When explaining precisely what made Interplay a PC powerhouse in the ‘90s, it’s natural to leap to the in-house RPG invention of Black Isle. But the other half of the answer lay elsewhere in California, with Shiny Entertainment. Their wilful disregard for genre, leftfield humour and, ah, unique character design shone through in Earthworm Jim and MDK, and perhaps even more so in spinoff studio Planet Moon’s Giants: Citizen Kabuto.
To the eternal shame of Earth and all its denizens, none sold particularly well - and both studios died slow deaths-by-shovelware. But key staffer and Earthworm Jim level namesake Nick Bruty has regrouped with a new team at Rogue Rocket Games to build a new game in the Shiny mould, which he rather hopes you’ll help Kickstart.
It'll be called First Wonder - a “new, hilarious romp” of a single player action game, paired with a “genre bending” asymmetric team multiplayer component.
That’s Giants in a nutshell. Bruty conceived and creatively directed that game, as well as MDK, and played other significant roles in the making of Earthworm Jim and Armed and Dangerous.
“I commonly get asked why I haven't made games like this since,” he writes. “The truth is that I've wanted to, but publishers stopped taking chances on these kinds of creative endeavours.”
It’s a common tune we’ve heard sung on Kickstarter many times before - but I really think he’s right. The closest we’ve had to Giants: Citizen Kabuto since was Double Fine’s Brutal Legend - and that was nearly buried after Activision abandoned it midway through development.
The plan is to launch a Kickstarter campaign sometime this spring - but in the meantime, you can pay $15 via Paypal to be considered an early backer and be guaranteed a copy of the eventual game. Do you think you’ll buy into that, or wait out the return of the bonkers RTS action genre Shiny and Planet Moon pioneered?