Mouse Souls: Ghost Of A Tale

By Ben Barrett on August 13th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Ghost of a Tale is about an adorable mouse with a lute fighting giant crabs. Really I’d hope that was enough for you, but I’ll throw in some more info as a bonus. It’s set in a medieval fantasy entirely inhabited by animals, explored in third person with inspiration from the likes of Zelda and Ico. There’s a balance struck between the cute central character and a very dark, ruined world with sometimes terrifying enemies. Along with the aforementioned crabs, hero Tilo will find skeletal rats three times his height, hawks, badgers and spear-wielding frogs to contend with.

It was once the one-man project of Lionel Gallat, an ex-Dreamworks animator who brought in help for the coding, story, and music after a successful crowdfunding campaign last year. On the devblog he’s detailed part of the history of the world, which was invaded by a mysterious force that was almost unstoppable until the rats used their sheer numbers to bring it down. The most recent post on the game’s mechanics is from March, talking about making enemies’ stealth-detecting ways more nuanced.

The latest trailer showed up at Microsoft’s Gamescom presser yesterday:

Want more? Jim had a chat with Lionel last year just before the campaign wrapped up, speaking both about the game and how he transitioned from animation to games development.

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29 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Tei says:

    *puts on hipster glass* Its interesting how few details can bias the reader so much. Here the rats are living a pacifical life on his stronghold, and the mouse is stealing his shit and breaking stuff. But with a few cameras angles and a cute style of the protagonist, we are made to like the thief, and hate the honest owners.

  1. Metalfish says:

    A crab that is of substantial stature and adversarial temperament, oh my.

  2. Gessen says:

    RRRRRREEEEDDDDDWALLLLLL

  3. karthink says:

    Does anyone know (from the recent info or the Indiegogo campaign) what the lute is for? Will you get to play it? That would be sweet.

    • KwisatzHaderach says:

      Yes, the Lute will be an elemnt to gameplay. In which way wasn’t so far specified, but on the forums there were speculations about it involving puzzle-solving and/or buffing your character.

    • TitusCrow says:

      You can play notes on the lute for spell tunes.. However there is a dangerous developer back door programmed into the game. Apparently if you can play the classic Iron Maiden phantom of the opera on the lute in real time, you instantly win the game but your computer bricks due to some sort of singularity… It sounds dubious, but would you really want to dice with death? Its you PC ffs!!!!!!!

  4. Frank says:

    “Ghost of a Tale is about an adorable mouse with a lute fighting giant crabs. Really I’d hope that was enough for you”

    Yes — sold.

  5. Freud says:

    It looks fantastic. Hope the gameplay can match it.

  6. Spider Jerusalem says:

    This’ll do until the inevitable Redwall Battlefront game.

  7. ukpanik says:

    Mouse Guard vs Dark Souls. Looks promising.

  8. subedii says:

    There’s a balance struck between the cute central character and a very dark, ruined world with sometimes terrifying enemies.

    This is looking and sounding very reminiscent of the Secret of NIMH (heck, the rat designs almost could have doubled on that film). I am very much intrigued.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It’s got some if the look, but it’s straight up anthropomorphic animals. NIMH was about intelligent animals of normal size.

      Which would make for an incredible game. An epic RPG throughout the gardens and walls of human homes. Human detritus as mouse tools and weapons. Needles as swords and buttons as shields and the like. Allying with birds and rabbits, dodging huge dogs and out-witting monstrous house cats. I’d love that game.

      That said, Ghost of a Tale looks beautiful. And if it plays like a stealthy Dark Souls it could carve out a unique spot for its gameplay.

    • tiltaghe says:

      yeah this is definitely in the same vibe. Dark Brisby! I love it. Nimh was really contrasted, with frightening moments like the Great Owl or Nicodemus. And what I like the most is that these frightening characters are in fact GOOD. They are forces of the nature.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      There is an entire subgenre of small animal fantasy mostly in books and comics that this is more reminiscent. Secret of NIMH was more Watership Down. Those were about animals direct interactions with humans. The animal fantasy stuff is usually more like tolkein fantasy but with animals, predators being orcs and trolls and whatnot.

  9. Tei says:

    *puts on hipster glass* Its interesting how few details can bias the reader so much. Here the rats are living a pacifical life on his stronghold, and the mouse is stealing his shit and breaking stuff. But with a few cameras angles and a cute style of the protagonist, we are made to like the thief, and hate the honest owners.

  10. Jazzyboy says:

    YES!!! Thank you so much! I was wracking my brain for so long trying to remember this game. The dev actually posted about it in an IRC somewhere(Wolfire I think) just before he started the crowdfunding campaign, and I promised I’d remember it and bookmark it. But somehow it just vanished from my bookmarks! And I completely forgot the name.

    So thank you so much. I can now re-bookmark it and keep watching for updates.

  11. MattMk1 says:

    Argh. Games and movies with cute anthropomorphic rodents kind of mess me up these days, too many laboratory rats and mice have… passed through my hands.

    Still, it looks pretty awesome. I love the whimsical animal fairy tale feel. Someone above mentioned it’d be cool to have a rodent-perspective RPG in which you explore the outsized human world. Which could be great, but the game I really want is an Assassin’s Creed / Deus Ex style game with a squirrel main character. Acrobatic cybernetically enhanced squirrel in a neon metropolis.

    • frightlever says:

      At least they’re only passing through your hands.

    • LionsPhil says:

      …but the game I really want is an Assassin’s Creed / Deus Ex style game with a squirrel main character. Acrobatic cybernetically enhanced squirrel in a neon metropolis.

      Where’s the Kickstarter, and how many zeros do we need to just get Arkane to make it?

  12. Phasma Felis says:

    I wish these things didn’t always make rats the bad guys. Rats are about the most charming and intelligent rodents around. They have real personalities, like dogs or cats.

    Oh well! Looks like a lot of fun anyway!

  13. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    It’s hard to believe that a game about anthropomorphized animals doesn’t make the weathered and worn tale/tail pun. That alone is worth paying attention.

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