Knite & The Ghost Lights brings “hand crafted” to a whole new level.  every character, prop, and environment isn’t created digitally on a computer screen; Everything is modeled and created in real life, then photographed and scanned into the game for you to play with.  It looks just like Coraline in game form, and the results are stunning.

If there’s one thing you can’t fault Mobot Studios for, it’s lack of effort.  For their latest project, a platformer named Knite & The Ghost Lights, the artists from Mobot Studios have painstakingly modeled every graphic from scratch out of clay, felt, wire, and paint.  Every level you play and every character you see physically exists in the artists’ apartment.  It’s a labour-intensive, time consuming process, but the results are nothing less than incredible.  It’s like playing a stop motion animated film.



This beautiful world sets the stage for a platformer focused around exploration and quirky characters.  You guide the titular Knite through Mistland, a spooky world inhabited by the Ghost Lights, the lost souls of those who died in the woods.  These souls are the keys to solving puzzles – Knite can play his magical melodies to release the souls and change the environment and unlock new areas.  Platforming in Knite & The Ghost Lights is less action oriented and more methodic: the developers  have stated that the action is similar to Metroid and Castlevania.  More focused on exploration than run and gun action.  Rather than upgrading weapons, Knite acquires new songs throughout his adventure.  Each song allows him to interact with new types of ghost lights.

Platforms

Knite & the Ghost Lights has a tentative release date of April 2014, and is launching for 3 platforms.  By backing the Kickstarter project for as little as $5, you can get yourself an early access digital copy for PC, Mac, and Linux.  Up your pledge to $35 or more and you’ll receive a Wii U download code in addition to your early access copy.  In addition, any of the tiers in between grants you bonuses such as a digital soundtrack, artbook, and poetry book.

The Team

A special game requires a special team – and the developers are Mobot Studios are most certainly special.  Based around the world – founder and programmer in California, artist in Russia, and producer in Seattle – Mobot uses daily Skype sessions to bring everything together.  This  isn’t some experimental method of game development, either.  Mobot has proven it works with Paper Monsters, an iOS/Android platformer that was well received by gamers and received critical praise.  The developers themselves are massively creative people – originally muscicians, they bring a different perspective to game development and create incredibly unique games.

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Q&A

Slimgamer got a chance to chat with James Fletcher, founder of Mobot Studios and lead designer on Knite & The Ghost Lights.

First of all, thanks for answering our questions. For starters, can you tell us a few words about your project? 

Sure thing.  Knite & The Ghost Lights is a unique video game concept that’s sort of a blend between a classic platformer adventure and a stop-motion film.  We’re fortunate to have 2 amazing artists that are both great sculptors and painters, and so the really cool thing about the project is that all of the objects you see in the game are real-life models they’ve built that are then photographed and digitized into the game world.

Why did you decide to start a campaign on a crowd funding platform? Why Kickstarter? 

As we mentioned above, the sets for each main world that we build are made up of real models they actually take up a ton of physical space.  So one of the things we’re going to pay for with Kickstarter is a larger artist studio to hold them all, since Lex (our lead artist) apartment is getting full.

What Advantage/uniqueness you are bringing to the table? 

Well I might be starting to sound like a broken record here, but I have to say that the most unique aspect of the game is its art style, which again is completely hand-crafted.  The other thing we’ve got for the project is a very detailed world (Mistland) and tons of great and quirky characters.  Our lead artist is the mastermind behind the world of Mistland, he’s literally been working on it for years, and in fact there’s much depth that if you’re really curious I recommend you check out our official Mistland wiki to go even deeper.

Is this your first game?  What about Kickstarter?

This is the first project that we’ve ever started on Kickstarter, but our team has a lot of experience already building games.  Our most well-known title so far would have to be Paper Monsters, which was a fun platformer that’s done well on iOS and Android.  In fact, now that we’re official Wii U developers with Nintendo we’re currently in the process of completely rebuilding that game to take advantage of all the extra horse power available on next generation consoles.

What kind of rewards did you come up with? What would be your advice to others regarding the rewards?

That’s a tough question, since there are a lot of great ideas out there I don’t really consider myself a Kickstarter expert… but primarily we drew inspiration from other gaming projects that we thought we cool and then tried to come up with a good mixture of unique rewards for every level of funding.  First and foremost we wanted all of our backers to be able to get a copy of the game and from there on up we just thought up a lot of other options to keep it fun. 

How important was the Kickstarter video?

With Kickstarter projects the importance of a good video can’t be understated.  For us it was all about trying to communicate the level of artistic detail that’s going into the project.  It’s one thing to read about it, but when you see our team actually sculpting, painting, and assembling the sets you really get a whole different view into the creative process.

What did you do to promote your Kickstarter campaign? 

We don’t have a huge promotional budget or anything, so the biggest place we’re spending time is just trying to help build a community around the game.  Keeping up frequent project updates, answering questions, doing interviews like this… I think are all ways to show people that we’re committed to the project and are really passionate about making a great game.

Can you tell us anything about your company’s history?

Mobot Studios has been around for just over 4 years now, and the biggest title that we’re known for is Paper Monsters.  One funny coincidental thing about us is that we’re all originally musicians, and so I think that helps with some of the creativity needed for building great games.  You can read a little more about the company here, but the bottom line is that we love making great games!

Please tell us something which isn’t written in your project page which worth mentioning. 

Ooh, that’s a tough one, since we’ve tried to include as much detail as possible.  One cool thing about our team is that we’re based all around the world, with our artists in Russia, founder in northern California, and producer/project manager in Seattle… thank you Skype!

What is newsworthy about your project?

I think that one of the coolest things we’ve got going for us is that we’re now official Wii U developers, and there’s still a lot of opportunity to break out there because the Nintendo indie dev space isn’t as crowded as other platforms.  So Knite & The Ghost Lights and Paper Monsters Recut (which we’re already in development for) are going to be very unique titles for Nintendo’s new console.

Thanks for cooperating with us.  We wish you luck!

Thanks for helping to spread the word!

You Can Help

As of this writing, Mobot Studios has raised $18,948 of their $35,000 with 5 days to go.   By backing the Kickstarter project (see below) you can help this unique project come to life and score yourself a copy when it’s available.  $5 is not a lot of money to get a chance to play a game as cool-looking as Knite.

But that’s not the only way to help.  The ultimate goal of this project is to create a fun, immersive game for players to enjoy, and the best way to help is to simply play it.  A game this good deserves to played.