Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler!
After Ghost Pirates of Vooju Island, Bill Tiller is making another pirate-themed adventure game (although a short one), set in the same universe as Vooju, and is running a kickstarter to fund it.
Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! is an exciting 2.5D adventure game for PC/Mac/Linux/OUYA, in the style of LucasArts and Autumn Moon Entertainment. Projected release date is October 2015.
I thought this was something Monkey Island fans (the ones that still check this board) could be interested in, even if I may have concerns that the game will have the same issues I had with Vooju (mostly about dialogue & plot, but really nice art),
I wouldn't worry too much about the game's design. It's sure to be an improvement over the two released Autumn Moon games. Bill Tiller and Gene Mocsy have improved a lot in the design area since A Vampyre Story and Ghost Pirates. The Perils of Man: Chapter One has a design by Tiller and Mocsy (and strangely not art by Bill Tiller, which I was on the fence about when it was announced), and was co-wriiten by Gene Mocsy. The game has a really interesting story and it actually has one of the best adventure game designs in an adventure game I've played since the LucasArts classics. After playing Chapter One, The full Perils of Man game is one of my most anticipated adventures of this year. I really hope that it ends up coming out for PC, Mac, and Linux so that more people can get to play it. If this game has anything close to the design of Perils of Man, we’re going to be in for a nice treat.
I'm not too worried about the quality. Vooju Island was otherwise nice, but IMHO the story felt rushed. The game went too fast to the grand finale and it felt like you never really had time to get to know the characters and the setting. A Vampyre Story was very enjoyable experience and I don't have complains about it's story or puzzles.
I'm more concerned about Tiller's ability to finish his projects. I've been waiting both sequel and prequel to A Vampyre Story for years (because I like to learn more about Mona's story), but at this point it seems unlikely that he will finish anything.
That's another reason why I also hope this succeeds, because Bill Tiller has a reputation for not being able to finish projects (even larger news sites won't cover his Kickstarters because of this), and that's totally unfair because it's the publisher's fault, not his own. Crimson Cow, the publisher, cut funding to A Vampyre Story 2. They also own the rights to A Vampyre Story 2, so he can't take it to Kickstarter. That's why he tried A Vampyre Story: Year One, because he'd own the rights outright (he owns the rights to the A Vampyre Story name, but Crimson cow owns the rights for A Vampyre Story and A Vampyre Story 2). Since the Kickstarter for Year One failed (a lot of it has to do with the fact that it wasn't properly covered at gaming news sites because of his unfairly earned reputation), he also doesn't have funding for the prequel, so in order to finish Year One, he has to work on it in his spare time with his own money (and that's understandably bound to take the backseat once something that has (or has the potential to get) proper funding behind it comes along).
If the Duke Grabowski kickstarter succeeds, he'll be able to erase that unfair reputation, and he'll be able to show Crimson Cow that people are willing to buy games made by him (that was one of his hopes for the Year One kickstarter, as he said Crimson Cow was looking at the Kickstarter to see if the interest was there), so they might allow production on A Vampyre Story 2 to start back up. Which could lead to A Vampyre Story: Year One getting funding. Really, Duke Grabowski getting funded could only lead to good things for fans of Bill Tiller's games.
I wish him best of luck, but I don't have much faith anymore. In many fields ability to get funding to your projects is very important skill and for some reason Tiller has had difficulties to sell his ideas (and couple of previous failed attempts don't really help). Although he isn't the only one with this problem, because some publishers are just awful.
Like many others Tiller is putting his hope on Kickstarter. However Kickstarter isn't some miracle solution, because most funding attempts fail. Games with cult following (like Broken Sword, Dreamfall and Tex Murphy) and games which have well known designer (like Broken Age and Moebius) have managed to gather whole lot of money in Kickstarter. Unfortunately Vooju Island doesn't have cult following and Tiller isn't as big name as Schafer or Jensen, so it's going to be difficult to gather money. Not impossible, but difficult.
Last 8 days for this kickstarter...
Dave Grossman will be involved, too
The Kickstarter has only $500 left and over a day to earn it, so it's going to make it (I can guarantee this, as since it's so close, I'm willing to fund whatever's left over to bring it over the top if I have to).
So, you can feel confident backing this now, as Bill has finally made his funding goals for a game. As I said above, I'm really excited to get this, as Gene and Bill have really improved in designing since the Autumn Moon games. Plus, Dave Grossman's involved now, and I've loved all of his adventure game designs from Monkey Island 1 and 2 and Day of the Tentacle at LucasArts to Sam & Max, Monkey Island, and Hector at Telltale Games. It's sure to be a great game with that pedigree.
Plus, hopefully the success of this Kickstarter will open up doors at Crimson Cow to get A Vampyre Story 2 back in production. fingers crossed
We are almost there, only $89 to go.
It's fully funded. I wish best of success for this project.
I think that getting Dave Grossman into the team did the trick. It looked for a long time that the project is not going to be funded, but they managed to collect the missing amount during the last week or so.
Any news about this game? Couple of days ago I bought, recently published, PC version of Bill Tiller's The Perils of Man and it reminded me that he was also making a pirate game. So, I started to wonder if there has been any news about how this project has progressed.
Are you a backer? If so, there was a backers only update just posted on June 2 that had news of the project, as well as new background paintings and images of character models.
If not, I'll try to sum up the update, although I don't want to go into too much detail since the post is backers only (I still remember how sad Tim Schafer was in the Double Fine Adventure documentary about people crossposting backers only updates, and I don't want that to happen with Bill Tiller, especially since I know that he knows about this post as I linked it to him during the campaign):
They are working on making models more like the concept art, there are several new character models since their April update, there's new background paintings, and they have successfully programmed the features they wanted into their engine.
Thank you for the information. It's good to know that the game is still in the works.
I'm not backer, because I have personal misgivings towards this whole crowd funding system, although I'm slowly starting to see it in a more positive light. However I'm more than likely to pre-order it once it's done.
Duke Grabowski is now available on Steam. I bought it, but I haven't had time to play much yet. My first impressions were, however, positive. It looks a lot like The Curse of Monkey Island, which is only natural considering Bill's role in both games.
Currently it is a stand-alone game, but they are going to make more episodes if this turns out to be successful.
You don't need much time The gameplay is ~2 hours long. There are no difficult puzzles (and I do hope there will be later in the next episodes).
Anyway I loved it, highly recommended!
Yep. It is not particularly long or difficult, but it was quite fun. I also hope to see more of Duke's adventures.
I made that post on my way to work. I had bought the game early in the morning and gave it a short test run before work started. Further playing confirmed that my first impressions were accurate.
I loved it as well, it was nice to have some Monkey Island-feeling again. It's been too long.
Adventure Gamers interviewed Bill Tiller and Gene Mocsy about Duke Grabowski and other things. Interesting stuff. They also mention Telltale.