks of the Golden Era of adventure gaming, the Police Quest series was Sierra’s most realistic foray in the genre.  Creator Jim Walls brought 15 years of active police duty to his creation, which put players in the shoes of officer Sonny Bonds as he completes a variety of cases both routine and criminal.  After retiring from the gaming industry 17 years ago, Walls has recently resurfaced with a Kickstarter campaign for a spiritual successor series to the Police Quest games, titled PrecinctPrecinct promises the same puzzle-solving adventure gameplay Sierra fans know and love, presented in updated 3D environments.  Gameplay will still revolve around solving real-life police scenarios and investigations, but will also feature action-based sequences such as car chases, shoot-outs, and suspect pursuits.  While there’s only a snippet of gameplay footage available so far, the Precinct Kickstarter page is being updated with new videos—and reasons to get excited—daily.

Heroes: The History of Sierra On-Line – It seems almost unfair to list this project alongside Precinct for the sake of Sierra fans’ wallets, but might as well burn two holes with one visit.  Although Sierra and its genre-defining series have been written about and discussed in depth for over 30 years, film explorations are limited to the occasional “making of” video or short interview.  Heroes: The History of Sierra On-Line will be a comprehensive documentary of Ken and Roberta Williams’ company, featuring new interviews from the founding couple themselves, as well as other high profile contributors such as Lori and Corey Cole (Quest for Glory), Al Lowe (Leisure Suit Larry),  Jim Walls (Police Quest), and plenty more.  With a company as prolific as Sierra, covering all of their games adequately in a single documentary would be an impossible feat, but Heroes seems determined to give ample time to each predominant series without playing favorites (even if fans inevitably will while watching).

Crypt RunCrypt Run may look like a simple dungeon crawler on its deceptively cute surface, but its unique death mechanic opens up an entirely new way of approaching the genre.  While you’ll spend much of your time in Crypt Run‘s procedurally-generated dungeons slaying monsters and collecting loot, the game-changer really begins when you die: or, when you should die but are actually transported to the Realm of the Dead.  Here, a spirit version of your warrior goes Hadouken-crazy on Realm of the Dead-specific enemies, including monsters you’ve sent to an early demise yourself.  Some challenges in Crypt Run will require transporting between the two realms, indicating that this is less of a “last chance” area of redemption and more of an alternate world critical to your dungeon-exploring success.  With an open development policy that promises lots of in-process footage, we’re sure to find out plenty more as the game progresses.  You can get a short taste of the projectile-happy adventure via the alpha browser demo.

Project Maiden – There’s a recurring theme in power-based games that has been canon since Super Metroid: you begin with all of your abilities as essentially a super-being, but quickly lose and are forced to regain them individually throughout the game.   Project Maiden has twisted this premise into a plot and purpose: “You must lose your powers to survive.”  Our main character, Imogen, has been infused with the powers of a god by a group of pro-human zealots who wish to use her as a weapon to conquer the planet.  This process has left her without her memory or voice and slowly going crazy.  To save herself and undo the damage, Imogen sets out to remove her powers one by one.  She’ll do so through a series of open-selection, puzzle-platforming levels à la Mega ManProject Maiden is aiming for a very reasonable $9,600 on Kickstarter, and will be free to everyone with internet if funding is successful.

Codename Cygnus– Fully appreciating the potential in Codename Cygnus requires listening to its video, so feel free to do that now.  Finished?  You’re probably already sold after that, but let’s discuss anyway.  Codename Cygnus is inspired by radio serials from the 1930s and ’40s.  Players will take on the role of a secret agent in choose-your-own-adventure-style missions.  Like listening to a radio drama, all of the action, dialogue, and events will be portrayed through spoken dialogue instead of in-game text or visuals.  Players can even make their choices—such as whether to charm their way out of not paying a bill or get aggressive—through voice input, although a touch screen response is also valid.  Even the serial’s delivery format will be honored, as a new mission is launched every week.  The idea behind Codename Cygnus is already novel and exciting enough to warrant a listen, but the time and talent they’ve put into it is the clincher.  In order to allow quick, high-quality recordings for the weekly updates, Reactive Studios built their own professional-grade sound booth.  The actors occupying that booth include Logan Cunningham—narrator of Bastion—Sarah Elmaleh of Skulls of the Shogun, and Chris Ciulla of Fallout: New Vegas, to name just a few.  We can’t wait to hear from them, and more about Codename Cygnus as it progresses.

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