North Island fantasy writer Justin Cuff plans to make his novel come to life in the form of a video game.
Cuff has always been a fan of the fantasy genre and has written in his spare time. A couple of years ago he published his first novel, Ultimate Fantasy – The Queen’s Realm, which generated a dedicated base of readers.
“Parts of the story I wanted to bring to life in the form of a game so I started thinking about how to do that,” recalls Cuff. “So, I took some online courses for basic programming and purchased a lot of different game-making software and tools to do that, and started working on (the video game) over a year ago.”
The Meridian Shard is a nostalgic, 2D, single-player, high-fantasy adventure role-playing game. It will be Cuff’s first video game and will be for PCs.
Unlike many first-person shooter games today, Cuff says his game will have a very strong emphasis on characters and plot.
“What I want to focus on is going back to the story, giving the players a choice, sort of a multiple choice as they go through the game, interacting with other characters, taking different quests, and then of course completing the story that’s in the game as well,” says Cuff. “Lots of dialogue, detailed characters, and lots of satire in there as well about the gaming culture in general.”
The game is set in a parallel universe. In response to fears about an emerging plague, a warlock and mercenary recruit, (who the player controls), must deliver a royal scroll to Dularian healers, in the hope that they can help.
Cuff is creating the game via his independent company Ultimate Fantasy Studio. He started a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter with a goal of receiving $6,500 by Feb. 16. Kickstarter is a crowd-funding site for creative projects only.
Those who help fund a project receive something in return — in Cuff’s case, a funder could receive a copy of the game when it’s finished or have a game character created in their likeness, for example.
Cuff had raised $2,132 as of Tuesday. But, he will not receive any of the funding pledged so far if he doesn’t reach his goal by Feb. 16, as Kickstarter operates on an all-or-nothing fundraising model.
Cuff says he can complete the game by the end of the year if his Kickstarter campaign is successful. If not, his release date will likely be later in 2015 because he will have to take on other employment and devote less time to working on The Meridian Shard.
Cuff plans to hold a players’ event at Games & Grounds Coffee House in Courtenay when the game is complete.
For more information and for a link to Cuff’s Kickstarter campaign, visit ultimatefantasystudio.com. Cuff lives in Campbell River with his family, but often visits the Comox Valley.