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The Return of Project: Gorgon August 29, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
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Actually, Project: Gorgon never went away.  About two years ago there was Kickstarter to help fund some of the development.  That was not a success, but the project soldiered on.

I felt like I needed a picture here

The logo remains the same

Porject: Gorgon is back with a new Kickstarter.  This time around Eric Heimberg, the lead developer, is looking for $100,000 so that he and the two key artists working on the project can focus on it full time and bring it to a level ready to release.

And, to be brutality honest, just one day after the Kickstarter launched it looks doomed to fail.

The problem is name recognition.

Mark Jacobs was able to meet his two million dollar goal only on the last day of the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter, even with his name and a serious promise to match what was raised out of his own pocket.  Richard Garriott, was able to parley his Lord British persona and a load of nostalgia for his games into a couple of million dollars via Kickstarter as well, so his Shroud of the Avatar project could go forward.  They were both the public faces of games that have a legion of fans.

And even Brad McQuaid, mired as he was in the problems with Vanguard, was nearly able to hit the half million dollar mark with Pantheon, even if he did not make it to his $800K goal, based in large part on the fact we know who he is and that he is associated with a successful project, EverQuest.

Eric Heimberg worked on Asheron’s Call, which was a success.  But we do not associate his name with that project.  Sandra Powers, his wife, also worked on Asheron’s Call as well as EverQuest II, but her name out of context would just draw a blank for me.  So you can get a couple of bloggers writing about the project and a specialty MMO news site or two, but the mainstream gaming media won’t pick this up.  PC Gamer or GameSpot or Polygon are not clamoring for an interview with Eric Heimberg. His is not a name that draws any attention. There is no story that they can sell.

So while Space Tyrant Roberts is out there using the more than fifty million dollars thrown at him by adoring fans to create space bonsai, Project: Gorgon is going to have to do this the hard way.

But at least the project is prepared for that.  See, you can actually go download and play the early alpha version of the game.  It is there.  It is an available, downloadable, tangible thing that you can go try today.  So, unlike any of the examples I have list above, you can do so BEFORE you hand over any money.

And kill a skeleton or three

And kill a skeleton or three

It looks a bit awkward… the pace of walking doesn’t quite match the movement to my eye, as an example, and I have problems judging depth and distance in the cave… but there is quite a bit in place, and the whole thing has moved forward dramatically from the first access nearly two years back.  There is the groundwork for a serious game here.  The intuition system, for example, is interesting and used in an amusing way for an example.

Keeps you from turning into a cow

Keeps you from turning into a cow

And if you hang around in the starter cave while looking at screen shots in another window, you can even die.

Death comes...

Death comes…

Death does not hold much sting now, but this is still early alpha.

The Kickstarter page lists out the vision for this game.  Some of it sounds like other, similar ventures.  But here there is the bedrock of a game, a foundation already laid, that you can go try yourself before you pledge anything.

Because that is the only way this Kickstarter is going to is going to succeed.  Without name recognition as a draw, Project: Gorgon is just going to have to win people over, one at a time, with its demo.

So if you feel inclined, go give it a try.  The download is quick, the package is small, you do not need to register, you can just enter a character name and play.  Then don’t just go “yuck” and close the window.  Run around a bit.  Click on things.  There is a surprising amount of “there” there in Project: Gorgon.

 

Comments»

1. Pai - August 29, 2014

Lots of interesting mechanics in this game; I’ve followed it with half an eye for a while now.
I hope they meet their goals, but I agree that their lack of publicity is a problem.

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2. bhagpusss - August 29, 2014

Anyone who secretly or not-so-secretly wishes someone would make an old-school MMO that’s actually fun should go try Project Gorgon. That’s what they are doing and they are making a pretty good fist of it.

Don’t be put off by starting a cave. They have a really attractive, detailed world to show you but for some reason they seem to want it to come as a surprise. The cave, which is the effective tutorial, is fun enough but it’s not much to look at. Stick it out, find the exit and you will be richly rewarded – aesthetically if not practically!

Also, steer clear of cows. That’s all I’m saying.

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3. Jenks - August 29, 2014

I vaguely remember the first kickstarter. This looks really interesting. This is going to sound like a backhanded compliment, but I prefer games like this, with less polish. In my experience, the more polishing a developer does, the more they restrict you to a narrow path to make sure you see all the magnificent (in their minds) things they’ve created. That has never done it for me, and it never will. I’d rather run around a world that was procedurally generated with things scattered about than hand crafted to stuff every corner with a ‘meaningful’ quest, item, landmark, or scripted event. It feels too video-gamey.

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4. seanxxp - August 29, 2014

I’d really like to see this game funded. I tipped Massively and they created a post about it, but I don’t know if that’ll be enough. Best of luck to all involved anyway.

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5. zaphod6502 - August 29, 2014

“So while Space Tyrant Roberts is out there using the more than fifty million dollars thrown at him by adoring fans to create space bonsai”

LOL that was sneaky Wilhelm. By that statement I assume you are not exactly enamoured with the whole Star Citizen extravaganza? ;)

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6. Wilhelm Arcturus - August 29, 2014

@zaphod – I kicked in the minimum amount to be able to sit at the table of the Space Tyrant Roberts, should his vision be realized in all of its glory. But I am not ready to shovel all my petty cash into the maw of the Star Citizen dream engine in hopes that the ultimate space sim will emerge in my lifetime.

I am not sure it is possible to deliver on all of the dreams people have projected onto Star Citizen, and the reckoning will be fearsome, especially if Elite: Dangerous becomes a thing before Star Citizen.

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7. HarbingerZero - August 30, 2014

I have played around in alpha a bit, and I was sad that I missed out on the last Kickstarter. I won’t fail a second time.

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