Russian based indie developer AuraLabs have announced the launch of their IndieGoGo campaign for the point and click puzzle adventure game, Karma. Incarnation 1.
Karma. Incarnation 1 tells the story of a reincarnated funny but brutal worm called Pip. Knowing nothing about the new and surreal reality he finds himself in, Pip must explore this world and overcome obstacles, to figure out who he really is. Along his journey Pip will also come to learn about the laws of karma, and the relativity of good or evil, through the choices he makes.
Originally starting out its life as an animated series, the small indie team decided to take Pip’s story and turn the series into a real indie psychedelic adventure, with unique landscapes, strange creatures, mind-bending puzzle and fun gameplay.
Alexander Kuvshinov, art director, animator, screenwriter, ideological leader of the project, and original creator of the animated series, agreed to answer some questions and tell us more about the game.
For anyone who hasn’t seen Karma. Incarnation 1, how would you describe it?
I would say the game offers meditative psychedelic adventure filled with funny animations, subtle humour and just a tiny bit of irony, or if you would, a surrealistic journey into the realms of good and evil, mixed with concepts of superpowers and survival.
With the idea behind Karma coming from the small, animated series created by Alexander Kuvshinov, how hard has it been adapt that concept into a point and click puzzle game?
Well, besides the fact that adapting anything into a game requires loads of work by producing and game design teams, we had to build all graphics and animations from scratch, using the movie for references only. Not only animations had to be redrawn – we also had to recreate backgrounds, as the ones used in animated series were very basic. We also had to consider the way backgrounds move and are linked to each other, since we want to have parallax in game. Still, we are going to use some parts of the movie for cut-scenes.
So far Karma. Incarnation 1 has been described as a psychedelic and surreal adventure game, where did the inspiration for Pip’s world and the Astral world come from?
Oh, inspiration comes from life itself! You see some kind of blot on the surface and immediately an image comes to mind, and you say to yourself – can I use this in game?
Physical world is the hardest part; astral world sort of gets done on its own. I dunno how else to describe it, really. Some kind of inner understanding.
Why did you decide not to have any text dialogue in the game? Will we perhaps get to hear some of the characters speaking to each other?
First, Pip and all the other characters are not human and do not speak human language, we think this will sustain the unique atmosphere of the game. Secondly, it would make it easier for people to enjoy the game, no need for localised versions.
And yes, you are going to hear the characters talk – they are not mute, after all, but their language is not the one you would recognize.
It’s clear that the idea of karma is a big influence on the story, is there a hidden meaning or message you’re trying to get across to players?
Of course there is. Naturally, the meaning and the message is put into the game as it is created – we believe this is the way it is with most good games.
Now understanding this message is another story – but this is not a priority. Above all, we want people to have fun while playing the game. If someone realizes something important while playing – well, that just makes it better!
How many different endings do you hope to have once the game has come to full release?
There’s going to be two major endings, keeping in mind that non-linear story-line for this type of game is rather uncommon.
In your stretch goals you say you’d like to create console and tablet versions of the game as well, what made you want to expand out on to these devices?
Well, why not? The platform itself means very little – if there were some other gaming devices in existence, we’d want to port to those too. Besides, tablets are perfect for point-and-click games.
I’m sure by now you’ve all tried out both good and evil Pip, which is the favourite way to play amongst the team at AuraLabs?
At the moment, we’ve only got working prototype, so it is a bit early to talk about that. I believe both paths are going to be fun and addictive, and doing various quests in different ways will add up to experience. Evil and good are intertwined after all, so some seemingly evil deeds might lead to good developments and vice versa.
Why did you decide to campaign on IndieGoGo and crowd source Karma. Incarnation 1?
We are small indie team of game developers, and we want to stay independent from censorship and editing that comes from publishers and investors. Crowd funding perfectly suits our product and our goals. We believe our karma is helping us raise needed funds and we are grateful for any help provided. If we don’t reach our goal by crowd funding alone, well, we would have to turn to investors, some companies had already made their offers.
Do you think we’ll get to see a demo or an alpha anytime soon? Perhaps on Steam or for the backers on IndieGoGo?
Yes, I think in about 2-3 months a working demo will be released, likely to be ported on iPad and android-based tablets immediately.
Thank you to Alexander for taking the time to answer our questions, and we wish AuraLab the best of luck with their campaign. If you’d like to help support the team, please visit their IndieGoGo page, or vote for Karma. Incarnation 1 on Steam Greenlight.