Now here’s a Kickstarter that I’ve no problem pointing people to. I’ve been a long-time fan of bizarre Russian indie studio Ice-Pick Lodge. They’ve only made a few games to date, but they’ve been three of the most creative and interesting I’ve seen in years. Pathologic was a game about desperation, plague and decay, and despite a cripplingly bad translation (outsourced by the publisher, apparently), a genuinely interesting story. The script won awards in its native Russian, at least.
Their second outing, The Void, was an intense first-person action adventure set in a nightmarish purgatorial realm filled with hideous and twisted guardians known as the Brothers, and a chain of beautiful, siren-like figures known as the Sisters. Neither side is to be entirely trusted, and neither is what they first seem to be. Great translation, too – done in-house by the studio itself.
The third game was the downright loopy Cargo: The Quest For Gravity. Probably their most derivative title (it played a lot like Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts), but held together by a gloriously odd setting, with you playing as a gravelly-voiced female engineer, building machines to navigate the landscape and trying to help the Buddies – the new successor race to mankind after a grand god-spawned funpocalypse – find their way in a potentially lethal world.
Today, Ice-Pick announced their fourth game, Knock-Knock!, and are apparently going fully independent this time. The small Russian outfit aim to raise a fairly small $30,000, and are already just shy of $5k, with a month and a half left on the clock. Interestingly, while the final retail price is set to be $10, a $5 pledge will get you the full game when it’s released, as well as some bonus perks. There’s also a bit of a story behind this one, but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Described as a cartoonish, 2D game of horror hide-and-seek, in Knock-knock! you play as a strange, scraggly-haired hermit living in a shack deep in the forest. Each night, the Visitors come a-knocking. Strange, twisted creatures, ghosts and other forest-dwelling things of weirdness. They don’t seem to be too hostile, given the teaser video above, but coming into contact with them erodes at the protagonists sanity and health, so they’re best avoided.
The strangest part of this whole Kickstarter project is that the concept of the game doesn’t belong to Ice-Pick. Rather, they were supposedly mailed a package containing video clips and notes, detailing a failed and possibly cursed game development project. Along with this nightmare diary, there was a request that Ice-Pick take up the gauntlet and complete the game, and release it to an unsuspecting world. Whether this story is made up or true really doesn’t matter – it makes for a fascinating bit of backstory to the development of the game itself.
As an additional twist to the tale, this archive of spooky data is going to be bundled in with the game. Apparently yet another requirement as stated by The Originator – the name given by the developers to the mysterious malefactor that roped Ice-Pick into this bizarre little bit of game development history. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m quite interested in this. It’s a bit corny on paper, but never underestimate how a clever bit of high-tech haunting can get under your skin…
Source: The Indie Game Magazine – Ice-Pick Lodge Seeking A Chilling $30k Kickstarter Funding For ‘Knock-Knock!’