Your Tuesday Kickstarter: Tex Murphy – Project Fedora

By John Walker on May 15th, 2012 at 2:00 pm.

The hat over the greying hair and you'd never know a day had passed.

For people with no interest in adventures, this Kickstarter revolution must be increasingly frustrating. Certainly there’s a decent smattering of RPGs in there too, but I always like to think of those as adventures with combat. For those who grew up playing adventures in the late 80s, early 90s however, this is like a mad dream. The latest beloved franchise to attempt a comeback is the Tex Murphy series, reincarnating the sardonic private eye in, well, just about exactly the same way he appeared nearly two decades ago.

Crucially, Tex himself, Chris Jones, is on board – being the designer you’d hope so. And as you’ll see from the video below, despite having added a few more crow’s feet, he’s still very much of the role.

$450,000 is a big ask – while the Tex Murphy games were extremely popular in the heyday of the CD-ROM, I’m not sure they’re as fondly remembered as the earlier Sierra games, or strikingly different LucasArts games. But I remember them fondly! I remember enjoying the deeply peculiar mix of noir fiction, science fiction, and nonsense, as well as being absolutely bewildered how it could be that I was controlling FMV characters.

The video suggests there’s no wrongfooted decision to move away from the corny. But I’m a little concerned both about the sparsity of information on the page – little effort has gone in outside of the lovely video – and by the really dreadful reward tiers. Not only are they incredibly slapdash and difficult to parse, but they’re not exactly enticing. Like, why put a PDF of a 16 year old novel in the $150 section? How about enticing people at more sensible lower prices with things that are literally free to distribute. And I’m increasingly unimpressed with games offering “beta test the game” at the higher tiers. Beta testing is something you pay people to do.

I’d really like to see this one happen. It’s already over $60,000 in the first day, so that’s a great start. I think they may want to introduce a few more tiers, however, and maybe put some effort into their Kickstarter page, pledge to Kick It Forward, etc.

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51 Comments »

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  1. Zeewolf says:

    I thought the tiers were pretty good, but then again I was prepared to donate more than usual from the start (TEX MURPHY!!!!), so I didn’t need any persuation to skip the first $100 worth of tiers.

    Edit: If you donate $50 you actually get FOUR games plus the pre-order. That includes one of the classics from GOG. Plus soundtrack and some digital posters. That is pretty good, and much better than what most Kickstarters offers at that tier.

  2. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    “…but I always like to think of those as adventures with combat.”

    In before Wizardry.

    • jimboton says:

      what do you mean? I’m curious..

      Probably off topic, I would totally kickstart Wizardry IX.

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      Colthor says:

      Or “adventures but with game mechanics”, perhaps.

    • Wizardry says:

      It looks specifically targeted at me, and because of that I won’t bite. :D

  3. brat-sampson says:

    Won’t somebody *PLEASE* just Kickstart ToonStruck 2 already!?!

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      hmrf says:

      I think someone should kickstart Outcast 2. Now that would be a game I’d pay tons of money for!

      • MadTinkerer says:

        Indeed. Both of those and Legend of Kyrandia 4, please.

        (Also Quest For Glory 6 and Lands of Lore 3.)

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          Lambchops says:

          Outcast 2, Little Big Adventure 3 and Toonstruck 2 would be my ideal trio of Kickstarter games.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Hell, IIRC a good whack of the work on that was already done, because Toonstruck was cut in half before release. ScummVM’s engine support for it is pretty dang mature and hits a ton of platforms, including the Win/Lin/Mac trifecta.

      I would totally chip in a tenner to get that dug out, finished up, and released, without any further “HD”-ification meddling.

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        Hodge says:

        And you just reminded me that a couple of years ago there was a petition to do exactly that.

        I wonder why they haven’t Kickstarted yet? If they were willing to do it for signatures then doing it for actual cash should be a no-brainer.

  4. caddyB says:

    Pledged. I’m sorry wallet, but we have to do this.

  5. Inigo says:

    $450,000 is a big ask

    Maybe they’re trying to bring James Earl Jones back.

  6. J_C says:

    This looks good. But I’m really disappointed in RPS, that they still haven’t mentioned this project:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1684781151/legends-of-eisenwald

    The devs already sent the press release to RPS as far as I know weeks ago. Although the project will be funded, but this game really looks good and deserves more money.

    • rustybroomhandle says:

      Agreed, not entirely sure what they have against medieval hex-and-turn-based rpgs. Anyway – they reached their goal, but I was hoping they’d make it to $100000.

      • MadTinkerer says:

        Because RPS can’t just post about every interesting-looking Kickstarter both because they don’t have the time and even just posting about the most notable ones makes certain less pleasant commenters complain.

        Sticking, for the most part, just to Kickstarters which are resurrecting major franchises (and maybe projects which are as notable as a resurrection of a major franchise) addresses both issues.

        • rustybroomhandle says:

          Yes they can post whatever they like. And deliberately ignore anything that readers whinge about. They can do that.

