A Shadowgate Opens On Kickstarter

A Shadowgate Opens On Kickstarter

The developers of Shadowgate talk a bit about their plans to bring the classic fantasy adventure back to life.

A quick glance at the Shadowgate Kickstarter might lead you to think that it's just another sword-and-sorcery RPG, but that's not the case. It's actually a fantasy adventure, more akin to Myst than to Dungeon Master, that originally rolled onto the Amiga, Atari ST and Macintosh in 1987.

"Shadowgate is at its heart a puzzle-solving game played out in first person mode," Dave Marsh, one of the creators of the original game, explained. "Each room is a graphic with various atmospheric animations. You solve puzzles by finding key objects that can be used in other locations to get past obstacles and traps. One of the pioneering things we did with our original game was to allow a person to try doing anything they wanted with an object. This allowed for a lot more freedom than just having this one thing work on this other thing."

"I see the adventure games as having a clearer narrative that RPGs," he continued. "With RPGs, much of your time is spent leveling your character so that it can overcome bigger enemies. In adventure games you tend to spend more of your time in the story, trying to find out more information in order to solve puzzles."

Marsh acquired the rights to the game and founded indie game studio Zojoi with fellow Shadowgate creator Karl Roelofs earlier this year. But rather than a straight-up remake, the team is working on "a re-imagining that includes a lot of new features, exciting updates and ingenious additions that will add even more to the mythology and expand upon the original story."

"One of the things about the various incarnations of Shadowgate was that it was originally made for devices with a very finite set of storage space - that made it a relatively small game. We want to do the game right and introduce a lot of new content including rooms and puzzles," he said. "Have you ever gotten to the end of a great book and just wanted it to continue? That's how we feel about Shadowgate - we want to write those additional chapters and see what else the Warlock Lord has in store."

Preproduction is underway, but Marsh said that while the team has already invested time and money into development, "as a small company, we would have to regroup and re-evaluate the project if we did not secure funding." The hope, obviously, is that pledges will exceed the Kickstarter funding goal and allow the studio to do even more with the game.

"Not only do we want to support other languages and expand on the rooms but we'd like to really flesh out the storyline," Marsh said. "We would love to add puzzles, voice over and scene animations that go into greater detail about unresolved questions from the original: What happened to the wizards who build this castle? Why were you chosen and summoned to Shadowgate? And finally, what pacts did the Warlock Lord make to gain his dark power? These are all thing that we thing would make a great game even better!"

The Kickstarter appears to be on pretty solid ground at this point, achieving roughly half of its $120,000 goal with the better part of a month remaining. The pitch video isn't the most compelling thing ever but the game itself, at least at this early stage, looks very good. Buyer beware as always, but if you dig fantasy and/or adventures, it's definitely worth a peek.

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Such a great game, spent many a day on my Dad's Mac playing this and Fool's Errand. I love that they're bringing it back. :D

I remember Shadowgate (I had the NES version when I was like...5. How the hell did that happen?). It really wasn't intuitive. I watched an LP of it recently, too. I'm sure they could improve on that. This isn't likely to receive a backing from me, but I'll keep an eye on it. I'm always open to being convinced.

Ah, the memories.

Watching that promo video made me go listen to the full soundtrack.

I remember Shadow gate and Deja vu were the only 2 adventure games on the NES.

Oh yes, the memories...

I remember playing this at home, along with a pretty egregious Shadowgate copycat that basically replaced fetching keys or dealing with enemies with... math problems. That one was obviously a classroom computer room exclusive. :)

Kross:
Such a great game, spent many a day on my Dad's Mac playing this and Fool's Errand. I love that they're bringing it back.

Heck yeah. I remember doing the same thing too. And thanks to this post I just discovered that the sequel to The Fool's Errand finally came out a week ago after ten years. I had no idea. I was always more of a 3 in Three guy though (speaking of Cliff Johnson's games).

I have to be honest, when I was a wee lad playing the original Shadowgate on the NES... I fell in love with that game. And at least once a year I think about that one and the Nintendo64 version. Backed!

Ah, I remember Shadowgate. I played the rerelase on Gameboy Colour. Man there were so many ways to die in that game. I'd back this if money wasn't so tight.

A kickstarter for something I actually want. Well played internet.

Still not going to give them money until the product is finished and available on PSN, so probably never.

I loved Shadowgate, and I even have the book "Before Shadowgate" that basically gives the game a story beyond "here is a castle with a Warlock Lord inside, good luck opening the door."

