“A serial killer is terrorizing the streets of Victorian London, and private investigator Sydney Emerson has hit a new low between finding lost dogs and receiving alleyway beatings. A turn of events sees Sydney forgoing his selfish nature and thrusting himself into perilous and increasingly surreal situations, walking the line between dreams and reality. Explore the seedy streets of Victorian London, searching the slums, taverns, opium dens and even Sydney’s dreams and hallucinations for leads, meeting a host of interesting, insane and eccentrically British characters while exploring the deeper human condition.”
This is the story behind The Slaughter, a point and click adventure game made by one man. Drawing inspiration from classic adventure games of the past, The Slaughter looks to be a deeply intriguing story with an interesting – and not often explored – setting. Focusing on devilish yet logical puzzles, a sly sense of humour, and a dark storyline, The Slaughter is bringing it’s A game.
Launched on Kickstarter on November 13, The Slaughter‘s creator Alex Francois isn’t asking for much. A mere £8,000 is all he needs to complete the game. In fact, the game is already nearing completion: the story is written, the puzzles are created, and the gameplay systems are in place. In fact, all that’s left is animating the scenes and some other graphical work. That’s where your money goes – to help pay for the living expenses of one very passionate man so he can complete his game. Pledging as little as £8 is all it takes to get a digital copy of the game for PC, Mac, or Linux.
We recently caught up with Alex Francois and asked him a few questions about The Slaughter.
First of all, thanks for answering our questions. For starters, can you tell us a few words about your project?
The Slaughter is a 2D point-and-click advenutre game set in the decadence and decay of Victorian London. You play as Sydney Emerson, a down on his luck private detective who finds himself in the middle of a string of serial killings. The game plays a lot like a classic adventures such as Monkey Island and Broken Sword, but with dark themes and disturbing situations.
Why did you decide to start a campaign on a crowd funding platform? Why Kickstarter?
I wanted to develop the game full-time so quit my job as a writer, focusing all my time on the game. I chose crowdfunding as I knew it would allow me to create the game I envisioned without any compromises. Kickstarter seemed like the logical choice as it accepts UK projects and is the most popular crowdfunding site, it also has a great adventure game community.
What advantage does The Slaughter bring to the table?
I feel most games nowadays are obsessed with looking more and more like films, as if films are the perfect form to aim for. With the slaughter I’m trying to achieve a game that uses the combination of music, art, story and interaction to create something completely new. For me it’s all about making gamers feel a strange and indescribable way through use of atmosphere, I’d really like to reach out to gamers on a personal level.
Is this your first game?
This is the first professional game I’ve developed, though I’ve been making games for years just for me to play. It’s also my first Kickstarter.
What kind of rewards did you come up with? What would be your advice to others regarding the rewards?
Apart from the usual digital copies of the game, an important reward I wanted from the start was a large boxed copy of the game, the type 90’s PC games like Monkey Island came in. They feel so much more real and more precious than standard DVD cases. My advice regarding rewards would be to not be greedy. Work out how much a reward would cost you to make and price it accordingly. I’ve seen a lot of projects offer boxed copies of games for ridiculous amounts. I feel it should always reflect the price you’d pay in a store.
What would be your advice regarding creating a project on Kickstarter in general? How important was the video?
The best advice I can give is to really study other Kickstarter pages. Look at the successes and see what they did right. The video is the main thing as most people wont even bother to read half the page, a lot of people don’t seem to realize this and create videos showing them talking and nothing else, no gameplay. This worked for Tim Schafer as he has an amazing track record and is a gaming legend, but it wont work for an unknown person. I always thought it was vital to feature yourself talking at the end of the trailer, but after the success of Hyper Light Drifter I knew what really mattered was a stylish and intriguing trailer.
What did you do to promote your Kickstarter campaign?
The best thing to do is create an indiedb project for the game before the kickstarter. Post some images and get some feedback. I didn’t do nearly enough ground work before the kickstarter, I really wish I had. Then comes the inevitable frantic emailing every day, trying to get through to all the games sites who must receive hundreds of emails daily. It’s tough and can wear you down, but you’ve got to hang in there.
Can you tell us something cool about The Slaughter that isn’t written in your project page?
While the story revolves around serial killers, dream worlds and hallucinations, the real core of The Slaughter lies in the main character Sydney. It’s essentially a game about what it is to be human, the excitement, stress and depression we feel. I want people to relate to him as a real person. For example; the first full day we spend with Sydney ends in failure, which causes him to visit the local pub and drink until he vomits!