When Robert Bowling left "Call of Duty" developer Infinity ward, he started his own independent game studio called Robotoki. The first project announced by the team is a post-zombie apocalypse AAA-title by the name of "Human Element" to be released late in 2015. The second project on Robotoki's to-do is something completely different with a much shorter timeline, a 2D puzzle and platform game called "The Adventures of Dash."
Dash's is a narcoleptic boy whose adventures happen in his dreams. Reminiscent of Ness and Mr. Saturn from 'EarthBound,' he's followed around by what looks like a baby, presumingly his younger brother. Robotoki's vision for the game is an inventive one of visual diversity. What's unique about the game is how each one of Dash's dream adventures has its own artist direction. Commissioning various artists with different individual styles, Bowling aims to develop a game around the artwork instead of the other way around.
"What inspired me to create this game, was all the amazing 2D artists that I've met over the years... What always frustrated me working on 'Call of Duty' or even our own 'Human Element,' was that hiring any of these artists I loved meant one thing, forcing them into an art style to fit with the game universe we were working on," says Bowling.
In the "Awake" world, Dash is a cute hand-drawn kid with an obvious love for the Nintendo classics, as professed by the posters on display in his room. In his dreams, he may be a manga-style samurai or a peculiar squid-boy hybrid thing. As Dash reinvents himself in his sleep, he gains specialized powers or abilities. These are useable in the open and interactive "Awake" world by collecting a POG (Remember POG's?) from each level, which opens up even more new areas for Dash to explore.
Hoping to fund the game through crowd-sourcing, Bowling initiated a Kickstarter campaign yesterday (March 4, 2013) to raise $400,000 in one month. "The Adventures of Dash" is scheduled for a November 2013 release. Of course, there are tiered rewards for those who back the project. As outlined on the Kickstarter page:
- $15 - Digital copy of the game (DRM-free) plus a digital copy of the soundtrack.
- $25 - All of the above rewards plus a digital download of the documentary "Project: Robotoki" about the creation of the studio, "Human Element," and "The Adventures of Dash."
- $60 - All of the above rewards plus, a digital strategy guide, exclusive concept artwork, behind the scenes photos, a special thanks in the game's credits, and recreated '90s video game advertisements.
- $100 - All of the above rewards plus early access to the "Human Element" beta on PC and access to the early builds of "The Adventures of Dash."
- $250 - All of the above rewards plus limited edition 10-DOH! vinyl figure, a 5x5 art print, and free-standing dream character cut-out figures.
- $500 - All of the above rewards plus a non-playable character designed to look like you in the game's Awake world with its own puzzle, designed by you.
- $1,000 - All of the above rewards plus "The Adventures of Dash Trilogy Collectors Edition" (8-bit and 16-bit inspired custom box designs and authentic game packs with custom label).
- $5,000 - All of the above rewards plus the opportunity to help design an in-game arcade game based around you, or anything of your choosing, that will be playable in the Arcade.
- $10,000 - All of the above rewards plus an in-game statue designed in your honor located in a museum dedicated to you, a day at Robotoki's studio for a tour, chance to participate in the documentary, and invitation to the launch party, become an honorary member of Robotoki, and special credit in the game.