Ray’s Welsh Games Column: Banshee

Kickstarter has become a popular way to fund game development. Not only does it liberate developers in how they handle the micro-management of their games, it also allows freedom in design choice and potentially provides them with the budget needed for their game and thensome.

It also allows riskier games to finally see the light of day. With crowdfunding, developers only need to appease their audience as opposed to a publisher who wouldn’t normally consider the title as financially viable.

The games industry is changing and Rogue Vector are well aware of what that could mean for their future.

Banshee is a unique Kickstarter that not only funds the development of a game but also a feature film. It has bold ambitions and has already met over half its goal. However, there is only a short time left and there’s still a way to go.

The Banshee is part of an old Welsh legend and so its entirely appropriate that the game is being handled by Independent Welsh team Rogue Vector – a team that have handled games such as Root Access, Dark Choices and Mechadroids. At present, Banshee is being solely targetted for the Facebook platform, but as its being developed using Unity, it can easily be adapted to other formats.

But what is Banshee?

Essentially, its a two-team territory tussle between Humans and Spirits. Both teams must take control of areas of the city using their own unique qualities. Humans assume control using light, while spirits assume control with darkness. Spirits cannot stand the light and are burned to the touch. However, humans can be swarmed and easily scared to death if lured under the veil of darkness. Instantly, I thought of the Luigi’s Mansion mini-game in Nintendo Land upon hearing about this, except this is hard, Rated-R stuff.

Humans can only see as much as their torch allows, but they can also activate streetlights and use flares to help them out. Humans also have heightened senses and can feel when something is out in the dark.  

Meanwhile, Spirits must scream out from the darkness to see if a human is vulnerable. This, in turn, will mark the human, exposing him for all other spirits to see. From there, a spirit can either spook the human on their own or work as part of a team.

Defeating enemies and capturing territories will merit experience points for both sides. Overtime, both humans and spirits will unlock new abilities. Spirits have special spectral abilities that can be used to kill humans in unique and devastating ways, while Humans have their own items and upgrades.

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When a team controls an area of the city, they gain a greater insight into the lore of the game through newspaper clippings and audio tapes.  If they continue to play, they may also get trailers if enough time has been spent playing. Uniquely, the film will also be released through the game once production has finished and before it is released in cinemas. Those who have collected enough lore between now and then will actually be able to watch it before anyone else. How’s that for incentive to keep at it? It’s currently anticipated that production for the movie will conclude during Summer 2014.

If a team is being overrun by the opposition, the city also has a series of safe zones. These areas allow humans to get batteries for their flashlights, but everyone can stock up on equipment, regain their energy and talk strategy before going back out there.

As if that wasn’t enough, if a player dies as a Human, they can actually choose to change sides and become a Spirit to unleash their rage. Likewise, if a player is a Spirit, they can be resurrected as a Human. This will surely make for some seriously dynamic gameplay shifts.

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Despite being a Facebook title, the good news is the game will not spam users with game requests and notification spam. If you’re anything like me, you get a bit sick of seeing Candy Crush Saga every 20 seconds in your feed. Instead, the developers will only post interesting snippets and insight into the lore surrounding Banshee mythology when someone has discovered an artifact in-game. There may even be teasers and trailers for the film posted from time to time.

Rogue Vector are onto a winner and are not only set out to redefine the deathmatch gametype, they also want to redefine people’s perception of browser-based and Facebook gaming.

There’s only a short amount of time left to back the game so you should absolutely show your support and get involved. It’s an excting project and one, we reckon, could begin to change the landscape of multiplayer gaming. Check it out here…

About the author

Ray Willmott

Ray is the founder and editor of Expansive. He is also a former Community Manager for Steel Media, and has written for a variety of gaming websites over the years. His work can be seen on Pocket Gamer, PG.biz, Gfinity, and the Red Bull Gaming Column. He has also written for VG247, Videogamer, GamesTM, PLAY, and MyM Magazine,