Chasm Kickstarts ARPG Ambitions With A Demo

By Jim Rossignol on April 15th, 2013 at 3:00 pm.


It sure is a life-affirming thing when folks supply Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of a demo to promote their Kickstarter. There it is! You can play 2D ARPG Chasm before you choose to pledge. It’s also pretty great when the game contains “procedurally generated Metroid-like dungeons”, which is the claim for Chasm. It’s ringing the retro bell pretty loudly, as they explain: “Chasm was heavily influenced by games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid and Diablo.”

For elucidation, check out their pitch video and trailer below, or just swoop by their page and pick up one of the flavours of demo.

Not looking bad. But then they are asking for a glistening $150,000. That seems like a fair whack for something from the 16-bit era. Doesn’t it? Well, it does to me. So there.

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47 Comments »

  1. golem09 says:

    “That seems like a fair whack for something from the 16-bit era.”

    And considering what the demo already offers, I’m fairly excited. It looks nice, and with my SNES pad the controls are pretty tight. I also like the 1080p friendly resolution of 320×180.

  2. pakoito says:

    Are they coding scaling filters in? It’s standard on emulators for those of us who like old graphics in modern resolutions.

  3. smileyz says:

    From the trailer I thought someone was making Zeliard remake :(

  4. WarThunder says:

    “That seems like a fair whack for something from the 16-bit era.”

    That comes across as a rather silly remark when you look at another game with “16-bit graphics”, namely Starbound. That has, in the past 48 hours, raised over $500,000 – and look at how much money Terraria made from its “16 bit graphics” game. As any good games journalist should well know, the graphics are secondary to the gameplay.

    • Sian says:

      It’s not like the devs already got their 150’000 and Jim was wondering how that happened, he was wondering whether developing a 16-bit game would cost that much.

      • killias2 says:

        Still seems a bit dismissive of games with classic or non-AAA graphics. Not all development dollars are there for eye candy.

        • Hidden_7 says:

          But an awful lot is. The number one thing responsible for balooning development costs of games in recent years is the required number and quality of assets, particularly art assets, as expected graphics fidelity increases.

    • lordfrikk says:

      We have no way of knowing how much cash did the Starbound devs spent up until now; how much they made from preorders for a game that is arguably in late phase of its development cycle is irrelevant. They are selling their game, not generating cash to support the development.

  5. RedViv says:

    Pixel art that’s not just an excuse, Metroidvania gameplay that seems to handle well, pretty nice music, and a few neat ideas thrown in to not feel too old?
    Good. Have my money.
    (Speaking of pixel art games that mix a genre that is lacking on the PC with a few new ideas: C-Wars seems like a nice little project too.)

  6. Matt_W says:

    “procedurally generated”

    I’m not sure when this became a major selling point. Some games work well with procgen (I have just coined this neologism; please use it) worlds. Metroid would suck with them. Maybe I’m old school, but I like deliberate, well-crafted level design with puzzles and progression and hidden areas and carefully placed enemies and timed sections, etc. I like knowing that if I see an interesting level element, it’s almost certainly there for a reason.

    • Vegard Pompey says:

      “not sure when”

      Minecraft.

    • solidsquid says:

      I’d agree that it’s something which will make or break the game. That said, if they actually pulled it off then it could be one hell of an opportunity

    • dE says:

      I’m the same in that regard. I think the hype for procedural content come from the constant harping about replayability and size of the landscape. When gamers throw around “but Just Cause 2 has 400mi²” like that actually says anything about the fun, it’s understandable that programmers turn to algorhythms. I’d rather have a handcrafted area than an infinite landscape that looks nice – but has no soul whatsoever.

      • solidsquid says:

        In this case, if the flexibility of the procedural generation works as you would hope, you could in theory start a new game and have a completely different map system to explore. If they do go that route it won’t be easy to balance though, or avoid random blocks to a user’s progress

        • dE says:

          Yeah. But that really does not make it more fun. At least not for me. When I grow tired of a game, it’s not because I’ve seen everything – but because I’ve had enough of the mechanics, the specific workings of the game. No amount of infinite new levels will remedy that.

    • Sian says:

      From what I played of the demo, rooms are pre-generated, but placed randomly. A few were re-used fairly often, but that could change, of course. I’m guessing that, since this is a metroidvania, certain elements are placed in a very particular manner to hinder progression until certain tools or abilities are acquired.

      All in all, I’m not entirely sold on this. It looks interesting, but I share your concerns, and if rooms are repeated too often, things could get both boring and confusing fast.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I thought the same thing. I’m not sure if procedurally generated is the right fit for some genres. Then again, I didn’t like Terraria and quite a few people did.

