Kostas Zarifis, who worked at Lionhead for five years on Fable 2, Fable 3 and Fable: The Journey before leaving in May 2011 to found his own Guildford independent developer Kinesthetic Games, is using Kickstarter to raise money for his motion control Kung Fu simulation.
Eurogamer reported on Kung Fu Superstar, designed to teach players real Kung Fu moves and transport them into fictional movies on screen, in May. Now, with the launch of Kickstarter in the UK paving a way for UK studios to make use of the crowd funding platform, martial arts fan Zarifis is asking for £200,000 to make his dream a reality.
"It's been just over a year since we left our jobs and started working on Kung Fu Superstar full time," reads the Kickstarter. "Since then we have been living off our savings. Absolutely everything you have seen and will see in our videos, we have accomplished with zero funding and through a lot of hard work, passion and love for the vision.
"Why are we pointing this out? Because if you think that's impressive wait till you see what we can do with some actual budget behind us. We think that says a lot about our ability to carry out the project, even more so than our hardly negligible portfolio of past games worked on."
Kung Fu Superstar sees players assume the role of budding martial arts fan Danny Cheng, who dreams of being the next Bruce Lee. The player learns real Kung Fu moves in Danny's local dojo before hitting Hollywood and strutting their stuff on film sets.
While the game does not have a confirmed platform, it is being developed using what the studio calls the Fight Choreography Engine, which itself uses the Unreal Engine. It supports motion control peripherals such as Kinect as well as touch screens and traditional gamepads. There's also support for virtual reality headsets.
In the case of Kinect, Kung Fu Superstar works similarly to Dance Central, in that real Kung Fu moves must be performed to the satisfaction of the game's sensors in order for successful avatar progression.
Zarifis pitched Kung Fu Superstar internally at Lionhead as part of its fabled Creative Day (the same process that spawned downloadable spin-off Fable Heroes). The game enjoyed some traction, including support from former boss Peter Molyneux. But Zarifis soon realised it would not be pursued by the higher ups, and decided to go it alone to refine the idea.
At the time of publication Kung Fu Superstar had raised £1884 from 16 backers with 34 days to go. The Kickstarter pitch video, below, contains some heavyweight martial arts endorsements and a word from former Lionhead chief Peter Molyneux.