Australian developer Summerfall Studios, led by former BioWare Senior Narrative Designer David Gaider (Dragon Age, Baldur’s Gate 2), have begun crowdfunding their first game- Chorus: An Adventure Musical.
Launching on Fig, the project is seeking $600,000 by November 10th. As the title implies, the game is a musical inspired adventure game. The project is written by Gaider, with music composed by Austin Wintory (Flow, Monaco, Journey). Voice Directing will be done by Troy Baker, while Laura Bailey will take the “starring” role.
The project is the brain-child of Gaider and game developer Liam Esler. It was inspired by musicals Dear Even Hansen, Hadestown, Wicked and the musical episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer Once More With Feeling. In addition, the project has been inspired by vidogames such as the Dragon Age series, Life is Strange, and Dream Daddy.
While the project seems strange (the project description admitting they chose crowdfunding due to not finding a publisher), videogame musicals have been done before. Dominique Pamplemousse is mentioned in the project’s description, while Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure was developed by Nippon Ichi Software in 1998.
The plot sees the main character Grace as part of a band, only for their new singer to die at her apartment and reveal she is a Muse. She gifts Grace her powers (of “Kickass musical numbers”), and now Grace must prove her innocence to her relatives- part of a hidden society of Greek mythological beings called the CHORUS.
The power of a Muse specifically means you can draw others into a song, and “when someone is caught up in the melody, they may change their mind, confess to a crime… or even fall in love. It is up to you, and the direction you decide to take.”
Much like dialogue options in other narrative-driven games. The player can gain branching storylines based on choices made during musical numbers. These choices also change the song’s style and direction.
Traits the player chooses, earns, and levels up through the game- “Kickass (for the adventurous), Clever (for the intellectual), and Charming (for the charismatic)”- can also unlock new paths. Likewise, different characters you sing with have different affinities for different traits. This promises to make each playthrough unique.
Stretch goals will enable more musical numbers, more voice acting, a longer and more extensive game, and more romance options than the initial two. While they are targeting a PC-only release (via Steam), future platforms may come about if the game is successful.
Out of the money raised, 75% will go to the game’s development, voiceover and music production. 15% will go to funding rewards, 3-5% to payment processing fees, and 5% to Fig’s own fees. The game is currently looking at a two year development cycle.