Every so often, I come across a crowdfunded game I’ve never heard of before and check to see what kind of coverage we’ve given it at Cliqist. A lot of the time, it turns out we haven’t given it any attention at all. As Executive Editor, I feel it’s my duty to apologize on behalf of everyone else here for their lapses in judgement. Such is the case for Ghost of a Tale, one of only a handful of Indiegogo campaigns that isn’t a guy asking you to buy them an Xbox One.
Launched in April 2013, developer SeithCG nabbed €48,700 ($52,939) by the end of the campaign. Over the following years, SeithCG and company toiled away on the game, releasing a steady stream of updates. In July 2016, Ghost of a Tale hit early access, where it currently still resides.
Formerly a one man team consisting of ex-supervising animator Lionel Gallat, the demands of game development forced him to hire some help. Now employing four others, thanks to the Indiegogo campaign, progress is much quicker, and the game looks better than ever.
Gallat’s work as an animator is apparent in every screenshot and video clip. Ghost of a Tale is one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen from a crowdfunding campaign. There’s no overused, 2D pixel art here, nor voxel graphics or stop motion animations that’s become so popular on Kickstarter. Instead, there’s just good old-fashion, great 3D art and animation.
You play as a mouse, and every hair on your chinny-chin-chin is rendered in exquisite detail. Lanterns give off a foreboding light, if that’s even a thing, the little bell on your hood jingles as you dash through the bleakness, and each landscape and indoor environment is stuff with so much detail you’ll have a hard time believing this isn’t a multi-million dollar game from a big studio. That’s what really sets this game apart from so many others – an almost masochistic level of detail to everything.
As you may have guessed, Ghost of a Tale is like Dark Souls meets An American Tail, with a little bit of Watership Down thrown in for good measure. But this game is so much more than that. While it takes inspirations from other games and movies, this is the kind of game that twenty years from now, developers will cite as their inspiration, and new games will be that generation’s Ghost of a Tale.
You play as Tilo, a mouse and a minstrel, in a medieval world inhabited only by humanoid animals. It’s a full-featured RPG, with stealth elements. It takes more than a few inspirations from Dark Souls and Skyrim with its open-ended world, conversations, and combat. Where it takes it also gives. There are some unique features like a disguise system, a dialog system that lets you converse with enemies, and more complex puzzles than many RPG’s.
Most of the plot has been kept under wraps until you play the game for yourself, and I’m going to keep it that way. The gist is Tilo arrives on the Island of Periclave and you have to work out the objective yourself. There are undead rats all over the island, and you have to figure out why they’re there as well. Also there’s a tower full of treasure.
The crowdfunding campaign is a masterclass on how not to suck on Indiegogo. All the information and screenshots you’ve seen in this article come straight from that campaign. It’s incredibly well-laid out and detailed, and answers all the questions you might have. Gallat also kept his ambitions in check, stating in no uncertain terms what you should expect.
“Is the game going to be like Skyrim? No, it isn’t. Skyrim and the Zelda games are huge open-world games which required dozens of persons to work for years, backed by multimillion dollars budgets. I work alone on an aging computer and live at the moment on my rapidly depleting savings.
“So Ghost of a Tale should be construed as a smaller game with a beginning, a middle and an end. If the endeavor is successful however, then it will only be the beginning of a longer story arc.”
There is one, tiny nitpick about the campaign though. Most of the updates call Gallat’s website home rather than the Indiegogo page. Even then, there has been a post on the Indiegogo page notifying backers when an update was posted over there. Oh, you beautiful little French beauty, je m’appelle Josh et je veux avoir vos bébés. Magnifique!
This has been just a quick look at Ghost of a Tale. It will most certainly be added to our list of games to keep an eye on. I suggest you do the same. Or go out and buy it now if you’re down for playing Early Access games. If not, then the game is set for release sometime later this year.