Life Imitates Art: The Black Glove Shelved

The Black Glove was a fascinating-sounding idea from a group of former Irrational Games folks, a game about fiddling with the history and fates of troubled artists in a metaphysical theatre by using a magic glove and an arcade cabinet. Magic! What they showed looked weird and interesting and exciting but my heart sunk a little when developers Day for Night Games took to Kickstarter seeking $550,000 – it simply seemed too high for a niche idea, even one so sumptuously-realised.

Alas, the Kickstarter fell short. They kept working on it for a while, but sadly have now “shelved” the idea. Shelved, not cancelled – they hope to return to The Black Glove somehow, some day.

Co-founder Joe Fielder explained in the announcement:

“As you’ll recall, we began The Black Glove shortly after our previous studio shuttered, working on the game in our spare time while juggling freelance assignments.

In October, we attempted to use raise the funds to make the game via Kickstarter. It didn’t work out, so we decided to explore other potential opportunities.

We put together a gameplay demo that showed how you used The Black Glove artifact to explore the narrative rich environments of The Equinox and unlock its secrets. We brought it to GDC and PAX East and showed it to publishers behind closed doors.

We garnered some interest, but didn’t find the perfect glass slipper we were looking for and, understandably, began to lose key people to full-time work elsewhere.

We’ve invested thousands of hours and considerable thought and emotion into the project, so it’s hard to step away, but it’s not forever.”

Fielder says that they intend to return to The Black Glove “when we can do it right”. The confidence is nice, and I’d very much like to see that happen, but I suspect that “when” may be more of an ‘if’, given the game’s string of troubles.

Ah, what could have been! What might yet be!

12 Comments

  1. rustybroomhandle says:

    Smell the glove!

    Well, you can’t.

  2. Turkey says:

    I’m guessing the kind of people who would be willing to back a project by ex-Irrational members were probably looking for more of a System Shock 2 thing.

    • KillahMate says:

      That’s a cynical way to look at things. Kickstarter has already proven it can be used for more than just endless nostalgic rehashes of past glories. It’s responsible for stuff like Superhot, The Banner Saga, FTL – genuinely innovative games.

      • draglikepull says:

        The Banner Saga was advertised as a tactical RPG from a trio of Bioware vets and the selling points were the kinds of things fans of classic Bioware games are into (mature story, choices that matter, tactical combat, etc.). While I love the game, the Kickstarter was clearly playing to an established audience.

        It’s also worth noting that the games you mention had much lower funding goals. Banner Saga was aiming for $100,000. So was Superhot (which I’d never heard of until just now). FTL was looking for $10,000. The Black Glove garnered over $200,000 in pledges, much more than those other games initially asked for. $550,000 is a pretty big ask, and if people don’t think you’re going to make it, they’ll be reluctant to pledge support even if they think the idea sounds interesting.

    • Wowbagger says:

      I backed the kickstarter because I loved the blend of Irrational style art and the metaphysical concept.

  3. Urthman says:

    Can’t tell whether this is part of the viral marketing for Black Glove or not. The game’s conceit pretty much demands that the devs announce at some point that it’s been cancelled.

    • Urthman says:

      Ignore that comment. I got this game confused with Magic Circle.

  4. ProApocalyptic says:

    I totally would have backed this if I had heard about it before now.

  5. racccoon says:

    Life Imitates Art: The Black Glove Shelved. yep and Begging gets you out in the street.
    Begging for startups does not make a game co, nor a business, it is just plain..begging.

  6. Hypocee says:

    Backed it despite explorable branch narratives being Not My Thing. Unsurprised but nevertheless sad to see it canned. In some other branch of history, then.

  7. Caiman says:

    Sad to say this just didn’t grab me as a pitch, which came across as a walking simulator with added minigames. I mean, I love walking simulators, but I just couldn’t see what the devs were going for here. Hopefully if they revisit it, they’ll be able to communicate their vision more clearly.