Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Supporting my great German Friends ;-)


Jump, dash and twirl through a dual dreamscape and warp it at will. For PC.

  • Launched: Jul 30, 2012
  • Funding ends: Aug 31, 2012
PLAY OUR DEMO!
Subtitled version of the Kickstarter video on YouTube (EN/DE/FR)
Gameplay video on YouTube
Visit us on Facebook!

Project Giana is the grandchild of The Great Giana Sisters, a Super Mario Bros clone made by the now-deceased founder of our company in the eighties. Of course, Nintendo didn’t like that, and the sisters got pulled off the shelves. That’s ancient history now, and, in an ironic twist, a legit Giana game was released for the DS in 2009. That was a pretty awesome move from Nintendo, and we’re grateful!
Project Giana derives its name from our protagonist, a little girl stuck in a dream world. The “Project” part is a placeholder – the final title will be determined during the final stage of our kickstarter, and will take your feedback into account. Our game will initially be released on PC, with later releases on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.
So… why does this new project exist? For Giana’s twenty-fifth anniversary, we wanted to do something of our own, with full creative control and no “dumbing down”. Publishers tend to avoid titles they can’t groom for risk and profit, which is fair enough for a business, so we had to finance Giana ourselves.
We’ve stuck to the classic core gameplay, but we’ve also expanded it with something new. Don’t worry – it’s not a random idea out of the blue, but builds on the central theme of our heroine transforming from “cutie” to “punky” within a dream world. You can now switch between both forms at will – any time, anywhere, and each form has its own abilities.


But that’s only half of the story… whenever you transform, you’re actually warping the entire dream world! Cute Giana likes it spooky, thank you very much, and can lightly twirl over obstacles and enemies as long as the dream is sufficiently morbid. Flip to her candyland nightmare, and angry Punk Giana takes over, smashing anything fluffy that dares bar her way. The dream and nightmare worlds look, sound and behave differently, and morph between each other in real time, enabling all kinds of tricky maneuvers and bonus puzzly bits for secret areas.

Chris Hülsbeck’s classic soundtrack seamlessly transitions to Machinae Supremacy’s Giana homage and back again as you switch between dream and nightmare. Check them out in the gameplay video!



You can flip back and forth at will – there is no cooldown or cost.
You can flip back and forth at will – there is no cooldown or cost.

You can dash or twirl even if you are in the wrong dream. If you do, the move will transform Giana and the world automatically.
You can dash or twirl even if you are in the wrong dream. If you do, the move will transform Giana and the world automatically.

Some elements radically change through twisting, allowing you to exploit them with clever timing.
Some elements radically change through twisting, allowing you to exploit them with clever timing.


Project Giana is nearing completion – we’ve got a running engine, smooth controls, twisty objects and monsters galore, and a bunch of finished levels. We’re currently designing, implementing and dressing more levels, tweaking and polishing completed ones, adding new enemies, objects and bosses, fixing bugs and finalizing the interface.

If all goes well, we’ll be releasing the game in October. But if things go really well, the release will take place one month later...  with lots of extra content! You won’t have to wait that long to try out the game, though – we’ll also be providing you with a playable level or two in August!

These reward previews are close to the final look. Some details may still change along the way.
These reward previews are close to the final look. Some details may still change along the way.


As our pet project, Giana is being developed by a small, dedicated team. Project Giana doesn’t have a publisher, so the rest of the studio is taking on contract work to keep the ball rolling.
So, who are we? What does a company named Black Forest Games have to do with The Great Giana Sisters? Well, not too long ago, we were still called Spellbound. Spellbound was founded by a man named Armin Gessert, and that man made the original Giana game. Unfortunately, Spellbound went belly-up a few months ago, but we’re back on our feet with a new name. We're self-run now, with the most senior members of our studio at the helm (and that’s not just the management – we’ve got our top programmers and artists there too!)
On a brighter note, the composer of the original Giana music, Chris Hülsbeck, has joined us for Project Giana. With the support of the composer of the Giana Sisters DS music, Fabian Del Priore, he has been co-producing a special two-layered mirroring soundtrack together with the chiptune-centric metal band Machinae Supremacy. You can visit them underwww.huelsbeck.comwww.delpriore.de and machinaesupremacy.com.
The kick-off concept art for Project Giana was made by Pikomi, who was also part of the Giana DS team. Check out his awesome artwork atwww.pikomi.de!



