The Mysterious Cities of Gold was a fixture during my childhood. To be perfectly honest, I can't remember a great deal about it besides the bit in the theme song that goes "aaaaah, aahh-aaah-aaah-aaaaaaah," but I do, at least, remember its existence fondly.
Lest you're unfamiliar, Cities of Gold was an animated series that ran for 39 episodes between 1982 and 1983, and was many children of the '80s first exposure to anime. It wasn't a purely Japanese production, however; it was instead a collaboration between French and Japanese artists, producers, writers and directors -- though the French release (that was subsequently dubbed and distributed to English-speaking markets) was edited somewhat, particularly with regard to characterization and music.
The story followed a young Spanish boy called Esteban, who joined a voyage to the New World in 1532 in search of the lost Cities of Gold and his missing father. Along the way, he gets into numerous adventures, with the narrative blending elements of South American history (particularly with regard to the Mayan, Incan and Olmec civilizations), archeology and science fiction.
French developer Ynnis Interactive has been working on a Mysterious Cities of Gold video game called Secret Paths for Wii U, 3DS, iPad and iPhone, and has been gearing up for a release this fall. The original intention was to release the new game in French only, since the show has always been most popular in France and a new season (developed without Japanese input this time around) is currently airing only in French-speaking territories. However, what Ynnis apparently didn't count on was the fact that there's still apparently a significant number of Mysterious Cities of Gold fans around the world, and many of them got in touch to request both an international release of the game and a PC version. Ynnis had already accounted for its development budget on actually putting the game together, and so turned to Kickstarter to invite people to put their money where their mouth was.
The team aimed for a modest $30,000, which would enable them to develop a port for PC, localize the game into English -- including full dubbing of cinematic scenes and dialog -- and subtitle the game in Spanish. With 23 days left to go on the campaign, the $30,000 target has already been broken through, which means that the next goal is $40,000. If this particular stretch goal is reached, the team will add Italian, German, Portuguese, Brazilian Portuguese and Swedish subtitles, and since the campaign launched, a professional translator fan of the series volunteered to add Polish subtitles for free.
The game itself unfolds largely from a top-down perspective, and is described as a "balanced mix of puzzle and infiltration." You'll control the game's three heroes Esteban, Tao and Zia in order to solve puzzles and make your way through the environment. Ynnis cites Lost Vikings and The Cave as influences on the multi-character gameplay -- all three characters will need to work together to progress.
The story roughly follows the narrative of the new season of the show, with Esteban, Tao and Zia searching for a far eastern City of Gold in China. Each of the levels will represent somewhere the trio explores in the series, and the action will be punctuated by cutscenes lifted straight from the series. Art assets have also been designed to be as true to the show's design as possible, and the music likewise has been brought directly from the series itself.
If you want to find out more about the game -- or perhaps help those additional translations to happen -- check out the official Kickstarter page.
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