3D Platformer Recalls GameCube Happyface: A Hat In Time

By John Walker on May 30th, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

First of all, A Hat In Time is a great name. Second of all, Gears For Breakfast is an excellent name for a developer. Third of all, looking a lot like Zelda: Windwaker and attempting to emulate N64 collect-me-do 3D platformers is the right thing to do. Fourth, fifth and infinityth of all, there’s obviously a Kickstarter.

We last heard word about the game back in November, and things seemed to have moved forward apace. The in-game footage is already looking pretty impressive, but they’ve made this so far in their spare time on a budget of precisely nothing. Now they’re after $30,000, and they’re well on their way. Gosh, writing this sentence they just leapt up from around $15,500 to $16,100. Take a look at the footage – you’ll be impressed.

A copy on release will cost $15, which they’re speculating will be some time in February 2014. And they’re already in the Greenlight queue to secure a place on Steam. It seems noteworthy that the protagonist and antagonist are both female – Hat Kid and Moustache Girl – which is damned refreshing. Here’s a bunch more footage:

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32 Comments »

  1. pupsikaso says:

    Look! Look! Games CAN be dark and grim without being overly brown!

  2. Archipelagos says:

    Can’t say I ever really wanted a return to the N64 aesthetic, it always seemed to exist in this awkward place between 2D and baby-steps 3D, without the full benefit of either. Zelda: Windwaker got it /perfect/ but that had the added benefit of some peerless animation.

    • Berzee says:

      And also the benefit of not being on the N64 :)

      • boe2 says:

        So the newsposter got it wrong. I was hoping at least the commenters knew that Wind Waker was a gamecube title, not N64.

        • darkChozo says:

          Considering the article title, I think he’s well aware of what platform Windwaker is for. The N64 bit is referring to the gameplay, which is supposed to evoke the Mario 64 and Banjo-style platformers of yore, definitely in the N64′s niche.

    • Anthile says:

      That’s fine and all but now give these people your money.

    • misterT0AST says:

      There is one thing that I’ve almost never seen replicated from the N64 era.
      Mario 64, DK64 and Banjo Kazooie all had this “solid feeling” that I can’t quite explain:
      invisible walls are absent, or literally solid walls, if you punch a wall you always hear the same noise, and it makes sense, since everything is made of “unbreakable textured material”, all the same.
      It was very meta, those games didn’t even try to hide the fact they were games.
      Mario 64 in particular had this beautiful feeling of “here is an environment made by someone. Go search for the stars”.
      There is only you, the level, and (somewhere hidden) the stars. Everything is made of Block. Mario can put his hands on every wall, try to push it, punch it, put his feet on every wall, try to walljump, put his ASS on every wall, sliding. You can PUNCH the wall, STOMP on the ground anywhere you want, and everything is solid matter.
      You have to hug the level, touch the walls, crawl on the ground, roll around in it. It was all very tactile. It felt so real and solid, compared to nowadays’ arbitrary “you can’t jump over this ledge” (from pretty much everything, from Skyrim to Deus Ex HR).
      There were no round objects or complicated shapes because everything materially WAS a cube or a 45 degree angle.
      Something that came close to it was, I think, Quake, but not having arms (and just having a gun) in FPSs really bothers me because I feel like an armless man who runs around with a gun in his mouth. It didn’t really give me the idea of freedom of movement. Psychonauts came closer to it.

      That sweet spot of blockiness, perfect collision checking, where everything actually COINCIDES with its hitbox is something I really miss.

      • Geen says:

        …Thank you for the nostalgia high. Ah, back in the good ol’ days…

      • Nodes says:

        I love the games you mention, but are you sure your recollections aren’t being clouded by nostalgia here? For example, I remember tons of invisible walls in Mario 64, which were really easy to run into as soon as you started flying with the winged cap.

        • misterT0AST says:

          Yes, but when you flew into them, rather than (for example) being flung back or hovering in mid-air, you heard a *THUMP* and fell over.
          They really were WALLS in the true sense of the term, and the game was very conscious of them, rather than hiding their existence (think of the entrance to “Bowser in the dark”).

  3. Roboito says:

    That does look rather nice indeed, this might be the first Kickstarter I back. Oh, and also…..

    puts on hipster glasses/

    I like Wind Waker when it came out, before it was cool

    /takes off hipster glasses.

    • Koozer says:

      /borrows glasses

      I actually liked the triforce piece collecting bit. Gives you a nice reason to explore all the islands at a relaxed pace.

  4. Urthman says:

    It makes my whole body itch watching her in that first video running past the glowing collectables without actually picking them up. Twice!

  5. RedViv says:

    Hat Kid
    Mustache Girl
    Banjo
    Wind Waker
    Mafia of Cooks

    I am being overloaded with grand things MUST PLEEEDGE

    Making a game about HATS HATS HATS is natural progression for a team of mostly Source modders, I would say.

  6. lowprices says:

    Damn you John! I’d stopped backing Kickstarters after I spent so much on Dreamfall Chapters, and now you make me back two in two days? Stop spending my money! I need that stuff to eat and be not-homeless!

  7. vinipc says:

    Bananas! They’re already 2/3 through their Kickstart. Guess they’ll get funding, allright.

