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"One of the things about the various incarnations of Shadowgate was that it was originally made for devices with a very finite set of storage space - that made it a relatively small game.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.