In recent years, there has been talk of the potential for a ‘Kickstarter Revolution’: a new era in the video game industry where projects will be financed directly by the masses, cutting the big publishing companies out of the equation. Proponents argue that Kickstarter will allow games to be made that would have been rejected by the publishers as “too risky” or not having enough mainstream appeal. Supporting these views, several Kickstarter Campaigns have succeeded in raising massive amounts of money, such as Obsidian Entertainment’s Pillars of Eternity, which earned over 4 million dollars. However, the vast majority of these successes have been part of a traditional genre of video game, such as role playing games (Eternity) or point-and-click-adventures (such as Tim Schaefer’s Broken Age). Few game Kickstarters have been conceptually unique, or presented a truly a new and distinct vision. The Black Glove from Day For Night Games is one of them.
Announced earlier this year, The Black Glove is set inside a strange, surreal theater called “The Equinox”, which has three resident acts: an artist, a filmmaker and a musical group. Each act is having severe trouble completing their current works, and need the players help to resolve their issues. This is where things get interesting, as The Equinox actually exists outside of normal reality, and is not subject to most Laws of Physics. By playing “certain games of skill and chance” you can “interact with…what you might call ‘fourth-dimensional space.” By achieving certain ‘feats’ on these games, the player can summon ‘The Black Glove’, a mysterious artifact that can change each artist’s past, altering multiple variables to produce vastly different outcomes. These games of chance aren’t cursory quick-time-events, either: one of them, The Maze of the Space Minotaur (TMSM) is a fully realized 1980’s style arcade game, in which you must navigate a labyrinth while fighting or avoiding various monsters. Drawing influence from works such as Jack Kirby’s New Gods, TMSM looks like a challenging and fun element of gameplay.
So, who came up with this proposal anyway? The Black Glove’s developers, Day For Night Games, is made up of a group of former Irrational Games employees who were let go when that company closed its doors this February. Three of the main people involved are: artist Chad King (who designed Bioshock’s Little Sisters and System Shock’s SHODAN), Justin Sonnekalb (technical designer and voiceover editor on Bioshock Infinite) and Joe Fielder (writer of Infinite’s expansion Burial at Sea – Episode 2). All seem quite passionate about the project in their Kickstarter video and interviews, as well they should: The Black Glove is one of the most distinctive and interesting idea for a game I’ve ever seen. It feels like something genuinely new and different, not just another one of the countless homogenous products churned out by the industry every year. King, Fielder, Sonnekalb and their coworkers are trying make something strange and beautiful, and they deserve our support.
Still, the proof is in the pudding: how do we know Day For Night can deliver what they promise? Well, because they partially already have: the game’s Kickstarter video includes actual, in engine gameplay, such altering the present and Maze of the Space Minotaur. The graphics look great, particularly the characters: Bioshock Infinite and Burial at Sea made Elizabeth and others look and move like living beings, and the developers have clearly applied what they learned on those titles. The Equinox itself is itself an accomplishment, a surreal, entrancing locale swimming with the atmosphere of the 1920’s. The game’s sounds match its sights, with the project already has several prestigious voice actors attached to it, including Yuri Lowenthal (Bayonetta, Persona 4, Dragon Age Origins). Lowenthal voices one of the theater’s hosts, the heterochromatic Cribbidge, an enigmatic fellow who seems to move through time backwards. Tying the performances and visuals together are superb sound effects and music: from TMSMs 8-bit victory theme to the creepy laughter of the Equinox’s masked Critics, the game sounds top-knotch.
Though the Kickstarter video showed a relatively small slice of gameplay, what I saw was more than enough to get me excited for this game. Overall, The Black Glove reminds me of psychological, atmospheric games such as Silent Hill 2 and Portal, and I believe that it has the potential to be as great as those classic titles. Games these days are still much less diverse than they could be, and the medium as a whole needs to keep moving forward if it is to survive. I believe The Black Glove is a step in the right direction, and one that may inspire many more. That will only, happen, however, if it meets its funding goal of $550,000 by 1:30 PM PDT, November 7th; and as of this writing, only a $106,332 has been pledged. If you are reading this, please check out the game’s Kickstarter page; watch the video, and read what the developers have to say. If you like thoughtful, independent games with unique themes and gameplay, then I fell certain you’ll help this brilliant dream become an amazing reality.
All pictures for promotional purposes only