          I still think a weekly roundup in addition to whatever they choose to focus on would be a better way to go about these things. A recent leak revealed more than 70000 Kickstarter projects that have yet to unlock. (mostly not games, though, but still)

        • Zancrowe says:

          Have you read the post about Realm Explorer? it was like 10 sentences long and Jim was not even enthusiastic about it so really a biweekly roundup of the most interesting kickstarters can’t be THAT much of a chore for the editors and you know… just because rps posts about them does not mean you have to jump the shark and burn a hole in your wallet.

          speaking of resurrecting major genres there are 2 solid projects involving spacebattles going on atm with actual demos but noone gives a shit sadly… (Kinetic Void / Skyjacker) so jeah just my 0.02$

          for those interested:
          http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/seanpollman/kinetic-void/posts
          http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/digitilus/skyjacker/posts

          • abandonhope says:

            Both worthy projects. Kinetic Void is my own personal darling at the moment. This is the game I fantasized about playing when I was 13, the kind of game that developers of sandbox space sims have been making strides toward for decades. It seems to have something of a Minecraft influence going for it, crossed with many of the features initially promised for Freelancer, along with the brilliantly accessible Freelancer-style control setup, which only makes it more appealing for me.

            I understand that RPS can’t cover Kickstarter all day every day, but I’d like to see a roundup of the current space sim projects on offer, because I think the potential revival for the genre is, in itself, an interesting story. As cool as some of the beloved franchise comebacks are, I’d like to see genre innovation recognized here as well.

          • zeekthegeek says:

            Kinectic Void BADLY needs the love – it doesn’t look like it’ll hit it’s relatively modest target otherwise. :<

          • abandonhope says:

            It really does. It’s such an amazing project. I’m not sure if the concept of a sandbox space sim is too unrecognizable to younger gamers, or if players are wary of complicated flight controls, but based on what I’ve experienced in the shipyard demo, this is going to be a very deep game with very intuitive, modern controls.

            I’m not a fan of the idea that a space sim must have a cluttered HUD and messy keyboard control to be realistic, since it’s clear that technology makes things simpler as it advances (consider the relatively easy-to-fly F-22 Raptor). I suck at these kinds of games when every button on the keyboard has a different function that needs to be memorized, and thankfully this is not one of those games. Maximizing mouse and WASD-centered control is definitely the best way to go.

            The ability to construct ships from the ground up; a dynamic, procedurally generated galaxy with factions, trade, mining, manufacturing, ship management, epic battles and piracy; and five distinct vessel classes opening up very different avenues of play… I don’t know why Kinetic Void is not exciting more people. I guess I’m old or something.

            Add to that a developer that intends on providing free content updates (Minecraft-style) with the potential to dramatically improve the core game with things like fleet command and multiplayer, and you’ve got an indie game at its purest. I’ve been a little dismayed to see all the talk of paid DLC on some Kickstarters.

        • Bhazor says:

          A port of an iPhone game got three seperate full length posts and the writer insisting people pledge to it.
          RPS writers need to make up their mind.

          • Deano2099 says:

            Sounds to me like they already. They just made it up in a way you don’t like. RPS always has, and always will, covered what interests the writers. They’re interested in this. They’re not interested in Eisenwhatever.

        • almondblight says:

          Republique, asking for $500,000, being a iPhone game first, that in their own words requires another $500,000 from investors (of which they don’t have yet), got four articles. Eienwald looks promising, is well on its way to being finished, only asked for $50,000, and managed to get funded without a whole lot of press attention. And it’s gotten no articles from RPS.

          Gaming journalism really is an insiders game, and it’s a cancer that’s been holding back gaming.

          • Zancrowe says:

            yes i agree that is also why i totally love TotalBiscuit’s kicksmarter series(well its 1 vid for now :P) cause he at least features the unknown projects contrary to rps who seemingly only go for the big ones that arguably do not even need this much attention and for some reason post 4 articles about iphone-ports.

            without him being the first to feature necro and starlight inception they would have never got made.

            i guess i hoped rps would have a similar attitude but i it does not seem like it sadly.

          • Caiman says:

            I had no idea Total Biscuit was doing kicksmarter, but I’m going to check it out. I’ve been saying for weeks that the person smart enough to make a site dedicated to highlighting interesting Kickstarter games, including interviews with devs, posts to key content updates, news of projects entering their last few days etc would be a shoe-in for frequent visitation. Hell I’d do it myself if I actually had the time to devote to it.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        Medievel hex-and-turn-based RPGs aren’t adventure games, so no post for them.

        Oh wait.

        They are adventure games with combat, apparently.

        Dunno then.

  7. StranaMente says:

    I liked how this news is been treated: that is, pros and cons are clearly illustrated, and there’s always the signature humor of rps.
    I’d really love for rps to cover more kickstarter THIS way, because for now (and until the fever passes) there are many interesting projects that may use some help, and informed help is very useful.
    A mature discussion, even a weekly or bi-weekly round up of your opinions could be interesting.

