Moonbot Studios, developer of the Diggs Nightcrawler book for Sony's Wonderbook platform, launched a 50-day Kickstarter campaign today asking for $750,000 to fund its next video game, The Golem.
The Shreveport, La.-based studio is best known for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, a 15-minute animated short for which it won an Academy Award last year, and the film's accompanying interactive iPad app.
"Sure, we won an Oscar. But it didn't come with a cash prize," says Moonbot co-founder and managing director Lampton Enochs in the Kickstarter pitch video.
Moonbot's next project is a game that, like Morris Lessmore, combines the company's love of animated storytelling and fantasy settings. The Golem is Moonbot's take on a Jewish folktale that began in Prague during the Renaissance. In the early 16th century, Cesare Borgia led the papal armies on a conquest of Europe, and Rabbi Loew of Prague, a scientist and religious leader, needed a defense against the invading force. In a dream, he had a vision of a giant man composed of wood, clay, stone and metal; that creature, the Golem, would be built by Loew, his apprentices and five guilds of Prague.
While the Golem's creators made it invincible, they did not imbue it with a soul. In Moonbot's game, you play as the Golem, learning to use its abilities to defend the people of Prague while going on a soul-searching journey. Moonbot characterizes the Golem as a "giant-sized child discovering the world for the first time," a curious creature that can wield fearsome powers against Borgia's armies as well as play with a butterfly.
"Sure, we won an Oscar. But it didn't come with a cash prize."
The Golem is in development on Windows PC, although Moonbot says the game will be played with a controller. The studio hasn't announced specific stretch goals for the Kickstarter drive yet, but hopes to bring the game to consoles if it can raise funds beyond its goal. And the game is only the first part of Moonbot's plans for The Golem; the studio is interested in continuing the story across media such as films, books and apps.
According to Moonbot, The Golem is set for release in "mid-2015," although physical rewards for Kickstarter backers are scheduled to ship in June or July of this year.