    • golem09 says:

      After playing Spelunky for 20 hours and trying out this demo yesterday, procedural conent is EXACTLY what I want for this game.
      It’s actually the only reason I’m interested in it.

      I like action roguelikes, and hate the classic ones. So this in roguelike mode is EXACTLY the thing for me.

    • Nest says:

      Agreed. The metroid games had extremely well thought-out maps which were fundamentally what made the games so good. Take away the careful map design and you’re not left with much.

    • Flavioli says:

      One word: replayability.

      Or at least if done well… so maybe more than one word. The game that really sold the value of procgen to me was FTL… the game would simply not be the same without that mechanic.

  7. manwithabanana says:

    I’ve played it and It’s pretty good, but I don’t think I will go on this adventure.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Not to be PICKy and AXE it so soon but…

      The story is too similar to torchlight 1.

      It has the same DEPTH….

      You know the DRILL.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      I’ve played it too, but I don’t think it’s pretty good. I haven’t even finished the demo.

      As the famous philosopher and matematician Passcal would say;

      “I’ll pass”

      • manwithabanana says:

        From what I’ve played, the combat requires skill (killing the bats in the cave) to survive. The use of magic and the slight delay between your attacks makes the game enjoyable, but from what I’ve played, the atmosphere, and the combat does not have enough depth for me to enjoy it.

        I guess this is the worst part about putting out a demonstration for your product, but this practice should be used more often because it is consumer friendly, and it informs the developers about the positive changes that they can make to their game.

  8. deadly.by.design says:

    I’d say that I’d back it, but who am I kidding? I’ve never actually gotten around to backing anything.

    Maybe my apathy will dissipate when more of these projects actually release.

  9. Mudlab says:

    Was hoping for a remake/re-release of Chasm: The Rift, in all its dismembering glory. But no. =(

    • Shadowcat says:

      Yep, nothing hampers a distant blade-throwing jester like shooting off its throwing arm :) Chasm was decidedly good fun.

  10. cmc5788 says:

    “But then they are asking for a glistening $150,000. That seems like a fair whack for something from the 16-bit era. Doesn’t it? Well, it does to me. So there.”

    Really? You should be a bit more thankful to see a realistic pricetag being presented to you on a KickStarter for once. Wait and see what happens with those dozens of KickStarters that promised complete games for pennies on the dollar. More likely than not they’ll either catastrophically fail or be forced to seek further funding.

    It’s borderline irresponsible to promote unrealistically low-price KickStarters as the norm. You’ll ruin the good ones for the rest of us by driving inevitable failures to the forefront.

  11. eyrie0 says:

    “But then they are asking for a glistening $150,000. That seems like a fair whack for something from the 16-bit era. Doesn’t it?”

    Argh, please don’t perpetuate this line of thinking. The number one problem I have with Kickstarter is how it leads people to think that games can actually be made for $5k or $20k.

    They need to pay artists, sound designers, lawyers. They need to pay for marketing. They need to pay their bills. Please learn a little more about the cost of an artist or programmer’s time (and how much of that time is required) before taking the projects that use Kickstarter solely as a marketing tool ($25k goal) as a baseline.

  12. fdisk says:

    “Not looking bad. But then they are asking for a glistening $150,000. That seems like a fair whack for something from the 16-bit era. Doesn’t it? Well, it does to me. So there.”

    Divide $150,000 between the 4 people working on the game and that’s about $37,500 each. I’m willing to bet this game has taken well over a year to make; but for argument’s sakes let’s say it’s taken exactly a year. That’s $18 an hour before taxes; personally; this game must have been in development for at least 2 years; that’s $9 an hour, barely above minimum wage.

  13. godgoo says:

    Wow Jim, you really pissed on a few people’s cornflakes today it seems.

  14. Foosnark says:

    How is a side-scrolling platformer of the “miss a jump and land in deadly spikes” variety now an “ARPG”?

    • Bhazor says:

      More to the point how is a randomly generated cave like Metroid? The Metroid games are amongst the most ingenious pieces of game design out there with every corner of every room serving some purpose in showing the player how to progress. To think you can just string rooms together at random and call that Metroid? The height of hubris!

      http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/HugoBille/20120114/9236/

      • Bremze says:

        To think you can call procedural generation a bunch of strung together random rooms. The height of hubris!

        • jrodman says:

          On the one hand, in this context it will come down to stringing together random rooms. There may be more to it as well but that’s certainly going to be involved.

          Meanwhile, it may be the height of something to dismiss it this way, but I don’t think hubris is the one it is.

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