One thing Syndrome (whose birthday is today, by the way…) and I cannot seem to agree on is whether Lord of the Rings Online or World of Warcraft is the better looking game. He says LOTRO because of its realism, but I say WoW for its lack thereof. What I love about WoW’s art style is that it is befitting of an imaginary world filled with wonder and magic. The colors are bright, the lighting is gorgeous, and I’m always impressed with how stunning the landscape around me is. Sometimes I like to just hop on a ground mount and travel cross country to soak in the atmosphere. So while realism is nice and all, I tend to prefer a more artistic feel, and boy is this week’s Kickstarter game artistic! We’ve featured some visually stunning games in the past with Beyond eyes and Imagination is the Only Escape, but what makes Knite and the Ghost Lights unique is that it turns game art on its head. We thought we knew the various ways in which game worlds could be created, but how many games have we seen that use stop motion?
Yes. Stop motion. Think Tim Burton, or Wallace and Grommet. Everything you see in Knite and the Ghost Lights, from the characters, to the props, and even the backgrounds, are handmade models that have been photographed and then brought into the game world. The attention to detail is stunning, and the overall look is hauntingly beautiful.
My senior year of high school I spent half of the day at a vocational school where I studied film and TV production. For one unit we had to make a 30 second stop motion PSA.
It took us three days.
To get 30 seconds of footage*.
Those three days tested my patience like nothing else ever has. By the end you could tell we were getting tired of it as some of the characters and clouds began to kind of hop around rather than transition smoothly.
So I feel for the team behind this game. Not only are they building a game, but they’re basically making a stop motion film at the same time. And that is one hell of a lot of work.
While the art style is certainly what sets Knite apart from almost every other game out there, it is not the only reason I chose to cover it. I don’t believe that graphics alone make a game. I don’t believe that any single aspect makes the game. For me it is the sum of the parts that determines the success.
Story and Character
The game’s protagonist, Knite, comes from a generation of pipers. Their knowledge of powerful music allows them to ease the pain of the tormented Ghost Lights (or Will o’ the Wisps) who roam Mistland in the dead of night.
I love British and Irish folklore. Something about the old tales from the British Isles speak to me in a way others do not. When I saw that Will o’ the Wisps are a prominent feature of Knite and the Ghost Lights, I immediately wanted to know more.
The characters are fantastic as well. Each character has been beautifully crafted, both in their aesthetic look, and their personality. You have the good witch, the bad witch, the unwilling protagonist, the gunslinging, poncho wearing, herb smoking tough guy, and the old, grumpy, pain in your rump oak stump. Some people may argue that stereotypes and caricatures should always be avoided, but in this case I believe that they work perfectly. The world and story feel as though they are straight form a fairytale, and I would expect the characters to feel the same!
The staff working on Knite and the Ghost Lights have dedicated a lot of time and energy to their lore (squee!) and if you are interested in learning more about the mysterious world of Mistland and its eccentric characters you can check out their wonderfully detailed Wiki.
While the campaign doesn’t delve too deeply into how the gameplay will work, it gives us just enough tantalizing clues to keep us interested. For instance, they claim that lighting will play a key role in how you play the game. In what ways specifically we don’t yet know, but the concept sounds amazing.
For a long while I wanted to go into theater light design. Being deathly afraid of heights, however, meant that I’d never really get past the apprentice phase so I gave up on it. But to be able to play with light in a game? Sounds like a freaking blast!
In addition to lighting, another key mechanic is likely going to be music. I don’t know if this will be something along the lines of Zelda where each tune does something specific, or if it is more complicated than that, but with the main character being a piper I expect it will be a pretty important feature.
Nowhere did the campaign say anything about combat and I’m hoping that means there isn’t any. An exploration/puzzle game in which you help lost souls sounds like a lovely concept to me and there’s no need to mainstream it up by adding gratuitous violence and combat.
Overall I am very excited for this game. Knite and the Ghost Lights could potentially one up mainstream games with its abundance of creativity and imaginative art design. The devs working on it are Mobot Studios, the folks behind the 2012 mobile game “Paper Monsters” which was met with wonderful reviews. They have the experience and they have the talent, now it’s time for the cash to fund it.
You know the drill! Check here for the link to their Kickstarter. If you have the means, send them a donation! There are some pretty neat thank you gifts if you do. If you are unable to at this time, spread the word! Let’s get Knite and the Ghost Lights funded!
*If I ever find a copy I’ll link to it here. It was called “Nuclear Badness” and was hilariously stupid. But it won best stop motion at the end of the year art festival…