There Came an Echo



There Came an Echo, the second game from Iridium Studios. You might (or might not, it’s cool) remember them from our breakout indie hit, Sequence, which was released on Steam in late 2011. They got bored after a while, so we decided to make a second game! We also had some dirt on Wil Wheaton (Star Trek, Eureka, The Big Bang Theory)

There Came an Echo is currently being developed for the PC, and should release in approximately mid-2014 on Steam. The $90,000  is primarily for the art department: the money will be used directly to hire an art director and a 3-D modeler for a period of approximately fourteen months. Iridium Studios already invested heavily in our sound team, recording studio, actors, and programmers, but They need your help to round out the team!

Though this game is absolutely, from-the-ground-up designed for use with a vocal recognition system (and we’ll highly encourage you to at least try it!), we believe in letting players enjoy their entertainment as they see fit. So, alternate control schemes for both gamepads and keyboards will be available.

There Came an Echo is a game in which you, the field commander of a small squad, use your voice to direct your units around a map to accomplish various objectives. There’s a list of predefined commands, which might include “open fire,” or “Corrin, head to Bravo 3.” Limiting the dictionary to a few hundred entries helps to improve voice recognition, as the system (unlike, say, Siri) doesn’t need to differentiate a large number of words.

Still, those aren’t the only things you’ll be saying: for every existing command and unit, the player can define a custom phrase that acts as an alternate. For instance, instead of “Grace, hold position”, you might choose to say “yo girl, hold up”, or instead of “weapons free”, you might say, “not the gumdrop buttons!” You’ll be able to direct your troops in a style completely your own.

At various points throughout missions, your units will make various observations and come back to you with questions. “Sir, I’ve got a clear shot on an enemy target thirty meters away. Should I take the shot?” “Sir, do you want me to link back up with Grace? She’s under heavy fire.” You’ll need to survey the situation and give an informed “affirmative” or “negative”. It’s a dialogue, not a soliloquy.

Finally, there will be numerous environmental factors that you can affect throughout the game. Previously placed mines can be detonated remotely: “Mines 1, 3, 11, detonate.” Automated defense systems can target specific units: “Turret B, target Enemy Unit 5.” There are myriad possibilities for these types of interactions within gameplay, and these are just scratching the surface.

Art is arguably the most expensive component of any modern game, and it’s the primary reason we’re running this Kickstarter in the first place. A ton of work goes into any modern title’s aesthetics: character and environment design, 3-D modeling, animation, texturing, and so on. It’s a lot of work, but we want There Came an Echo to look as unique as it plays.

To help envision the game’s style, we asked concept artist Noe Levya to give us some target renders for the game. His work…well, it speaks for itself, we think.

A typical firefight in There Came an Echo. Click for high resolution!
A typical firefight in There Came an Echo. Click for high resolution!
Corrin, attempting to evade capture. Click for high resolution!
Corrin, attempting to evade capture. Click for high resolution!

We’re currently planning for There Came an Echo to take an isometric view with controllable zoom. (You can pan and zoom the camera with voice commands, or you can use a controller/mouse/keyboard for these functions.) It’s extremely likely that all units and objects will be rendered in full 3-D, considering the complex animations required, but we’d like the backdrops and environments to be fully painted, similar to the concept work above.

Though this style may very well be subject to change as the project moves forward, we think it’s a great target to shoot for. Regardless of our staff, however, we remain committed to giving There Came an Echo a look that elevates it above the competition.

There Came an Echo is, of course, fully voice acted. The conversations between player and soldiers are integral to creating a sense of immersion, so we’re spending way more than the average game studio to ensure we have fantastic performances all around. We’re based in Hollywood, so we’ll be utilizing our geographic advantages to their fullest.

For the soundtrack, Iridium Studios have a bit of an ensemble cast.

First up is YouTube sensation Ronald Jenkees, returning to Iridium Studios after his work on Sequence. This time, he’ll be composing completely new tracks for use in There Came an Echo.

Next up is industry veteran Jimmy Hinson, also known as BigGiantCircles. Jimmy’s worked on such blockbuster projects as Mass Effect 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, and he’ll be lending his prodigious audio talents to the project. Some sample work, from his album “Legacy”

Finally, to help out with vocal arrangements, we’re bringing on Judith de los Santos, perhaps better known as Malukah; her vocal quality is nothing short of entrancing. Here’s one of her most popular tracks, the cover “The Dragonborn Comes”

There Came an Echo might be confused for a standard military procedural, and considering the manner in which you interact with your units, that’s understandable. However, most of the characters under your direct command have no prior military experience…they’re learning as they go, and only your cool head and quick thinking is keeping them alive. The script is very firmly classified as science-fiction.

Corrin (played by Wil Wheaton) is a 31-year-old cryptographer and inventor of a very particular encryption algorithm…one that currently holds safe a shocking secret. His comfortable existence is interrupted by the enigmatic Val, who informs him that his life is in very imminent danger. His desperate attempts to uncover the truth are aided by a mercenary, Miranda; a vengeful young woman, Grace; and a mysterious British gentleman named Syll. The group is often at odds with one another, but eventually, they’ll need to overcome their enmity to strike back at the forces who kill, indiscriminately and without mercy, for a chance to unravel the deepest mysteries of the cosmos.

The game takes place in the near future, and features some advanced technology: directed energy weaponry, personal energy fields, and various other accoutrements.

Like we said, not your standard military fare.

originally posted by Kickstarter


Author: Terry Hodge II

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