By Pete from 8-Bit Central (http://www.8-bitcentral.com/).
Having grown up through the dawn of video gaming, before the internet, I recall eagerly flipping through gaming magazines wondering when the next big release would be on store shelves. These days, crowd-funding is emerging as a means of producing a wide variety of video game endeavors. Sites like Kickstarter let fans (known as backers) get in on the ground level and feel as though they are a part of that next big hit to reach store shelves. Gone are the days of wading through monthly magazines, in favor of frequent online updates from the developers themselves.
Mage's Initiation, by Himalaya Studios, is an upcoming RPG whose style pays homage to Sierra's adventure games of the 1980's like the Kings Quest and - who could forget - the Leisure Suit Larry series. Many gamers who long ago played Sierra games jump at the chance to relive that era in the form of a brand new title. Billed as a "Role-Playing / Adventure Game with all the charm of classic and timeless adventure games of yesteryear while adding 21st century innovation," Mage's Initiation promises to adhere to the Sierra style of 80's and early 90 adventure games.
Crowd-funding can be a fickle beast. Some succeed while others do not. Himalaya Studios cleared $28,000 in the first 24 hours of their Kickstarter campaign. and went on to completely fund Mage's Initiation in about a month! From there, funds have continued to come in allowing them to extend the game's offering via stretch goals - the planned Windows release may be followed by iOS, Linux and Mac versions to be determined at the close of their Kickstarter campaign. The game itself is the motivation for backers to join the cause. Stretch goals allow early success to continue onward by letting the developer offer more to all who want to back the Kickstarter campaign.
Himalaya Studios, who has previously developed four games in conjunction with AGD Interactive, with experience in game development dating back to 2001. Their focus has consistently been in the adventure RPG genre, creating remakes of Sierra titles. Mage's Initiation is their first original foray into this genre, powered by an original storyline set in a medieval fantasy world. You'll play as D'arc, a 16-year-old Initiate who must complete a trio of tasks set by his Mage Masters. Some of his adventures will have him exploring the medieval realm of Iginor, a goblin-infested forest and climb the peaks of Flyteria. The medieval setting of Mage's Initiation features multiple playable character classes, spell-casting, and an open-field magical combat system, complete with equippable items and loot drops!
The goal is to create a genre tribute while taking advantage of technology and game-styles that have evolved since Sierra's rise & fall. Himalaya Studios seem to be on track to bring an original title to market while giving old school Sierra gamers a taste of what they devoured in the 80's.
Eric Bailey blogs at NintendoLegend.com, where he is reviewing every American-released NES video game. He also serves as Editor-In-Chief of retro gaming features site 1MoreCastle.com, and can be followed on Twitter @Nintendo_Legend.