UPDATE: The Ghost Song Kickstarter has ended at $54,007, nearly four times the original $15K goal, but roughly $6000 shy of its Wii U stretch goal.
Developer Matt White is aiming to make this happen anyway, even on a tight budget. "To those who may be lamenting about the Wii U goal - I'm working to make this happen anyway," he wrote in the latest Kickstarter update. "That's not official, but it's a desire of mine and I hope to have that out at some point, if not at release, then following release."
Additionally, latecomers can donate on Paypal and still receive all the same rewards. This will also help White realise his dream to get Ghost Song on Wii U.
Original Story: In today's ever-expanding video game industry we tend to place innovation above all else. A neat hook like Journey's limited communication co-op, Spy Party's one-on-one competitive reverse Turing test, or Portal's, well, portals, can do a lot to reinvigorate the medium. Then we have games like the upcoming Ghost Song: A Journey of Hope, which looks so unabashedly like Metroid that it could facetiously be written off as a clone.
But 'so what?' I say. We've not had a 2D Metroid game since 2004's Zero Mission and based on its Kickstarter pitch, this indie upstart beautifully captures the lonely tone and exotic, alien atmosphere of everyone's favourite series named after a made up jellyfish.
Ghost Song take's place on an alien world haunted by ghosts who can only be freed from their meager existence through the destruction of their bodies, which just so happen to have taken on sentience and morphed into gross mutant monsters. This whole ghost theme will be central to the story, which developer Matt White says will be "told not through pages of exposition or long cut scenes, but through being in the game, being in the moment, and observing events as they unfold."
While the Metroid influence is obvious, White also cites Dark Souls as an inspiration in how it locks away some major portions of its content behind obscure secrets. "I've learned some things that aren't supposed to be okay really are okay. For example: Putting a large, stunning, noteworthy portion of the map behind the most unlikely illusionary wall," White said.
He noted that despite his comparisons to Dark Souls, Ghost Song won't be as difficult as From Software's cult classic. "The game is not intended to be punishingly difficult or overly merciless," he explained. "I'm subscribing to a 'tough but fair' philosophy for most areas of the game, with optional areas that may be a bit harder. The purpose of this is intrigue." As such, there will be plenty of hidden secret weapons and abilities, encouraging players to explore.
Despite the overt similarities to Metroid, White describes Ghost Song as "it's own animal." Initially he set out to make a Metroid-like game as a free browser-based Flash title, but the project grew in scope and due to file size and memory constraints he had to upgrade it to a larger Unity-based project. This bigger scale meant he needed more manpower, so he recruited his programming pal Roger Hicks and now the pair needs more money because the project has grown so vast that chipping away at it in the spare minutes of their free time isn't viable to completing the game in a timely fashion.
Thankfully, over the course of a scant 11 days the project has roughly doubled its $15K goal with a current tally of $29,212. This means the game has already hit its first $20K stretch goal for a Hardcore Mode, and is on the cusp of hitting $30K to add an enhanced pet system. But why stop there? At $40K an additional unlockable mini-campaign Overtime Mode will added, and at $60K the team will bring Ghost Song to Wii U.
For $15, backers can reserve a copy of Ghost Song for PC & Mac upon its estimated release next May, while $25 pledges come with the soundtrack, and $33 comes with three digital copies of the game and the soundtrack. Ghost Song's Kickstarter campaign is going on until 4th September.