Crowdfunding Friday: Aurora, The Realm, and a monkey western

Here's this week's batch of worthy, geek-friendly crowdfunding projects that have caught our eye this week...

The likes of Zach Braff and Peter Molyneux may grab headlines with their Kickstarter campaigns (not to mention no small amount of controversy), but they’re just the tip of the crowdfunding iceberg. Which is why we’re bringing you this weekly post, which aims to highlight some of the geek-friendly crowdfunding projects we’ve stumbled upon during our caffeine-fuelled daily trawls around the internet.

This week, we’ve found a low-budget science fiction project with some potentially fantastic visuals, a point-and-click adventure game inspired by such lyrical Japanese cultural touchstones as Ico and My Neighbour Totoro, and a quirky comic book about a group of simian outlaws…

The Good, The Bad And The Monkey

If you’re looking for a comic with an unusual theme, Andy Baker’s The Good, The Bad And The Monkey is well worth your attention. As the creator himself puts it, his monkey western premise is the kind of thing that would perplex most publishers, but could, if given the chance, prove to be a cult success.

A Sergio Leone-inspired tale of gun-slinging simians in the Old West, it promises equal parts action and humour, and a gallery of hairy, terse outlaw types. Baker’s art style is strong, angular and striking, and suits the rugged theme of his story perfectly. If the project’s £10,000 goal is met (and at the time of writing, it’s more than 60 per cent there), backers will get a handsomely hardbound copy of the book, which looks rather lovely. 

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The falling cost of computer technology, and the rise of a new generation of effects-savvy filmmakers, has resulted in some low-budget films with astonishing visuals. Neill Blomkamp is but one example of a filmmaker who rapidly rose from a creator of stunning YouTube hits to mainstream success.

There’s more than a touch of Blomkamp’s affinity for low-budget effects around Robert Kouba, the young director behind Aurora. Described as a ‘twisted robot love story,’ it’s a science fiction feature film about a man who wakes up in a future governed by despotic robots; and after wondering where the last 60 years went, the man learns that he’s a robot himself.

The various clips from Kouba’s earlier work is highly impressive, especially given the budget levels he’s been working in, and the concept art for his James Cameron-like robot dystopia is equally good. If Kouba’s storytelling can match the Hollywood sheen of his visuals, this could be a great low-budget film.

The Realm

Here’s a soothing Kickstarter campaign. Indie studios Atomhawk Design and Lantern Interactive have teamed up for their fantasy point and click adventure, The Realm. The campaign video above is full of sumptuous, leafy animatics and relaxing flute-filled music, so if you’ve been having a stressful day at work, it’s worth pouring yourself a cup of tea and watching it.

The game itself sounds intriguing, and the designers behind it have good track records: Ron Ashtiani once worked at Gremlin (makers of the Monty Mole games and Zool, among others), and also worked on The Thing, the underrated adaptation of John Carpenter’s chilly classic, released in 2002.

Point and click adventures fell out of the mainstream a long time ago, but studios like Amanita  and Double Fine have proved that there’s still plenty of vitality and audience interest in them. Influenced by the atmosphere of Studio Ghibli’s movies and the classic PS2 game Ico, The Realm’s about a young girl and her friendship with a giant, elemental being.

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Although its makers are asking for a relatively high £195,000 for the game, you can see where the cash is going: what Ahtiani’s put together so far is quite captivating.

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