Unwritten: mysterious story-driven, turn-based strategy seeks funding on Kickstarter

Tom Senior at

Unwritten: That Which Happened puts you in charge of a nomadic tribe as they cross a dangerous wasteland in search of "God Mountain." In the absence of written language, they forge an identity out of a strong oral storytelling tradition that incorporates the history of the tribe into an evolving folklore. In Unwritten, these stories are defined by decisions you make as you guide your people across the wastes.

Here's the neat part: if you come into conflict with another tribe, you'll do battle with the fragments of these stories in animated face-off segments inspired by Balinese shadow puppetry. Unwritten bills itself as a roguelike turn-based strategy game, but thematically it's already offering something rather fresh. It's seeking funds on Kickstarter now.

As the leader of the tribe, you can take on one of a number of guises inspired by ancient storytelling traditions including "Indonesian story telling masks, Native American rattle sticks, Maori warrior shouts, Mongolian throat singers, and more." You guide your people across the randomly generated tundra from an aerial hex-view and fend off other tribes with a powerful and imaginative culture of your own devising.

But there's a caveat. "Simply making choices that will win you friends has a catch. Ultimately you're headed to God Mountain, where your clan believes that their god lives and will soon hear your story and learn about your people. Will your god judge you by the same rules that govern the tundra, or will you be measured by a different scale?"

Unwritten is being developed by an indie team called Roxlou Games, led by ex-Dishonored dev Joe Houston in partnership with artist, Lee VanWallene, and musician, Julian Culme-Seymour. They're asking for $75,000 to fund development up to the planned release date in August. "We are just finishing our "pre-production" phase, but can go no further based on our own time and savings. These funds will pay the salaries of our team so we can devote our full attention to making Unwritten happen," they say.

They're also planning to release a series of tools alongside the full game which will allow modders or general tinkerers to create new scenarios and visuals. "This is more than just an afterthought," they add. "We factor this into the way we're designing and directing the game, making sure that everything we create has proper tool support and could accessibly be created by one, two, or three person mod teams." Find out more in the Kickstarter pitch video below.