DustyDrB:
I remember Shadowgate (I had the NES version when I was like...5. How the hell did that happen?). It really wasn't intuitive. I watched an LP of it recently, too. I'm sure they could improve on that. This isn't likely to receive a backing from me, but I'll keep an eye on it. I'm always open to being convinced.

Well then allow me to introduce myself,

I am Zojoi's "Official Unofficial Community Manager" and I'm here to convince you why this KickStarter is worth your attention.

You made a note about how some puzzles weren't really intuitive. And you're not the only one who feels that way! David Marsh and Karl Roelofs, the creators of Shadowgate (and the people who I am closely associated with), are doing a lot of work in redesigning the game to update the puzzles and rooms while still retaining the same plot and story (even going so far as to expand it!)

In an interview with VentureBeat, Dave said:

"We're keeping many of the environments that people remember and have a great fondness of, but the puzzles that Karl Roelofs and I designed originally - a lot of those don't hold up," said Marsh. "It was our first adventure game. We're removing a lot of the puzzles that we think don't hold up and replacing them with new puzzles, and then we're creating new rooms with entirely new puzzles. We've expanded the size of the game by about 20 percent."

http://venturebeat.com/2012/10/30/how-to-find-the-secret-website-in-shadowgates-kickstarter-video-and-more-interview/#s:shadowgate1

So if intuitiveness is something that concerns you in regards to Shadowgate, then fear not! That is something that will be addressed in the new Shadowgate. :)

Eric the Orange:
I remember Shadow gate and Deja vu were the only 2 adventure games on the NES.

Actually, there's also "Uninvited", another MacVenture title that got ported to the NES, and even King's Quest V got an NES port too. (And how can anyone forget Maniac Mansion? :) )

Speaking of classic game Kickstarters, why no Hero-U coverage? It's by the Quest For Glory people and the KS I've been waiting for since the whole thing started. It's not even at the 50% mark.

canadamus_prime:
Ah, I remember Shadowgate. I played the rerelase on Gameboy Colour. Man there were so many ways to die in that game. I'd back this if money wasn't so tight.

Well even if you don't have the money now, that's okay. You don't need to worry about having the money for a pledge until when the campaign ends on November 25th. That's when pledges are collected, and that's also on the condition that the campaign reaches its goal too.

So you can place a pledge now, and save up for when the campaign ends so you can fulfill the pledge. And if you need to adjust your pledge, like say, you pledge for the $200 tier, but realize you don't have enough for it near campaign's end, you can change it to $100 or whatever better suits your budget.

Worst case scenario: if a pledge "bounces", Amazon Payments gives 7 days for the backer and campaign runner to work it out.

I hope that helps. :)

KoudelkaMorgan:
A kickstarter for something I actually want. Well played internet.

Still not going to give them money until the product is finished and available on PSN, so probably never.

I loved Shadowgate, and I even have the book "Before Shadowgate" that basically gives the game a story beyond "here is a castle with a Warlock Lord inside, good luck opening the door."

Well currently we're only planning for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android releases, but if we can get into stretch funding, we might be able to look into other platforms of release. The top two requests ones so far have been Linux, and, interestingly enough...

...3DS!

And here's a fun factoid:

"Before Shadowgate" is actually CANON to ALL the Shadowgate games: Shadowgate, Beyond Shadowgate, and Shadowgate 64.

David Marsh & Karl Roelofs worked with the author, Ellen Miles (who was going under the pseudonym "F.X. Nine") to make sure that she had all the facts they had come up with in developing the world of Shadowgate. So while she did all the writing, Dave & Karl gave her the timeline, the notes, all of what they had.

So that book is LORE right there! :)

Gennadios:
Speaking of classic game Kickstarters, why no Hero-U coverage? It's by the Quest For Glory people and the KS I've been waiting for since the whole thing started. It's not even at the 50% mark.

In my experience, different websites have different policies when it comes to anything KickStarter. One game news website, for example, does not want to cover KickStarters for "Remakes" unless they have reached their goal, or are in need of significant help. But if a brand new game from noted developers hits KickStarter, they'll break the news on that one (this includes sequels and new IPs).

Of course, they have every right to have that policy, and far be it from me or anyone else to go against that. I'm certain that different websites have different opinions towards KickStarter, but I think it's safe to say that the majority of websites have accepted KickStarter as a sort of inevitable thing in the game industry now. The stories they choose to cover will likely vary from site to site, but that's all up to the people in charge.

