Tin Man Games are running a Kickstarter to fund the final steps of development on their "re-imagining" of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain [official site], the first in Jackson and Livingstone's long-running and much-loved gamebook series. The developers have prior in this area, having adapted several FF books already, as well as writing and releasing their own digital choose your own advenure series. This new take on Firetop is different though - it looks like a cross between a gamebook and HeroQuest. Already funded, it may be of interest to fans of dungeons, dice and dustjackets.
My initial reaction to this wasn't very positive at all. I immediately felt the need to compare it to Inkle's elegant Sorcery! series of Steve Jackson gamebook adaptations, which are coming to PC soon. Where Inkle's games are still heavily focused on the text itself, feeding it onto the screen in the same fashion used in 80 Days, Tin Man's Firetop Mountain has opted for the look of a physical tabletop game. Instead of Sorcery's map, which looks like an illustration plucked from the opening pages of a fantasy novel, Firetop Mountain has solid, chunky, gray slabs of dungeon.
The video made sense of some of those things though and I can see how the whole thing makes sense now. Having creature and character designs based on actual miniatures (sourced from Otherworld) is a smashing idea and while I'm not keen on the idea of realtime combat, the addition of various characters with their own routes and choices could be neat.
"You are no longer simply 'The Hero', but many potential heroes or even the inhabitants of Firetop Mountain themselves. Take a miniature into the dungeons and catacombs, each with their own motivations. This allows for many different adventures that will access hidden locations and give you new ways to interact with characters and creatures you meet."
The Kickstarter has already surpassed its target and there's enough extra cash for the first (and only announced) stretch goal.
"Russ Nicholson, the original illustrator of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, has kindly agreed to create new original art for us! If we reach $20,000 we will be able to add six new black and white full page interior illustrations into the game."
Localisation into various languages is planned but that'll depend on the final total. The game is already near the end of pre-production and the crowdfunds will mostly be spent on the creation and integration of art, sound and music. Release is expected around April and if the project is successful, what comes next might be worth waiting for:
"Following the release of Warlock, we plan on expanding our reach in Allansia and will be adapting a number of classic Fighting Fantasy titles such as Deathtrap Dungeon, the trap-filled and monster-infested labyrinth of Fang where many heroes compete in the Trial of Champions, followed by Citadel of Chaos and City of Thieves."
I bloody well love Deathtrap Dungeon.