It’s been only a few months since we last heard from the Cubus Games when they launched Sol Invictus and the Necklace of Skulls in winter, and now they’re crowd-funding their next project – The Frankenstein Wars. Being an avid fan of this indie developer’s take on mobile interactive gamebooks, I couldn’t skip the news.
Their new project is the brainchild of Dave Morris, the godfather of the interactive storytelling renowned for Fabled Lands, Blood Sword, Dragon Warriors and Virtual Reality Adventures. His award-winning 2012 interactive adaptation of Frankenstein was #2 in the iTunes book app charts, and was rated as ‘One of the top ten book apps ever’ by The Sunday Times.
“The Frankenstein Wars is the dream project I’ve been waiting to do for over a decade. It’s a true interactive blockbuster that weaves the lives of our heroes and villains against a backdrop of hellish war with the soul of humanity at stake. Now, with writer Paul Gresty, artist Rafa Teruel, and the awesome design and code talents of the Cubus Games guys, we have finally assembled the team to do justice to such an epic story. All it needs is the spark of life that you can supply,” says Dave Morris.
The game in the works at Cubus Games sounds like a gamebook of epic proportions. Set in the time of the French revolution, the player becomes an active participant of a war this world has never seen before. The descendants of Victor Frankenstein keep the technology that resurrects the dead in secret, but the lunatic Zeroiste revolutionaries gets to its core, resurrects an army of dead and goes on a massive genocide spree to conquer Europe.
The lead writer is Paul Gresty, who is also working on The Serpent King’s Domain, a sequel to the Fabled Land series. Gresty is also known for his gamebook Arcana Agency: the Thief of Memories and The Orpheus Ruse.
From what is known so far, the player gets to play as the two brothers, Tom and Anton Clerval, and guide them through a branched out story, which will determine whether they will be allies or enemies. As in a proper zombocalypse, the stakes in this war are high – the life of the humanity. The game promises blood-chilling, flesh-tearing battle scenes and a true horror experience for the devotees of the genre. We have seen how Cubus Games releases the gripping gamebooks with the battles taking place in words and static pictures, and the emotions they stir equal to those evoked by blockbuster movies, so we expect nothing less from this new rendition of the Frankenstein theme, especially since the game lets us direct whole battalions in narrated strategic battles.
“This is no ordinary choose-your-own style gamebook. Cubus and the creative team are promising a raw, bloody, uncompromising epic of gritty oil-&-steam SF coupled with face-clawing body horror.” – Dave Morris
The interactive maps will let the players explore and reach their objectives while the severely branched out story will ensure the extensive replayability of a non-linear storyline. In addition, a gamebook that has you playing as two characters, instead of one, is surely to take longer to complete as such. The realistic development of the story will have you change your objectives as you play, and time will play one of the crucial parts in the Frankenstein Wars – the longer you take to make your decision, the stronger your opponents.
The developers have taken the interactive elements a step further by implementing the weather factor, which influences the story. You might think this means a few extra shades on a map and a sound score with a clap of thunder? Well, not exactly. The description suggests the story itself is particularly affected by the weather, as is the human history under normal conditions (for one, think the Russian winter freezing Napoleon’s army).
The artwork by Rafater looks fantastically blood-chilling. Honestly, I got lost for about an hour browsing Rafater’s works – he has some of the scariest devils I’ve seen and also some of the unexpected renditions of the Little Red Riding Hood and the Snow White (get your kids away from the screen, seriously). If you feel intrigued, check out his blog or some of his published art books like this “EROS. The sexiest art of Rafater.”
Knowing Cubus Games take on music, we can expect an immersive, movie-quality and gripping soundtrack, too. If you are curious, you can listen to some of their previous soundtracks on Soundcloud. If you haven’t played their gamebooks before, check out our reviews of Necklace of Skulls (by Dave Morris), Heavy Metal Thunder and Sol Invictus (Kyle B. Stiff).
The game will be released for Android and iOS, and the better the project gets funded, the sooner we lay our hands on this new adventure gamebook. The Kickstarter campaign launched on June 2 and within just one day it’s become 12.5% funded – pretty good going, and a solid beginning. There is a huge chest of perks for the backers, including the tangible goods, so check out its Kickstarter page or at least spread the word if you appreciate a great indie thriller gamebook. These guys are doing a great job and deserve that support: