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Blackroom Kickstarter Put on Hold to Develop Gameplay Demo

(Image by Night Work Games)

(Image by Night Work Games)

John Romero and Adrian Carmack are suspending the fundraising campaign for their return to first-person shooters.

Romero and Carmack, two co-creators of the iconic Doom franchise, have canceled the current Kickstarter campaign for their next project Blackroom, the team announced on Friday. The studio will be creating a gameplay demo to give people a better understanding of Blackroom and potentially raise more funds in the future.

Blackroom is intended to be a return to the old-school, fast-paced gameplay found in Romero’s previous first-person shooter games like Doom and Quake.

The team launched the Kickstarter on Monday. The current Kickstarter is being suspended because the demo will take longer to create than the time remaining in the campaign. The studio decided to make a demo that demonstrates the game after the feedback it received since the Kickstarter’s launch. The demo should be finished in a few months, according to Romero. It won’t be a complete level but will showcase the game’s speed, its Boxel weapon and some of its other key features the studio is putting into Blackroom.

Romero and Night Work Games will start a new Kickstarter campaign with the same funding goal for Blackroom once the demo is finished. Backer achievements earned from the current Kickstarter will still be recognized in the next one. Supporters who help fund the game a second time will receive something extra from the studio for continuing to back the project.

The campaign for Blackroom raised $131,052 of its $700,000 intended goal in four days from 2,287 backers. The Kickstarter was originally scheduled to end on May 27. The studio called the Kickstarter cancellation “a hitch that’s making us do something that’s right for the game, the team and the community.”

Romero and Carmack are creating Blackroom with a small team in Ireland where the studio is located. Romero is designing all the game’s levels while Carmack is making its art. If the Kickstarter is successful the studio will receive funding from an external company to fully support the game’s development. Blackroom is being created using Unreal Engine 4. The game is planned to release in winter 2018.

There was some skepticism of the Kickstarter because all Romero and the team showed were a few concept art designs and details about the game. While Blackroom generated interest from the community, the campaign didn’t show any gameplay but relied more on the pedigree of the two men’s names and their previous creations to promote the fundraising.

After the positive feedback the Kickstarter received about the game’s planned content, the team is confident that a gameplay demo will be what helps create more buzz for Blackroom and boosts funding. “If they don’t like that, then we don’t make that game-but we think they will like it,” Romero told Develop.

The game will feature a 10 hour single-player story mode and online multiplayer with dedicated servers, full modding support and community-created levels.

Blackroom takes place inside holographic simulations that allow for creative areas, enemies and weapons. The game’s story focuses on the Hoxar corporation, a technology company that creates these virtual worlds for military exercises, job training and entertainment purposes. Dr. Santiago Sonora, Blackroom’s main character, is Hoxar’s chief engineer that’s sent to investigate why these HoloSims are now malfunctioning and creating dangerous new worlds within themselves that are blending into reality. One of the main tools in the game is called the Boxel, which can change the game’s environment, freeze time and be used for other player interactions within the stages.

Romero and Carmack co-founded id Software in Mesquite, Texas along with John Carmack and Tom Hall in early 1991. Romero designed the studio’s iconic games that popularized first-person shooters in the ’90s and revolutionized the game industry. Adrian Carmack created the artistic look for these titles like Wolfenstein 3D (1992), Doom (1993) and Quake (1996).

Blackroom looks to be a return for Romero, whose last major game project released 16 years ago. He was the director on Daikatana while at Ion Storm, a former studio based in Dallas, Texas that Romero co-founded in 1996 after leaving id Software. While intended to be an ambitious project, the first-person shooter became infamous for its marketing campaign and disappointing quality after being highly anticipated. Daikatana was delayed over two years past its intended launch date because of development problems and various internal issues at the company, like people leaving the studio, leadership conflicts and millions of dollars in overspending. The studio ended up being shut down in July 2001.

Romero worked at Midway Games in the mid-2000s and recently developed mobile and social games. He was also attached to an unsuccessful Kickstarter for a role-playing game a few years ago. So far this year he developed two new levels for the original Doom for the first time in over 21 years. These two levels were designed to give people an idea of what they could expect in Blackroom.

Watch the original pitch for Blackroom:

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