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Darkest Dungeon dev launches $75K Kickstarter

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Red Hook Studios, the Vancouver, Canada-based company behind the "uncompromising, unforgiving and unconventional" role-playing game Darkest Dungeon, launched a Kickstarter campaign for the title today.

The developers have spent the past nine months making the game, and the campaign's funding goal of $75,000 will allow them to finish the job. They said that to this point, they've gone without pay and have covered out-of-pocket expenses themselves, and the campaign funds would cover the rest of development, not living wages for the team.

"Should we raise funds above our target, it will allow us to develop some of the stretch goal features that we think will enhance the core game. Finally, if we raise a lot more than our goal, then we'd be in a position to pay ourselves a living allowance during development, vastly improving our quality of life and reducing our party's stress levels significantly," said Red Hook on the Kickstarter page.

According to Red Hook, Darkest Dungeon is meant to be a dungeon-crawler that goes beyond the genre's typical mechanics to address "the psychological stresses of adventuring." The game features the qualities of roguelikes and old-school PC role-playing games, such as permadeath and procedurally generated dungeons, along with a dozen playable classes that are all "very human" characters.

"They will respond emotionally to the horrors they encounter. They get stressed, [and] develop phobias, proclivities and other emotional baggage. Their abilities evolve based on their experiences in the dungeons, and you must learn to lead them to victory in spite of their flaws," reads the Kickstarter page.

Darkest Dungeon is in development on Mac and Windows PC, and Red Hook says it's "very interested" in also bringing the game to Linux, SteamOS, tablets, Nintendo 3DS and consoles. The studio is aiming to release the full game in January 2015, and plans to offer a Steam Early Access version "later this year." Stretch goals for the $75,000 campaign run from $90,000 to $500,000, and none cover additional platforms — all (except the final "mystery" goal) would bring new features into the game.

The Darkest Dungeon Kickstarter campaign is set to end at 2:59 a.m. ET on March 14. As of this writing, the funding drive has pulled in nearly $40,000, more than 53 percent of its goal.

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