Jotun developer Thunder Lotus Games announced Sundered last year as a "replayable Metroidvania, close to Rogue Legacy and Super Metroid," set in a Lovecraft-inspired world of eldritch horrors. Neither the Thunder Lotus website nor the Steam page had much to say about it at the time (although they've both since been updated), but last week the studio announced that a Kickstarter campaign would get under on January 16. So it did—and less than 24 hours later, it has easily surpassed its goal.
Unlike a lot of Kickstarters, this one is focused on polish and balancing, rather than the full development process: The total budget for Sundered is $700,000 CAD, Thunder Lotus said in the Kickstarter pitch, while the Kickstarter goal is just $25,000. Elements the studio hopes to improve with the extra funding include overall balance and pace, special skill tree nodes, new perks, and "what exactly defines the core gameplay experience and how we can improve it."
"We know how important feedback is and Jotun’s alpha and beta backers transformed the game into something special. We need you to tell us what we can do better," the studio wrote. "It's about polish, feedback and using Kickstarter funds to make Sundered the best it can be."
The Kickstarter page also provides quite a bit of information about the game itself, which will feature both hand-crafted and procedural levels, six "massive" boss fights, "hordes of dynamically spawned eldritch monsters," exploration, secrets, character upgrades, multiple endings, and frequent death. Players will have seven major abilities, such as Double-Jump, Hook Shot, and Wall Run, each of them "corruptible" into a more powerful (but not necessarily desirable) version. "Ultimately, corrupting your abilities has important gameplay repercussions and even changes the game's ending, as how corrupted you are defines which boss you'll face," the studio said.
The campaign, estimated at about ten hours in length, tells the tale of Eshe, a scavenger who discovers the source of power behind the Terror, a cataclysmic event that brought about the end of the world centuries ago.
"The backstory tells the tale of how this strange power attracted the Valkyries, an armed group of scientific revolutionaries, and the Eschaton, mad cultists following the teachings of an obscure god, to this place," the Kickstarter page says. "As she picks up the pieces, the player uncovers the conflict that sundered the world."
The Kickstarter campaign, which at this moment is approaching $43,000 in pledges, runs until February 16, while Sundered is expected to be ready for launch in July. That could change, however, depending on how things unfold. "With Sundered, the complexity and amount of systems we're bringing together can cause our heads to spin, requiring a ton of balancing and polish," Thunder Lotus warned in the "Risks and Challenges" section of the Kickstarter page. "The amount of feedback we get from you guys can also impact our timeline, as we want to make sure that our backers are happy with the game before we ship it to the masses."