Although, from my perspective, in addition to Hero-U, the other campaigns I'd like to see get more coverage are Delaware St. John 4, and the upcoming Alpha Colony (M.U.L.E. meets Catan) :)

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1065983707/delaware-st-john-asylum-of-the-lost-adventure-game

Everyone deserves a fair shot, if you ask me :)

Stephen Broida:

KoudelkaMorgan:
A kickstarter for something I actually want. Well played internet.

Still not going to give them money until the product is finished and available on PSN, so probably never.

I loved Shadowgate, and I even have the book "Before Shadowgate" that basically gives the game a story beyond "here is a castle with a Warlock Lord inside, good luck opening the door."

Well currently we're only planning for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android releases, but if we can get into stretch funding, we might be able to look into other platforms of release. The top two requests ones so far have been Linux, and, interestingly enough...

...3DS!

And here's a fun factoid:

"Before Shadowgate" is actually CANON to ALL the Shadowgate games: Shadowgate, Beyond Shadowgate, and Shadowgate 64.

David Marsh & Karl Roelofs worked with the author, Ellen Miles (who was going under the pseudonym "F.X. Nine") to make sure that she had all the facts they had come up with in developing the world of Shadowgate. So while she did all the writing, Dave & Karl gave her the timeline, the notes, all of what they had.

So that book is LORE right there! :)

If it came out for 3DS, which would make way more sense than PSN actually, I'd buy a 3DS for something other than Etrian Odyssey 4 :D

Also good to know F.X. Nine is a pen name. When I got the book in 3rd grade I assumed it was written by a robot...

I really liked it though. I never had a chance to play any of the other games besides the original on NES and GB. The book really helped out on a few areas when I was like 8. I'm pretty sure the game taught me what acid was and why gloves are recommended. Also that smashing mirrors is not all its cracked up to be...

Stephen Broida:

In my experience, different websites have different policies when it comes to anything KickStarter. One game news website, for example, does not want to cover KickStarters for "Remakes" unless they have reached their goal, or are in need of significant help. But if a brand new game from noted developers hits KickStarter, they'll break the news on that one (this includes sequels and new IPs).

Of course, they have every right to have that policy, and far be it from me or anyone else to go against that. I'm certain that different websites have different opinions towards KickStarter, but I think it's safe to say that the majority of websites have accepted KickStarter as a sort of inevitable thing in the game industry now. The stories they choose to cover will likely vary from site to site, but that's all up to the people in charge.

Although, from my perspective, in addition to Hero-U, the other campaigns I'd like to see get more coverage are Delaware St. John 4, and the upcoming Alpha Colony (M.U.L.E. meets Catan) :)

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1065983707/delaware-st-john-asylum-of-the-lost-adventure-game

Everyone deserves a fair shot, if you ask me :)

That's really good information, I never considered it in terms of policy.

Then again, this is a publication that considered the ravings of post Monkeystone/Midway Games era John Romero as news, I'd love to get my hands on the Escapists newsroom policy handbook.

Gennadios:

That's really good information, I never considered it in terms of policy.

Then again, this is a publication that considered the ravings of post Monkeystone/Midway Games era John Romero as news, I'd love to get my hands on the Escapists newsroom policy handbook.

The handbook probably won't help much as these sorts of things evolve constantly as time goes by. For example, consider a larger game news website: When the issue of KickStarter begins to make waves, everyone gets together for a meeting and discusses how they should approach it. Some are likely very excited and want to cover it in as much detail as possible. Others feel like only some news about KickStarter and its campaigns are worth reporting because otherwise, they feel like they'd be cheapening themselves by giving free publicity to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that turns to KickStarter.

After much back and forth, an agreement is made, the formal or informal policy is set, and they move on.

Smaller game news websites might only have one or two people in charge who make these decisions, and so their approach could lean towards one of the more extreme views towards KickStarter (ie, best thing since sliced bread or breeding ground for scam artists). But like I said before, that's their right to hold that viewpoint, and the best thing anyone on KickStarter can do is not to fight their policies, but work with them.

Now as for PAST policies, well, I can't really say anything about that. :)

KoudelkaMorgan:

If it came out for 3DS, which would make way more sense than PSN actually, I'd buy a 3DS for something other than Etrian Odyssey 4 :D

Also good to know F.X. Nine is a pen name. When I got the book in 3rd grade I assumed it was written by a robot...

I really liked it though. I never had a chance to play any of the other games besides the original on NES and GB. The book really helped out on a few areas when I was like 8. I'm pretty sure the game taught me what acid was and why gloves are recommended. Also that smashing mirrors is not all its cracked up to be...

