Mouse And Keyboard: Ghost Of A Tale

By Jim Rossignol on April 3rd, 2013 at 4:00 pm.


Some men are talented. Others, well, they are like Lionel “Seith” Gallat. Fresh from being the animation director on Despicable Me and The Lorax, Gallat has turned himself into a one-man game studio, and he’s single-handedly making an exquisite-looking little game called Ghost Of A Tale, the trailer for which you can see below. The game, in which the player takes control of an anthropomorphic mouse, references Ico and the Gothic games. Gallat explains: “The mysterious Island of Periclave, which has long been a disputed outpost for the Army of the Rats, is abandoned now, and reputed to be haunted. Of course tales are told of a fabulous treasure hidden high up in the Tower of Periclave, but it would be folly to try and get there, even for a mighty warrior – and the little mouse certainly doesn’t look like one.”

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Gallat is trying to raise funds via IndieGoGo. He says:

But my goal is to craft a small yet beautiful game with environments that look a bit like movie sets and characters that have a sense of stylization in their design, while retaining a certain simplicity and immediacy as far as gameplay is involved.

I know it sounds hockey but I’m really trying to recapture the sense of wonder I felt as a kid when I discovered the games from the 80s and early 90s. But with a AAA quality (as far as I’m able) that’s very much up-to-date.

And I think he could well do that.

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65 Comments »

  1. mikmanner says:

    Weirdly, looks a bit like Dark Souls. Though maybe I am just starting to see Dark Souls in everything, like a code. I can see it in my dogs eyes.

    • Drayk says:

      I see it too. But I am playing Dark souls my every free moment this week… It’s an addictive game.

      • aliksy says:

        It’s a very good game with a lot of freedom and space to explore. (Ok, so the controls are iffy and some of the checkpoints are annoyingly far apart. But other than that…)

        I’d love to see more games like Dark Souls. Big worlds to explore, sequence breaking, no bullshit “unlocks” or skill points.

        On topic: This game looks interesting.

        • Premium User Badge

          darkChozo says:

          No bullshit unlocks or skill points? It’s an RPG! Half of the game is skill points and “unlocking” weapons and spells.

          I mean, I’m not saying that with any hostility, but what?

          • MarcP says:

            Dark Souls has stat points (improve attributes gradually), but it doesn’t have skill points (learn entirely new abilities). You could argue spells or higher stat requirement weapons with different move sets is similar in spirit to skill points, but the game is built so you have all the tools you need right away, the only limitation being your own skill. Leveling is a byproduct of playing the game rather than a goal in itself, and no particular unlock is needed to get through any specific area.

            I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with either approach, got as many hours in either Torchlight 2 or Borderlands 2 as I do in Dark Souls. Nonetheless, very different ways to do character progression.

    • Premium User Badge

      AlwaysRight says:

      Thou dost see… the darksign in the eyes of thine beast?…

      nya ha ha…

      The Darksign is the sign of the Undead. And in this land, the Undead are corralled and led to the north, where they are locked away, to await the end of the world…. This is your fate…

      ha ha ha!

    • Dowr says:

      It reminds me of The Witcher 2.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Huh. And I thought only cats had dark souls.

  2. pakoito says:

    Squeak Eek Eek Squeak Ik!!

    • Bart Stewart says:

      This can’t be Death of Rats sque– er, speaking — it’s not ALL IN CAPS, which is well-known to be sepulchral in any language.

  3. Pavello says:

    >Gothic
    Count me in

    • Keyrock says:

      Same here, plus I very much love rodents.

    • KwisatzHaderach says:

      The beach and the animations definitely resemble Gothic/Risen beaches and animations. The whole feel is there actually, even though it’s probably a very early version and I couldn’t embrace the music as much as I would’ve liked. Heading over to IndieGogo now…

  4. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Gorgeous. Do want.

  5. aemskelley says:

    I was getting Rats of Nimh vibes from the image above, and lo and behold it’s one of his influences! One of the best children’s books ever – might have to dig that one out of the loft!

    • Bent Wooden Spoon says:

      Glad to see I wasn’t the only one, that was my first thought too.

  6. internisus says:

    Hmm… Sounds a bit more basketball than hockey to me.

    • spindaden says:

      For some reason, of all the sports in all the world, I got a Cheese Rolling vibe.

  7. Jams O'Donnell says:

    That scampering animation is lovely.

  8. Dana says:

    For a second I thought: Mouse Guard ? No…

  9. Kitsunin says:

    I like the look of it. Animal protagonists have always been one of those things that makes me feel childlike glee, but I’ve never played a game that made me feel the same way I used to feel from reading Redwall, Watership Down, or Warriors. The trailer makes me think this might have just that same feeling of animal-based adventure.

    • Premium User Badge

      Oozo says:

      “The Warriors”?
      Coming from Coney Island, sporting fashionable threads and being in a gang does not make you an animal, sir!

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who had flashbacks to a childhood spent reading Redwall.

      • Geen says:

        Good times, good times. My school library had a ton of them, and many a good afternoon was spent reading in the backyard.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      You know Dust: An Elysian Tail’s coming out for PC at some point, right?

    • cptgone says:

      gaming needs more anthropomorphic animals. they add so much atmosphere! the mere words “contested outpost of the rat army” had me drooling already.

  10. Tuco says:

    That’s… Gothic/Risen with a mouse as main character.

