Update: Ghost of a Tale has surpassed its €45,000 Indiegogo goal with an ending tally of €48,700.
"One of the reasons I started this campaign was to see if there were enough potential players that could be bothered," said creator Lionel "Seith" Gallat in an update. "It was to be a stern (and very public) verdict on the viability of the project itself. And boy did I get a resounding endorsement!"
Original story: Lionel "Seith" Gallat may not have any experience in video game development, but he's a veteran animator who's worked on such films as The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, SharkTale, and more recently Despicable me, where he served as animation director. Now Gallat would like to explore the interactive space with his solo pet project Ghost of a Tale, an action/adventure game starring a mouse that resembles Dark Souls mixed with Brian Jacques' Redwall series.
Gallat cites both of these as inspirations, but also tosses in nods to Disney's Robin Hood, the fables of La Fontaine, Winnie the Pooh, The Secret of Nimh, The Dark Crystal, Ico, Zelda, the paintings of Alan Lee, John Howe, Paul Bonner, John Bauer and more. "Of course those are mere inspirations," Gallat noted on Ghost of a Tale's Indiegogo page. "This project can obviously not expect to compete on equal footing with those amazing games."
Modest as he is, Ghost of a Tale still looks appealing and is one of the few games to take the cutesy aspect of a world full of animals and apply an ominous, mystical tone to the whole thing. This has been done in literature and film for ages, but it seems like most games fall into these binary tonal models of "mature" or "cartoony" and are rarely willing to mix the two. "I know it sounds hockey but I'm really trying to recapture the sense of wonder I felt as a kid when I discovered the games from the 80s and early 90s. But with a AAA quality (as far as I'm able)," Gallat noted.
As far as the actual gameplay goes, there will be exploration, combat, stealth, platforming, puzzles, and reading journals. Being that it's a primarily one-man affair (with some help from composer Jeremiah Pena), Ghost of a Tale won't have nearly the scope of the more sprawling adventure RPGs Gallat was inspired by, but it could still be a delectable small-scale adventure on its own.
Gallat needs some more money in order to make Ghost of a Tale a reality, though. He's looking for €45.000 by 20th May and noted "if the minimum goal is not reached by the deadline, then the project won't receive any money at all. It's all or nothing, I guess."
So far Gallat has raised €37,669 towards that goal, so Ghost of a Tale's fate is really coming down to the wire.
It's €20 to guarantee a copy of the game when it comes out for PC sometime in 2014, but users can donate less just to get their name in the credits or get the soundtrack, while more generous donations include fancy hats and postcards. I'd wager that Gallat's biggest misstep with the rewards structure is that the closed beta - due later this year - is only available to those who donate a very generous offering of €250. Eek!
To offer your support or learn more about Ghost of a Tale, check out it's Indiegogo page before the campaign ends this Monday.