Retro FPS Prodeus summons the demons of crowdfunding
Better than Amateur Deus
Given that I'm still playing Doom 25 years later, I doubt I'll ever tire of fast, messy demon-crushing shooters. Prodeus, from a duo humbly calling themselves 'Mike And Jason' on the game's store page, is a fine-looking take on the genre. It blends modern rendering techniques with intentional low-fi grubbiness, and what looks like some fast, fun gory shooting. In order to hire on some extra help to get the game finished and into early access with a level editor on day one, the duo have turned to Kickstarter, and have raised almost half their target in a few days. See it in action below.
Probably the most exciting thing about the Kickstarter pitch is talk of putting the game's level editor in the hands of players early, and establishing a framework to share and rate levels. The pledge page shows a time-lapse of them throwing together a basic level (a handful of rooms with enemies, weapons, etc) in ten minutes, which is a good sign. There's also a clip demonstrating the game's texture system, automatically assigning texture-chunks as you re-scale a bit of wall. It's the kind of thing I would commit real actual murders for in other editors, so off to a good start.
They also confirm that players can customise the look of the game, from removing the post-processing pixel-filter, to disabling whatever magic they're using to convert the 3D enemy models into dynamic sprites in real-time. Personally, I'm disabling the former and keeping the latter. There's even a few PC mod cons including a wildly variable field-of-view (from 30 to 120 degrees) and a highly customisable HUD. If you want a purely minimalist look with just health, armour and your current weapon's ammo and none of the helmet overlay stuff, you can do that.
The thing that most interests me in the new gameplay footage is the reveal of what appears to be multiple enemy factions. At one point a big blue glowing neon cyber-monster drops in between a pair of fireball-throwing demons. The demons turn to attack the newcomer, only to be converted by the invader, turning the imp-like enemies (and their fireballs) blue. That, there, is an interesting system - I'd never really considered how a Halo-esque third faction would work in a Doom-like shooter, and I want to see where the devs take this.
They've got big plans for the game. The Kickstarter's purpose is to get the game successfully into early access, with a few hours of levels, the first set of enemies and the level editor ready on day one. They plan to launch in full in 2020 with more of everything, including multiplayer and co-op. They've even got plans to update into 2021 with even more enemies, an expansion 'mini-campaign', more guns and all that jazz. Considering what they've shown of the game and its editor so far, I think they might just be able to pull this one off.
There's 25 days left on the Prodeus Kickstarter, and they've raised $22,967 (£17,579) out of $52,500 (£40,185) so far. There are still some Early Bird pledges available for $15 (£11, roughly) to get you a copy of the game when it's done. Once those are taken, it'll cost $20 (£15). It's to be published by Bounding Box Software, and you can find it here on Steam.