  11. Michael Fogg says:

    Stuart Little: The RPG

  12. vodka and cookies says:

    Really nice art direction (to be expected) and a working demo but IndieGoGo probably ensures this doesn’t get funded. Pretty much everyone who does game crowd funding is on Kickstarter, should have done that from the start, there’s more work on show in his pitch then some of the dubious projects on Kickstarter that got funded.

    The game sounds really interesting, I would love to see it happen.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      According to the project page, he’s based in Perpignan, France. Kickstarter is for US and UK residents only.

      • Veracity says:

        Is this a new development? Ice Pick Lodge is Russian. Maybe you just need a mailing address or an account with a bank somewhere Kickstarter doesn’t ignore?

        • Sheng-ji says:

          It’s not that simple and it’s a massive legal headache, not to mention getting taxed twice.

    • Stevostin says:

      Yes it’s big time to go on alternate to kickstarter. A heap of world wide excellent project not being made because of this.

    • Kitsunin says:

      You’re absolutely right, but it kind of makes me sad: IndieGoGo is better than Kickstarter in a number of ways, so it’s too bad it doesn’t have the same level of exposure. And…Kickstarter is US/UK only too? Laaaaame.

      • The Random One says:

        I still support Indiegogo, but it’s kind of weird that they take the charge right away and then give it back if the project doesn’t meet its goal (and isn’t flexible funding). Every bank must hate it.

        • Premium User Badge

          Lorewin says:

          I signed up to Indiegogo just to support this, and was taken aback that they take the funding immediately. That’s enough of a minus for me that I’ll avoid them in future.

          There’s something about having to double check that I’ve been refunded if they don’t meet target I find offputting after becoming accustomed to Kickstarter,

        • Kitsunin says:

          But does it not make more sense to do it that way? Imagining there aren’t any fees involved, which I guess there aren’t, by charging earlier, doesn’t that ensure that the full amount of cash is actually there, and prevent one from having their payment bounce? I get that if you’re someone who keeps a careful eye on their bank account, it makes for a slight amount of work should something fail to be funded…but, is it really that much of a pain?

  13. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Considering that the guy makes this on his own, this looks rather impressive.

  14. Thwick says:

    Sure, it sounds a little hockey, but i think the goal he is shooting for of environmental beauty, character design, and simplicity with immediacy is achievable. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched of a hat-trick. I hope he gets funded before the whole thing goes into overtime as he’ll be playing the entire game short-handed.

    • Skabooga says:

      I was going to make some snide comments about anthropomorphic animals, but then I thought it might be better to body-check myself before I wreck myself.

    • Soldancer says:

      I see what ya’ll did there. ;)

      This not only makes me think of Mouseguard, but also other fantasy/rodentia things like the Tale of Desperaux, Secret of NIMH and the excellent recent board game Mice and Mystics. I hope it gets the funding and attention it appears to deserve!

      • Whitenorthstar says:

        Yes, the Tale of Despereax and the Secret of Nimh are mentioned as some of his influences on the indiegogo game page

  15. TWChristine says:

    I would have loved a Redwall game as a kid!

  16. guygodbois00 says:

    This is excellent news. Looks and sounds enchanting; something I should play with my niece. Co-op?

  17. Drinking with Skeletons says:

    So this guy was strictly the animation director for those movies, right? I didn’t see The Lorax, but Despicable Me was not very good, and I’m not sure I can get excited for a game by the person who made that. If he had no control over the writing, however, color me tentatively excited.

    Now, how about hooking Creative Assembly up with the Redwall license? “Your mice are fleeing the battlefield! A SHAMEFUL DISPLAY!”

    • Whitenorthstar says:

      as an animation director, Lionel Gallat would have been responsible for a lot of the visuals, not the script…. I really enjoyed Despicable Me anyway :)

  18. lomaxgnome says:

    It looks interesting, but $20 is just too much for a one man Kickstarter type project. I’ve seen a few of these now that seem to be pricing themselves out of donations. I guess they come from the “console games cost $60″ perspective, but indie games don’t. If his “game level” donation was $5 or at most $10, he’d probably see exponentially more interest. As it stands, it seems exceedingly unlikely to get funded.

    • Whitenorthstar says:

      @lomaxgnome Honestly, I think people are prepared to pay a little more for this level of quality.

      After just 24 hours, the campaign has made more than 8% of its funding target… which is good progress imho.

  19. Wonkyth says:

    Nimh, Watership Down, Mouse Guard, mother-hugging Redwall.
    All awesome.
    Why hasn’t there been enough anthropomorphic animal setting fantasy awesomeness stuffs?
    Closest thing at the moment would be Overgrowth, and that’s very much a different kind of world.

    Man, I would pay SO much to play a Mouse Guard game or watch a Redwall film.
    Please, people with money to produce such things, make it happen? D:

    Unless the people with the IP feel like doing something, like this guy is! :D
    Biggest problem this game is going to have matching up to the aforementioned names is that it cant possibly have the depth of world-building put into it. Redwall’s a freaking life’s work, there’s no way one can catch up with a few mere years of game development, especially with so much extrinsic information to visualise and gamify.

    Blargh, this Ghost of a Tale thing only makes me want to read more Redwall. :P

  20. Whitenorthstar says:

    Beautiful! Check it out, a new video featuring the game’s main mouse character: