As pitches go, Consortium: The Tower [official site] has a bloody good line up its sleeve. Like its predecessor, it's a science fiction game set in a single environment. You can talk, fight or sneak your way past or through encounters, and many events will happen even if you're not there to see or influence them. Everything takes place in real-time and though the fourth wall trembles and breaks, the emphasis is on immersion. And that pitch line? "Imagine the original Deus Ex combined with the film Die Hard." OK. I am.
Developers Interdimensional Games have just launched a Kickstarter campaign for The Tower and they're looking for $450,000 (CAD). The original Consortium was the product of a successful crowdfundiing campaign and Interdimensional say they'll be even more efficient this time around:
We built Consortium Game One over a long period, and on a budget that was very small considering what physically went into it. We've become very good at ensuring that everything goes where it needs to go in order to get the game made. This is a passion project for us, and so the game always comes first.
We do have various options for investors beyond what we raise here, but it really does entirely depend on the overall performance of this campaign to determine what kind of deal we can get. We want to make the ultimate version of this game, and therefore want its development budget to be as high as possible. No surprise there :)
I'd count the original among the most fascinating games I've played since joining RPS. It's not a game I'd recommend to everyone but it's a game I'd recommend to anyone who's interested in the structure of immersive sims and the possibilities of experimental gamespaces. The initial hook, that you're playing a game that allows you to control an actual character in a living world, not only reminds me of Ultima's Avatar, it's a wonderful explanation for the quirks and qualities of the interface. I don't expect NPCs to react to my every action with perfect precision and intelligence, and the fiction allows for the rough edges in the simulation that make Consortium credible even when it's less than realistic.
In this sequel (the second part of an intended trilogy), save games from the original will carry over but if you haven't played it already, you'll be able to enter The Tower cold. All of the experience and tools used to create Consortium will feed into development of this new project, but the crowdfunding process is slightly different:
Unlike the campaign for our first game, this time around we are asking for a much larger portion of our total budget, and are therefore taking a bigger risk with launching this campaign. With the CONSORTIUM campaign we had already largely completed the game and required help to get us to the finish line (our CONSORTIUM Kickstarter goal covered about 10% of our total budget). With the larger scale of The Tower we are aiming for a larger total budget with a much larger portion of that coming from Kickstarter.
You can see some of the core mechanics in action below: "Featured is Kiril Angelov, antagonist from Consortium Game One, and he's just been asked to comment on Bishop Six's “recent behaviour."
Estimated delivery, as Kickstarter puts it, is December 2017. A long time to wait but if The Tower is as interesting as the original, the wait will be worthwhile.