  8. Godwhacker says:

    First things first: why is Ringo Starr driving that Hovercar?

  9. SpecimN says:

    I hope they already started developing it because “Estimated delivery december 2012″ seems a little bit short for that type of game.

  10. reggiep says:

    I support this project in spirit only. There’s just too many other good games that demand my time.

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    Bluerps says:

    No more Kickstarters for me.

    My wallet sits in the corner, quietly crying to himself, trying to cope with the abuse. I watch him in despair, realising what a monster I have become. I cannot do that to him anymore.

    No, seriously. I’ve spent so much money on non-existent things, I simply cannot justify to do it again in the near future.

    • Strange_guy says:

      I’ve got about £70 in 8 games kickstarters, and more in pre-orders for various games. Other than putting $2 into some music kickstarter today I, like you, am going to stop putting money into what is often mere dreams and hopes. I just hope nothing really tempting turns up.

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        Bluerps says:

        Even if it does, I will just remember myself that no Kickstarter depends on specifically my backing. The rewards are nice and all, but in the end what really matters is getting the game (or whatever the Kickstarter is for) and that can still be bought when it’s finished.

  12. Bhazor says:

    These kickstarter projects are becoming a case of “Who? Oh! Here take my money.”.

    Basically game developers whose stuff I never bought until they were closed down or disbanded or bought up. Having only played Pandora Directive via GoG this is a chance to pay the developer what I should have paid them a decade ago.

    Likewise I pledged to Wasteland 2 for Fargo’s past work, Double Fine for the money I owe Tim and Ron for DotT and I’ll be pledging to the Obsidian kickstarter in return for not buying Planescape at release.

    • Cerius says:

      :) I’m the same.

      But, don’t you mean “Fargo’s Work” regarding Wasteland 2? Did you mix him up with Tim Cain (Fallout’s creator)?

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      phlebas says:

      You mean Pandora Directive rather than Pandora Tomorrow, right?

    • LionsPhil says:

      All we need now is for Looking Glass to come back so I can apologise profusely for missing System Shock at the time via the medium of ALL OF MY MONEY.

      • abandonhope says:

        I was buying PC games by the barrel-full in 1999, and I really hate myself for not buying and playing System Shock 2 when it was released, since I have yet to get it to run properly on a modern machine. This is perhaps one of my greatest shames, not including what I do alone at night, which is cry over not having played System Shock 2.

    • Opellulo says:

      For me is also a way to apologize for a rumpant teenage pirate career… At the time i had not the money or the awareness to buy what i really like; i feel in debt with these developers.

      The Big Point is now: how these projects will turn out? If the Double Fine Adventure (that get, more or less, the leading role in these videogames comebacks) turn out poor or sucky will this trend continue?

  13. gritz says:

    I’d love to also see HD re-releases of the last 3 games.

  14. Thom12255 says:

    It would be great if RPS showed Conquest 2 some love, it deserves it…

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1869102574/conquest-2-vyrium-uprising-rts-fans-unite

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    Stense says:

    Ahh Tex, some of my favourite memories from 90’s adventuring. Cheesey noir slaptick sci-fi made for a surprisingly compelling series.

  16. LionsPhil says:

    That’s an, er, interesting choice of music at the end there.

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    Chaz says:

    I bought myself a nice Fedora a couple of months back. My first hat, http://www.hatsandcaps.co.uk/Christys-Hats-Knightsbridge-Fedora-P130204/ got mine in brown. Going up in price big time though, it was only £56 when I bought it. Very nice hat though, worth the money.

    Still trying to master wearing it in a stiff breeze whilst maintaining an air of nonchalance. However I just end up staring at the pavement a lot as I angle my head into the wind, with the odd quick grab to stop it from flying off. Makes you wonder what they did back in the days when every man wore a hat. You never see vintage photos with crowds of guys walking around holding their hats down. Also got a nice fawn mac to go with it to complete the Bogart look. Looks good with my taupe Italian suit. Certainly seems to get me noticed up town.

    I decided it was time to make a stand and look well dressed when I go out, as a counter to all the slobs up town that dress like they were dragged backwards through the reject skips outside Primark and TK Maxx.

  18. malkav11 says:

    I’ll probably back this, but they definitely need to put more info out there about the project in general and the specific nature of some of the rewards. I.e., one of the tiers mentions a reward of “download the documentary”. Wait, what documentary? They don’t say anything about it on the page or in the video.

  19. Grey_Ghost says:

    Interesting… I wonder why he skipped mentioning Mean Streets & Martian Memorandum, the only Tex Murphy games I’ve played. I remember playing a Demo (PC GAMER CD’s woot) once the games all went Wing Commander FMV’ish, but I’m guessing that turned me off the series.

    I never really liked any FMV type games, except for Critical Path (though I don’t really remember why anymore).