    • Harrington says:

      Lord, you’re not joking! I think they may have underestimated the interest a bit.

      • Wedge says:

        Pretty sure underselling your estimate with lots of “stretch” room is what most smart kickstarters do.

  8. Dances to Podcasts says:

    I approve of this.

  9. aliksy says:

    Interesting. Female leads that don’t seemed to be defined by that fact. I approve.

    • Canisa says:

      Her name is Hat Kid!

      Hat Kid! Not ‘Hat Girl’! Screw you, Mr. D. Fault Male!

  10. mickygor says:

    As someone who grew up with a Playstation, I’d like to point out that it was a phenomenon of the generation, not just the N64. I lost so much of my life to Spyro, Croc, Gex etc

  11. Nidokoenig says:

    Maybe I just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, but seeing a Kickstarter that’s less than a day old and has already sold out all of it’s “Early Bird” reward tier(It’s the first month people have the chance to throw money at you, that’s early enough), and its exclusive hat tier(They’re digital hats, dude, you have infinity of them) just makes me feel like leaving them to build the game on their early birds’ backs and I’ll see if it’s worth bothering with when a bundle or sale comes round.
    It just seems like they’re looking at the stats for Kickstarters, seeing that the successful ones spike early and trying to game the system to cause that. It seems overly cynical and cold-blooded for a game that’s perfectly capable of succeeding on its own merits.

  12. LuciusAxelrod says:

    Describing the game as a “collect-a-thon” inspired by Rare really turns me off from this game. The collecting was by far the worst parts of their platformers. I really feel that the emphasis on collecting things nearly killed the genre for me personally and maybe even for the world. After playing Donkey Kong 64, I couldn’t stomach to play another platformer until Super Mario Galaxy.
    Just for fun, let’s compare the collectibles from Mario 64 and Donkey Kong 64 to see how Rare “evolved” the genre over those few years.
    Super Mario 64:
    - 7 Stars Per Level
    - 100 Coins Per Level
    - 8 Red Coins Per Level
    Donkey Kong 64:
    - 5 Golden Bananas Per Level Per Kong
    - 100 Regular Bananas Per Level Per Kong
    - 40 Blue Prints Total
    - 1 Banana Medal Per Level Per Kong
    - Photos of Banana Fairies
    - Film with which to take photos of the Banana Fairies
    - Some other one-of collectibles
    Keep in mind that there are 5 Kong characters that you need to play as.
    It’s really just not fun.

    • ZHsquad says:

      Are you serious? It was fun collecting them! It extended the game time, gave you a reason to explore and even gave you extra goodies! Not everyone can handle fun platform games though.

      • LuciusAxelrod says:

        I’m not really interested in games that extend play time by making you go through every nook and cranny of a level five times. To me, it feels incredibly monotonous, and the design of it just seems lazy.
        Platformers shouldn’t be about picking up each and everything you see on the ground. Platformers should be about getting from point A to point B in the most fun way possible.
        Donkey Kong 64, at its core, is just a game about picking things up from the ground for hours upon hours. It’s not good and I don’t want people to be influenced by it when it comes to game design.

        • mickygor says:

          It’s not like A Hat In Time is collecting all the man hours in the gamedev worlds. To assert that no one should be wanting to make such a game because you don’t enjoy them is ludicrous. There’s a lot of us that really enjoyed them, and if you don’t want to play this game, then don’t play it, but I very much do.

        • BooleanBob says:

          I agree with you, but Banjo Kazooie is a whole other matter – it took the ’64 platformer baton from Mario and goddamn perfected it.

  13. Tom Walker says:

    It always amazes me that games in ‘early development’ are already covered in particle effects and incidental animations. Why is that the stuff they do first?

    • Canisa says:

      Because it’s quick and it gives the game a lot of immediate visual impact which draws people in and makes them want to back it. Compare that to game mechanics and narrative which take a long time to create and are much harder to show off effectively in a short trailer, especially if that trailer consists entirely of unanimated models and we begin to get towards an answer.

      Add to that of course the fact that the game will have five chapters and we see only a small amount of gameplay, it’s entirely possible that ‘early development’ means ‘we haven’t made most of the levels yet’.

  14. Monkeh says:

    IMO some of the stuff that guy says in the pitch video makes me NOT want to back them. Like the begging at the end.

  15. PloxiLein says:

    I am so sorry, I just have to write this.
    I mean, come on ! This game looks awesome, really ! Just looking at it almost made me cry from nostalgia, seeing how it made me remember pretty much all my favourite games… Then I did a little research before funding and this is where it went wrong.
    This Jonas K√¶rlev person is also known as MechaTheSlag and I read many bad things about him, about how he behaves with his co-workers and what happens to those who don’t agree with him. Maybe you have heard of MaxofS2D and Rebbacus leaving his team and Mecha posting a video where he called all of Max’s fans mindless sheep, and revealed private information about Max’s family situation ? Well, when I learned that, I just couldn’t be as happy as I was when I learned about this game.
    I have decided that I won’t back up this project even if it looks like my dream game come true (unless it comes in a bundle where I can choose not to give any money to the creator and give it all to charity instead… but that’s not very likely…). Sorry if this ruined it for someone else, I think that it’s better to be disappointed than to be deceived… I’ll now go back to my bed and cry a bit :)