(On The) Fritz, A First World War RPG On Kickstarter

By Graham Smith on July 30th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

You can keep your Spec Ops: The Lines and Far Cry 2s. When I want ruminations on the futility of violence and war, I turn to Cannon Fodder. Sensible Software’s top-down tactics game was full of silly songs and cute sprites, but every time you returned to its menu screen you’d see white crosses representing your lost soldiers spreading across the hillside beyond your recruitment centre.

Are tiny sprite men the best way to explore the realities of war? Fritz, an RPG set during World War One, hopes so. It’s up on Kickstarter now, and the pitch video and more detail await below.

Here’s the description from the pitch page:

Fritz is a narrative RPG with brutal real-time combat about life in the trenches of the First World War. You play as Fritz, a German soldier on the Western Front. Most of the gameplay is comprised of everyday activities like guard duty, getting food, and talking to your fellow soldiers. Attacks are sparse, but deadly and challenging.

The main aspect of the game is character development, both of Fritz and of his comrades. Each of them is shaped by interaction with others and the things they’re going through. Your comrades can die practically randomly during attacks, but the longer they survive, and they closer they get to Fritz, the better their chances of survival as everyone helps each other.

And here’s the Kickstarter pitch video, which shows some of the game in action.

There’s perhaps no harder task in game design than creating a war game that meaningfully comments on its subject matter while also fulfilling its game-y obligations. Can Fritz marry its storytelling RPG half to its battles? The “War and Peace” conversation in the above video seems heavy-handed, but I like the idea of your goal not being to win fights, and instead simply about fighting enough to survive and not be shot for cowardice.

Truceful Entertainment are looking for $15,000 to make the project a reality, and just a couple of days into the project have raised $2,590. $5 nets you a copy of the game upon release, but even if you don’t back you can follow development over at their TIGSource devlog.

, , .

30 Comments »

  1. GameCat says:

    All Quiet On The Gamer Front: Fritz.

    BTW, this font should be at least one pixel taller.

  2. ZIGS says:

    I’ve had it with these fucking “retro” graphics, you can’t even read the text for fuck’s sake!

    • Premium User Badge

      J. Cosmo Cohen says:

      People were harder to understand back then, so it’s historically accurate.

    • GameCat says:

      At least it looks like real retro (except that pesky font), something that you could find on GameBoy Color or Advance.

    • Premium User Badge

      Henke says:

      Nonsense, I can read that just fine. “do crows cat carrion?” Makes perfect sense!

      • Premium User Badge

        phlebas says:

        I think that should be “eat earrion”.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          Thanks, plebas. I’d been wondering about that for the last few minutes.

    • brotherthree says:

      Speak for yourself!

    • soldant says:

      Totally agree. Have a retro art style if you want, but in the age of high-definition displays, text should be legible.

      Having crap fonts was a limitation of retro games, not an artistic choice to imitate!

    • chargen says:

      Particularly when actual retro graphics look like this (1989):
      http://www.mobygames.com/images/shots/l/501169-indiana-jones-and-the-last-crusade-the-graphic-adventure-fm.png

      These “modern retro” games choose to have very low res pixels–making animation and backgrounds much easier, but they also have none of the memory restrictions on the number or size of sprites and animations that older games had to deal with and get the benefit of a full color palette. And still they don’t bother to compete against even Amiga-level graphics.

  3. Pich says:

    Yes, Frizt. They eat pretty much anything.

  4. MajorFordson says:

    My mandatory “Toy Soldiers in the best WW1 game yet made” comment goes here.

  5. stonetoes says:

    I have to admit that I’m suddenly very sceptical of retro kickstarters since Confederate Express turned out to probably just be a series of gifs, with no working game behind it. Anyone remember that serial killer roguelike that turned out to be the same thing, only that was just trolling, not a scam? RPS covered it: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/08/29/after-murder-park-serial-killer-rogue-faked/

    And now the Confederate Express guys are squatting in somebody’s house: http://valleywag.gawker.com/airbnb-squatters-are-also-kickstarter-swindlers-1612099912

    What kickstarters can you trust when even the amazing, professional looking ones turn out to be scams? Just look for a playable demo every time?

    • Geebs says:

      Wasn’t Fritz also the one which was just a bunch of placeholder art and hadn’t actually got a programmer on board? Not that the art style of a game can be used as any measure of its creators’ trustworthiness, of course.

    • Niko says:

      RE: Confederate Express – you can’t trust guys with faces like that with your money.

      • Premium User Badge

        Hanban says:

        I could never conceive that a man wearing a turtles t-shirt would ever trick someone.

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          People’s trust in them has just been Shredder-ed with this kickstarter blunder.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        thatsracist.gif

    • brotherthree says:

      Holy shit, I had no idea about the con-ex fiasco.

      This needs more publicity… these two creators/brothers/scumbags aren’t fit to manage a bowl of cereal, much less a video game.

      • rabbit says:

        yep, it’s a total mess … been following the case myself. sad that there are still going to be people suckered into it now that they’re accepting money directly on their website rather than thru kickstarter or the like.

  6. JFS says:

    “Bist du manchmal traurig?”

    That was this game, wasn’t it? On DevLog a few weeks ago? Looking forward to it, even though it might well be a disappointment in the end, as so many indie promises these days.

  7. Turkey says:

    It’s like a monkey’s paw version of what PC gamers have been wanting for years.

  8. SominiTheCommenter says:

    Don’t forget to preorder my new game about MLK and Malcom X, “Nigger”.
    Or about Tiannamen, “Chink”.

    Or any other derogatory slur really.

    • p14c3b0 says:

      what? How is Fritz a slur?

      • Phasma Felis says:

        I imagine he’s thinking of the way Fritz was used as a generic nickname for all Germans in WWI, the same way the Germans used Tommy for the British troops.

        Which is to say, it’s not a slur unless maybe it’s specifically used and intended that way, which it obviously isn’t here. I’m not sure Somini knows that it’s actually a name too.

        • chargen says:

          Indeed. Could have been Krauts!, Legend of Gerry, or Those Filthy Huns. Fritz is pretty tame.

    • JFS says:

      I do wonder how they want to fulfill the name-in-the-game backer rewards for people who don’t have German or maybe French names. Also, I wonder why they felt the need to take the German perspective while having not a single German on their team.

  9. lordfrikk says:

    Holy shit that font.