Would You Play a Mobile Game in Which a Psycho Who's Kidnapped a Friend of Yours Calls You Up?
The Hostage Trials is one of the more interesting and innovative Kickstarter game projects I've come across, but maybe too much so on both counts: In the game, you see, a psychopath calls you up, tells you he's kidnapped a friend or family member, then gives you a series of challenges you need to complete, or, you know, Bad Things Happen. Yes, really:
Voice acting by David Hayter, who also did the voice work for Solid Snake, so you know your villain will be badass. While the developers call it a Real-Time Mobile Adventure, it's basically an Alternate Reality Game with a particularly sharp edge. And while I say it's innovative, something like this has been done before -- as it happens, I helped work on a thematically similar project over 10 years ago, way before its time:
In Electronic Arts' Majestic, which plunged you into a global X-Files-type conspiracy thriller, you were given a series of challenges by the game's characters, which were delivered via e-mail, instant message, video clips, fax machine (yes!), and voice mail. Some of those came from the game's bad guys, warning you to stop prying into their evil plans, and they were pretty reality-blending and creepy; one of them was a fax of a satellite photo of your actual house. (The lead developer was Neil Young, who interestingly, left EA to start the mobile game publisher ngmoco.) I wrote some of the scripts for the videos and voice messages, basically my first real gig in the industry. And then September 11 happened, and people weren't exactly in the mood to get random calls from mysterious characters threatening to blow up their house. Hopefully the timing for The Hostage Trials is much better. Go here to consider pledging.