GODUS Kickstarter launched by Peter Molyneux studio 22cans, a spiritual successor to Populous

Evan Lahti

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UK developer 22cans , an independent studio founded by Peter Molyneux in March, wants to create a spiritual successor to Populous. Project GODUS is "an innovative reinvention of Populous," the game's Kickstarter page describes.

If it reaches its £450,000 ($717,000) goal, GODUS will be developed for PC and mobile devices. 22cans says it'll take between seven and nine months to complete, with more time needed if additional funding piles on more features (and platform support) than initially planned. The game will "draw on the cunning battle-psychology of Dungeon Keeper, the living, changing world of Black & White and the instinctive, satisfying gameplay of Populous." You'll play as a god, we're told, and Molyneux hints at city-building and destruction in the video. But beyond that (and like many Kickstarter projects these days) details are scant. It's unclear exactly how the game will operate, what form your god-avatar will take within the world, and what actions you'll perform.

Backer benefit tiers for GODUS range from a £15 ($24) digital copy of the game to rewards that grant alpha access, T-shirts, a signed art book, naming rights to an in-game character, and even "a real, exclusive piece of hand engraved GODUS Titanium jewelery, hand made and beset with one sparkling real diamond." Romantic. Stretch goals aren't yet announced, but Technical Director Tim Rance hints in the video that it would be "more tricky" to go beyond eight-player multiplayer, but that it's a possibility.

I'd like to see more crowdfunded games take the approach that Grim Dawn and Planetary Annihilation did—lay out an explicit list of features, and give us something that at least approximates what gameplay will look like. Otherwise, we're simply being asked to support the ghost of an idea rather than a tangible product—being intentionally vague about how your game will work puts gamers in a position to fill in the gaps with their imagination and nostalgia (in this case: "modern Populous!"), which I see as a slightly manipulative practice. As game creator and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology Ian Bogost put it in July: "We don't really want the stuff. We're paying for the idea, not the product. For the pleasure of desiring it. For the experience of watching it succeed beyond expectations or to fail dramatically. Kickstarter is just another form of entertainment."

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