Back in the day, we set aside a large chunk of our savings for Project Giana, but that took a hit from the insolvency. We had to re-buy most of our old assets, and we haven’t released a game as Black Forest Games yet that could cover the running costs.
The first thing we did was to head over to Kickst– wait. Actually, the first thing we did was to square our chins and approach a publisher, but the conditions weren’t... favorable. We could cut content, but to be honest, the game would be too short. We were about to shelve the game, hoping to complete it after releasing a paid project or two, but then the thought struck us – maybe people would already be interested in playing the game, and willing to pitch in? Project Giana’s budget would normally be too high for crowdfunding (barring the Kickstarter superstars), but we’re nearly done and would only need a fraction of the total to complete the game.
Worst case, if our project doesn’t reach the funding goal, you won’t have to pay your pledge and we’ll release Giana some other day, if we find a publisher with good conditions or save up enough money. But… should we hit our goal, we can afford another month of development right now, and complete the basic version of the game.
The basic version would give you:

A giant kraken boss in addition to the existing two, for a total of three.
A giant kraken boss in addition to the existing two, for a total of three.

An additional animated armor/skeletal owl enemy. The armor keeps watch and charges at you, while the skeletal owl keeps its distance and pelts you with bones.
An additional animated armor/skeletal owl enemy. The armor keeps watch and charges at you, while the skeletal owl keeps its distance and pelts you with bones.

Another missing enemy: the googly eye/spiked coffer. Flip the eye over and transform it to create a platform. Transforming back regenerates the eye! This would bring the number of enemies up to nine.
Another missing enemy: the googly eye/spiked coffer. Flip the eye over and transform it to create a platform. Transforming back regenerates the eye! This would bring the number of enemies up to nine.

An enemy upgrade: owl helmets up the challenge and enable new bouncing tricks.
An enemy upgrade: owl helmets up the challenge and enable new bouncing tricks.

A whirling fan interactable object for extra-high twirls (and a total of a dozen interactable environmental elements).
A whirling fan interactable object for extra-high twirls (and a total of a dozen interactable environmental elements).
Plus time attack mode and a total of sixteen levels.


We’ll be upfront: $150,000 is the minimum amount we’d require to complete a basic version of the game. The full version that we want to make would require a total of $250,000 to complete. That’s a sizable sum, but we think the game has what it takes for a chance of reaching this stretch goal.
Here’s what you’d get in the full version:

A new boss: the pirate/ninja owlverlord, for a total of four bosses
A new boss: the pirate/ninja owlverlord, for a total of four bosses
Two of the four new twisty creature pairs below (bringing the count up to eleven):

Watch out for rising bees and falling beetles when you twist! Exploit their different movement patterns to access new areas.
Watch out for rising bees and falling beetles when you twist! Exploit their different movement patterns to access new areas.

This fellow lurks on walls. The speedy gecko ups the challenge on wall jumps, while the slow, creeping slime has reach.
This fellow lurks on walls. The speedy gecko ups the challenge on wall jumps, while the slow, creeping slime has reach.

The snail's slippery trail and the spider's sticky webs… hazards or helpers?
The snail's slippery trail and the spider's sticky webs… hazards or helpers?

The speedy skating penguin is difficult to hit and the slow, armored crab is nigh-indestructible… unless you catch them outside of their element.
The speedy skating penguin is difficult to hit and the slow, armored crab is nigh-indestructible… unless you catch them outside of their element.
Plus a geyser for explosive acrobatics, a hardcore game mode and a total of twenty levels.
We are very keen on getting the full version of the game done, so if we only reach the basic goal, we’ll poke publishers again to see whether they’re interested in investing after all. Chances are that thanks to the publicity you gave us, we’ll get better conditions this time around (like being able to keep our IP).
If we don’t find a publisher to close the gap, you’ll get the basic version as normal. But if we do, we’ll keep working on the game longer, and the full $250,000 version will be yours after all!

NEW - OUYA Version!

We've received a lot of requests about an OUYA port, and we can deliver! If we hit the stretch goal of $300,000, we will provide an OUYA version of Project Giana, to be released in the first half of 2013. More details as soon as we hear back from the OUYA team!

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