"We here at Nigoro believe in the future of the 2D platformer," reads La-Mulana 2's Kickstarter pitch. "While 3D games have gained in popularity, we've always wondered where the future of the 2D game could take us."
If you've ever played the original La-Mulana, you'll know that the team at Nigoro is deadly serious about both recapturing the magic of classic 8- and 16-bit platformers, and helping Japan re-establish itself as an important part of the global gaming landscape. La-Mulana 2, the official sequel to the 2011 remake of Nigoro's 2006 8-bit-style platformer, is the next step in that process, and the team has turned to the popular crowdfunding platform in order to help realize their vision.
The Kickstarter page for the new game is a candid, honest affair that explains both where the original concepts came from and how the team was disappointed that while the 2011 remake was well-received, it didn't offer enough new to seasoned players of the 2006 original. But this doesn't mean that the all-new experience of La-Mulana 2 will be indecipherable to all but past players -- quite the opposite, in fact.
"While 'you don't need to have played the prequel!' is a horribly overused cliché," continues the pitch, "we feel it's appropriate here. We want all players to be able to play and enjoy our work. Our aim is to create a fresh new experience for people who enjoyed the first game, while also giving newcomers a chance to enjoy the series without being forced to play La-Mulana first."
La-Mulana 2 will cast you in the role of female protagonist Lumisa Kosugi, daughter of the original game's protagonist Lemeza Kosugi. The team describes the game as, like its predecessor, being a 2D action platformer with an emphasis on non-linear exploration, but one in which the core of the game is in deciphering riddles and solving puzzles rather than combat. The game is designed to be freeform and non-linear, and offers minimal hand-holding -- no tutorials or "long-winded sidekicks," according to the Kickstarter pitch. Instead, it's your job to determine what you think is the best way to proceed. The team estimates it will take you about 20 to 30 hours to complete on your first run-through, and that its non-linear nature makes it very replayable. Veterans of the original will also doubtless be pleased to hear that the new game is no longer confined to a retro-style 4:3 aspect ratio and instead uses 16:9 resolutions. "The question we're asking ourselves," continues the pitch, "is 'how can 2D games take advantage of recent developments in technology?" It certainly looks promising so far.
Nigoro is working with doujin specialist Playism on La-Mulana 2; the company is assisting with both localization and publishing duties on the new game, and is involved in the entire process of bringing the new sequel to market. Eventually the game will be available both via Playism's DRM-free online store and Steam, with alpha and beta access available to those who pledge at higher tiers. Nigoro and Playism are both particularly keen to solicit the feedback of YouTubers and their followers as the game develops, and are encouraging alpha and beta participants to upload footage of their gameplay at all stages of the development process.
Pledge tiers start at $15 -- the $12 "early bird" deal is already sold out -- for a copy of the game when it's finished (currently estimated at December 2015) on both Steam and Playism's store. At the time of writing, 1,160 backers have already pledged their support to the new game, raising $57,468 out of the project's relatively modest $200,000 goal. With 32 days left to go, signs look good that the game will comfortably exceed its funding target -- lucky, then, that the team has a swathe of stretch goals ready to spend the additional money on, including handheld (probably Vita, possibly 3DS) console versions if it reaches $1,150,000, and home console versions if it breaks the $1,650,000 (Wii U, PS4 or "possibly even" Xbox One) and $2,350,000 (Wii, PS3 "or possibly" Xbox 360) barriers.