Five years later, the gorgeous crowdfunded mouse adventure Ghost of a Tale, made by Lorax and Despicable Me animation director Lionel Gallat, is ready. An update on the game's website yesterday revealed a startlingly imminent release date of 13th March.
That's on PC, where a small portion of the game has been in early access for a year-and-a-half (it's also currently in the Xbox One Game Preview programme). It's £15/$20 and will stay that way for the next couple of weeks, after which it will go up to $25(/£20, perhaps).
There are console versions (Xbox One X and PlayStation 4) planned for later this year but their timing depends on rectifying any issues there may be with the PC version first. A Switch version is a much trickier proposition and would require "a complete re-tooling of the visual features and a fundamental re-authoring of most of the 3D assets", Gallat said. If Ghost of a Tale sells well and Gallat can hire a studio for a Switch conversion then it would be possible, but otherwise probably not.
Ghost of a Tale is an action-role-playing game despite its cute mousey hero and whimsical look. Navigating the full eight-to-10-hour campaign will involve fitting your minstrel rodent out with an array of equipment while stealthily avoiding rat guards by hiding in chests. I haven't seen any combat in the videos so far.
Staggeringly, Ghost of a Tale has largely been the work of one person, Lionel Gallat, who has never made a video game before. But with a little help and a shoestring budget (he raised €50,000 on Indiegogo but probably put in more himself) he has, to his enormous credit, made it work.
How well it plays we'll have to wait and see.