One of the best things about crowdfunding is that it allows developers to try new and exciting things. Interesting and niche projects that would otherwise never see the light of day can be shown to prospective buyers and funded to completion without the hassle of appeasing the higher-ups. This level of creativity is amazing and important, but it isn’t without some drawbacks. Big ideas don’t come easy, or cheap. Such is the tragedy of Stage Clear Studio’s, Project Amy.
Amy teases the gameplay of Life is Strange with the adventure aspects of The Goonies. The game tells the story of a group of four friends who happen upon a murder scene. After returning to the scene a few days later the friends discover a treasure map hidden by the deceased and decide to set off to find said treasure.
From there the game is all about exploration and decision making as players alternate between the friends to complete specific tasks. Some of the kids are (apparently) braver or more adventurous and can be swapped out based on their unique skills and abilities for different situations. The Kickstarter video implies that despite the character switching, the titular Amy will be the main protagonist, as she is the one narrating the events.
What are friends for?
Apart from mentions of precise quick-time events, it’s difficult to get a feel for how the game will actually play out. As of yet, Amy is the only character being shown, though there are short descriptions of her friends. Sadly, there just isn’t enough to give the impression that they have been fleshed out very much. This is a little disappointing for a game with such a strong narrative focus. Friendship adventures work best when the friends involved are full characters in their own right and aren’t mere tools needed to complete objectives.
The campaign is hoping to raise $279,814 to develop ‘Season One’ of Project Amy. This feels like a huge ask for only a piece of an episodic adventure. Stage Clear is estimating that subsequent seasons will be less expensive to create once the base experience has been developed. This is probably true, but I’m not sure the current project is far enough along in development to lure in the necessary backers.
To be clear, the environments look gorgeous and the story sounds really fun and interesting. The environments are almost too beautiful as the character model for Amy doesn’t quite seem to fit with the rest of the art. Despite this minor complaint I really do think Project Amy looks quite remarkable, but that said, I’ll be incredibly surprised if it meets its funding goal.
The chasm between what the developers hope to achieve and the amount it would cost to do so just feels too massive. Particularly since the game appears to still be at the very beginning of its development with a tremendous amount of work still needed. It’s going to be hard to sell potential backers on such a fledgling idea, no matter how beautiful it looks.