Like I said, it's been the 2nd most requested platform outside of Linux. And honestly, if they can apply some 3D effects to the artwork, it'd look pretty cool! :) (Just have to figure out how easy or difficult it would be to port)

And if memory serves me right, there were 2-3 authors that used the F.X. Nine pen name for the Worlds of Power books. "Before Shadowgate" was likely the best hint book for the game since while it had some hints, the best reference material was the background story and information which helped in solving some of the puzzles.

Also, "Shadowgate taught me what acid was", I'm going to have to remember that for the "Player Feedback" collection I'm building. :)

Hey folks! I know a lot of people have asked about getting the original MacVentures available for sale on Steam, GOG.com, etc.

Well I do have some good news:

If you have a GOG.com account, you can go to this link:

http://www.gog.com/en/wishlist/games/shadowgate

And vote for Shadowgate! The more votes it gets, the more you let GOG.com know that you want to see Shadowgate on their site. Zojoi would love to get the original versions of Shadowgate on GOG.com, and this might be just what it takes to get the game up there.

And if you don't have a GOG.com account, that's okay too. I found registering one to be really easy and cost zilch.

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm doing shameless promotion stuffs here, but I'm still waiting to get some great big news to everyone here, and if the good news about GOG.com won't come to us, then we come to them!

(Or something like that)

Stephen Broida:

Eric the Orange:
I remember Shadow gate and Deja vu were the only 2 adventure games on the NES.

Actually, there's also "Uninvited", another MacVenture title that got ported to the NES, and even King's Quest V got an NES port too. (And how can anyone forget Maniac Mansion? :) )

Oh yeah I forgot about the maniac mansion port. Though I wasn't aware that there were NES versions of the other two.

Eric the Orange:
Oh yeah I forgot about the maniac mansion port. Though I wasn't aware that there were NES versions of the other two.

Kemco did the port of Uninvited, just like they did with Shadowgate & Deja Vu.

The port of King's Quest V was actually published by Konami! Finding a copy will be VERY tricky though.

Also, in a bout of amazingness, Shadowgate has climbed to the #3 spot on GOG.com's Community Wishlist for Most Votes Earned in the Past Week! That's pretty impressive, and now lots of GOG.com members are seeing the entry and the campaign.

http://www.gog.com/wishlist/games

Now hopefully this will convince GOG.com to carry the MacVenture games!

Andy Chalk:
snip

Darn you Andy, I just got paid today and now I'm running about supporting more games on that blasted site. Thanks for bringing it to my attention though, I loved the shadowgate series when I was younger and I look forward to seeing what they can do with modern systems.

barbzilla:

Andy Chalk:
snip

Darn you Andy, I just got paid today and now I'm running about supporting more games on that blasted site. Thanks for bringing it to my attention though, I loved the shadowgate series when I was younger and I look forward to seeing what they can do with modern systems.

Thanks! :)

Although don't forget; the money you pledge doesn't leave your account until the end of the campaign on November 25th, and also only if Shadowgate crosses the $120,000 target by then too. Otherwise, no money changes hands.

But thank you very much for your pledge, and also tell your friends and family about it (in case they want in too). You can also vote for us on GOG.com so, if they can be convinced, they'll be able to put the original versions of Shadowgate up for people to play while the new version is being developed. :)

Check us out at the following links:

Shadowgate KickStarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zojoi/shadowgate
Shadowgate GOG.com Community Wishlist Entry - http://www.gog.com/en/wishlist/games/shadowgate
Zojoi Website: http://www.zojoi.com
Zojoi Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/zojoigame
Zojoi Twitter: http://twitter.com/zojoi

Thank you again! :)

Stephen Broida:
snip

Well since you took the time to address me myself I will be happy to push forward your campaign. I happen to think that you can do wonderful things with narrative, given the resources and design goals. I will push the facebook and twitter pages for you and I hope, nay I pray, that we get that game launched into the atmosphere (though I expect some quid pro quo, when I launch my kickstarter campaign next year).

I can't wait for your game to come out, we both know it will hit its goal easy. You guys rock, keep up the good work.

barbzilla:

Well since you took the time to address me myself I will be happy to push forward your campaign. I happen to think that you can do wonderful things with narrative, given the resources and design goals. I will push the facebook and twitter pages for you and I hope, nay I pray, that we get that game launched into the atmosphere (though I expect some quid pro quo, when I launch my kickstarter campaign next year).

I can't wait for your game to come out, we both know it will hit its goal easy. You guys rock, keep up the good work.

You're welcome! :)

Also, Zojoi's Official Forums just went live today! You can check them out here:

http://zojoi.freeforums.net/

There's a special section for KickStarter Backers that claim a Reward Tier. :)

 

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