Dieselpunk RPG InSomnia returns to Kickstarter, and it's not an MMO

Andy Chalk at

InSomnia's first go-around with Kickstarter came to an unhappy end in November 2013 when the developer, Studio Mono, pulled the plug after raising a little over $5000 toward a $70,000 goal. Now it's back, with a tweaked campaign, a playable demo and a clear message that it is not an MMO.

InSomnia is a "dieselpunk RPG" with a fascinating premise: It's set aboard "The Ark," a massive colony ship carrying the descendants of the Nomans, a race that fled its home planet 400 years prior to escape a genocidal war with the SORG Regime. At the time of the game, the ship is crumbling, and most of it has been abandoned; after awakening from a cryogenic sleep, players will confront and deal with the various factions that inhabit what remains, and even travel into the past to carry out quests that can influence the present.

It was originally presented as an MMO but that was apparently the result of mistranslations—most of Studio Mono is Russian or Eastern European—and miscommunications. The new Kickstarter campaign describes InSomnia as a "single-player/co-op" RPG, and lead developer Anatoliy Ugrumen GuyDuk said it will work equally well either way.

"Co-op content is optional, so if you're only interested in single-player you will be able to see all the questlines and content," he explained. "The exclusive character interactions and dialogs we have for the co-op mode are there to properly accommodate and acknowledge the presence of other players, and nothing else. We're not walling off any content."

The co-op mode will support from two to eight players, while soloists will have the option of bringing along AI-controlled NPCs to help out. InSomnia can actually support up to 58 players at a time, which GuyDuk said "may be interesting if we decide to make some PvP content." For now, the focus is on securing enough funding to properly complete the main campaign, which will run an estimated 15 to 20 hours in length, plus another 20 to 30 hours of side quests; beyond that, the team hopes to release additional chapters in the future, at no charge, "to tell the whole tale."

It's an ambitious plan, particularly given its relatively modest Kickstarter goal, but the studio has already sunk roughly $80,000 into the game over the two years it's been in development and hopes to add another $100,000 on top of that if the Kickstarter is successful. It compared InSomnia's development to that of Metro 2033, which it said was developed "for a fraction of the budget of Western AAA games," and noted that while the total budget for InSomnia may be tiny by Western standards, "it's a small fortune in Russia," where Studio Mono is headquartered.

The studio warned that the demo released yesterday is rough around the edges and that players should "expect a few bugs and maybe even crashes," but even so, having something playable to show off represents a big step toward legitimacy. The powerful Fallout vibe in the pitch video doesn't hurt, either. I think I'd like to see this one make it.

The InSomnia Kickstarter, which is currently a little more than halfway to its goal, runs until July 24