Musician Francis Vendetti is desperate to escape from the lingering shadow of his dead folk legend uncle Johnson Vendetti. With his first gig only one night away, Francis embarks on a multidimensional journey to create a new stage persona, and explore the cosmic wanderings of his own imagination. That’s the premise behind The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti, the bizarre new crowdfunding project from Aussie studio Beethoven & Dinosaur, that’s in development for both PC and MAC.

francis02The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti is described as a “narrative-driven action/adventure, music-sampling, platforming, rhythm laser-light guitar solo kind of game”. Dialogue choices shape the story and the outcome of Francis’s new stage persona. Francis possesses some sweet moves. Throughout the game, he double jumps, climbs mountains, evades stampeding beasts and kicks up dust on moonscapes. There doesn’t appear to be any combat. Instead, Francis possesses a music sampler to record sounds from within the environment, which he then plays back to warn off attacks and gain access to new areas. Most importantly, Francis can use his power of charisma to detonate pyrotechnics as they arc across the stage.

David Bowie’s androgynous sci-fi characters, Andy Warhol’s cultural hub and Daft Punk’s faceless robots are all cited as inspiration for the game. I can’t begin to fathom what this will result in, although it sounds batshit crazy and I love it! The development team consists of some serious musical talent. Johnny Galvatron once sang Toto on live television and Josh Abrahams worked closely with Baz Luhrmann on Moulin Rouge. Playing the famous uncle Johnson Vendetti, is Australian artist Luke Legs, who has gained a cult following for his folk music and storytelling. There is a lot to be said for the musicians involved, although there is very little information available about those working specifically on the game design.

Beethoven & Dinosaur are seeking AUS$50,000 to fund their game. With just over 20 days remaining as of this post, they require another $34,000 to reach their goal. Contributing $20 will get you a digital copy of the game, while forking out some extra cash will net you some appropriate merchandise. The $98 pledge contains a vinyl soundtrack or a t shirt, unfortunately not both (I hate choices – Ed). If you have a spare $2000, you can purchase a Francis Vendetti costume, so you can become an awe-inspiring entertainer from beyond the stars. Pyrotechnics sadly are not included, but if the game reaches its goal, who knows what might happen.

The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti hits all the right notes. It features enough creativity and originality to pique my interest. I especially like that it’s a genre mash up of platforming, music and narrative. Having Francis use music recorded in game to unlock new areas even sounds a little Metroidvania. I will be following the game’s progress with great interest. You can learn more about the project here.

Michael vane is a freelance writer who doesn’t have a musical bone in his body. You can follow him on Twitter @DrVane

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