Failsafe is a canceled parkour adventure game developed from 2014 to 2016 by Game Over LLC, planned to be released on PC first, then could also have been released on Xbox One and Playstation 4.
Failsafe followed Isra and XJ, her robot companion, as she accompanied her uncle on a journey outside of their village set on a wasteland of a planet.
The game was first mentionned in December 2014 on the official Twitter account of its developer as Project Johannesburg, before an early build was shown at the Penny Arcade Expo East in March 2015. Two months later, Polygon interviewed Daniel Lisi, managing director of Game Over LLC:
Failsafe is a first-person adventure puzzle game starring a young girl named Isra (voiced by Ashly Burch) and her robot companion (voiced by Dante Basco). The game, which poet Beau Sia and former Gearbox writer Anthony Burch are penning together, takes place in the distant future, where Isra is charged with completing a sacred ritual. Much of the game’s narrative will be driven by the development between Basco and Burch’s characters, Lisi said.
During the brief interview with Polygon, Lisi and creative director Seiji Tanaka — who previously worked on thatgamecompany‘s Journey — said that the game is intended to be simple, but also emotionally complex. Although Anthony Burch’s work has primarily been more comedy focused, as in Borderlands 2, Lisi said Failsafe will explore something more serious in terms of its tone. Isra and the Bot find themselves trapped within an ancient underground facility. Although the two are natural enemies, they must learn to overcome their differences and work together.
“As they travel through this treacherous environment together, they realize that the roles they’ve been given are not really how they want to be toward each other,” Lisi said.
Tanaka said that much of Failsafe’s gameplay will revolve around mastering and combining the capabilities of the girl and her robot. He compares it to games like Ico and The Talos Principle, with a bit of Portal and Mirror’s Edge mixed in.
“It’s really about understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each character,” Tanaka said. “Isra is a very capable acrobat. She can run really fast, jump really high and climb onto ledges very quickly, but she just doesn’t have the understanding of the environment she’s in, where the robot is very capable as an interfacing to the world around him.
“But it’s kind impeded by a lot of physical obstacles that he just can’t get across because of his physicality. It’s about understanding how these two can interact to enable each as a unit.”
Failsafe is currently being developed for PC platforms and “possibly PlayStation 4,” Lisi said. The studio expects to release it in summer 2016.
In November 2015, the project was launched on Kickstarter. Here was what we could read:
UPDATE: The game now features both 1st and 3rd person camera!
This game has transformed considerably since its initial conception in December 2014, with its parkour mechanics taking center stage in terms of gameplay. Our goal is to provide huge, sprawling environments for the player to explore using dynamic parkour to navigate the remains of a mysterious civilization. The game plays like the better parts of Mirror’s Edge, with some pivotal refinements on the movement systems. Narratively, the player will be immersed in a world built by the relationship between Isra (Ashly Burch) and the Robot (Dante Basco).
- Intuitive Parkour System – All you need to remember is one button to perform a complex sequence of parkour moves such as wall-running, wall-jumping, sliding, and vaulting.
- Grappling Hook – Swing and sling yourself to incredible heights and distances by mastering the versatile, physics based grappling hook system.
- Multiple Perspectives: The game can be played in either a 1st-person or 3rd person view
- Expansive Levels – Find unique, creative ways to reach your goals by taking advantage of the intricate architecture in the world.
- Robot Companion – The Robot will follow you through your journey, granting you access to the ancient technology that permeates this forgotten world… if you ask nicely.
- Secrets – Explore all the nooks and crannies to discover the hidden areas that are only accessible by performing challenging maneuvers.
In a small, remote village, on a wasteland of a planet, lives a young girl named Isra. Raised to one day lead her people, she longs instead to follow her uncle’s path and explore the world beyond the safety of their village. As another cycle ends, she convinces him to bring her along on his journey. He has agreed to take Isra to the place where he must travel every cycle in order for their people to survive: The Forgotten.
Progress + Status
The game is in an alpha state, and we’ve been publicly showcasing builds of the project at conferences and festivals. We intend for the game to be released first on PC, Mac, and Linux with intentions to release on PS4 + Xbox One pending console arrangements.
We’re projecting that the project will reach its completion stage summer of 2016.
A bulk of our development time has gone toward creating the complex first person parkour mechanics of the game, and creating animations via inverse kinematics to make the visual cues of each movement as articulate as possible to emphasize the player’s movements and mitigate disorientation through fast paced, first person movements.
The big task ahead is finishing the levels that will comprise of Failsafe’s main campaign. The $80,000 goal will provide the team with the final resources it needs to complete the game on our schedule.
Unfortunately, the campaign didn’t reach its goal, collecting a total of 37,108$ on a sum of 80,000$:
1,347 people and nearly halfway to our goal. Failure is, of course, a challenging thing, but it isn’t a defining thing. We’ve learned a tremendous amount from this month long experience, and we’re pretty stoked to know what we know now and apply it to our future works.
Failsafe is still getting made. We’ll continue posting updates about the game on Twitter, on the Game Over website, and on the Failsafe website.
However, in the following months, updates regarding Failsafe slowly decreased until its last one back in August 2016, again, on the official Twitter account of the game. Websites, for both the title and Game Over LLC, appeared to be down. We can speculate that something didn’t work as planned and Failsafe was ultimately canceled, alongside the disappearance of Game Over LLC. According to his LinkedIn profile, Daniel Lisi left Game Over in January 2016, just after the end of the crowdfunding campaign.
Failsafe seemed to have a lot of potential and the developers had put the means into it. Unfortunately, the world of crowdfunding can sometimes be brutal.