Ghost of a Tale: epic mouse adventures

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Outside of Disney and Mickey, mice don’t tend to feature often as protagonists in games. Sure, there’s been hedgehogs, monkeys, ducks, and all manner of other famous game characters. There’s plenty of other media that have heroic mice: Dangermouse, An American TailThe Secret Of Nimh. And those are just the cartoons! But sometime soon, you’ll be able to play as a heroic little mouse. And how pretty the game will be!

Ghost of a Tale follows Tilo, a courageous mouse and minstrel on a perilous adventure. The game is mostly being developed by one person, Seith, with a little help from his friends.

It will be released in 2015 on Windows PCs and Xbox One.

Ghost of a Tale is a narrative-led action RPG with a strong emphasis on stealth and cunning over fighting. As a mouse, you’re up against creatures that are bigger and stronger than you. Rats, frogs, crabs, badgers, hawks, spiders, leeches, magpies and various undead creatures stand against you and pretty much the only advantage you might have is speed and agility, plus a few tools you find along the way, of course! The game takes strong influences from the likes of the Zelda series, Ico, Dark Souls and other hardcore action RPGs.

Game-wise the inspirations could be found in the early “Zelda” games, “Ico“, the “Gothic” series and “Dark Souls“. Of course those are mere inspirations; this project can obviously not expect to compete on equal footing with those amazing games.

– Seith explaining the project on indiegogo.

Created by Lionel “Seith” Gallat, a French CG artist with a huge list of stellar references from the likes of DreamWorks and Universal Studios, with big budget animated features like Shark’s Tale, The Lorax and Despicable Me under his belt, it’s an impressive feat to have done so much with such an amazing concept pretty much alone. Fans rallied to help when a campaign ran on indiegogo, giving the project a much needed boost of €48,700.

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The game may have been quite a long time in development, but things are slowly coming together, and the regular blog updates show off the progress as well as give an insight into the process of creating the game. You can see every meticulous detail come to life, like the grass textures taken from real grass clumps photographed and digitised.

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Seeing the art style and the perspective of the game, I can’t help reminisce about the Redwall novels by Brian Jacques. Which isn’t too much of a coincidence, because Seith calls the Redwall novels one of his big influences in creating the game, along with a list of classic animation and art any self-respecting geek will recognise.

Among the inspirations I could quote Disney’s “Robin Hood“, the fables of La Fontaine, “Redwall“, “Winnie the Pooh“, “The Secret of Nimh“, “The Dark Crystal“, the paintings of Alan Lee, John Howe, Paul Bonner, John Bauer, and many, many others…

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My take

Seriously, this game deserves so much more coverage than it does, not just because it’s an amazing labour of love by one man, but because it’s a brilliant idea that I’m genuinely surprised hasn’t already been tried before. There does seem to be an official Redwall game in the works, but little to no news or coverage is forthcoming so it’s hard to tell if it’s still even in production.

After a bit of a delay, Ghost of a Tale is hopefully out near the end of this year, on PC formats and Xbox One.

What do you think of Ghost of a Tale? Would you play a game with a mouse as the hero?

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About Dan Morse

From the Atari 2600 right through to bleeding fast PCs, Dan's played on them all. One thing that's never changed is an unwavering passion for video games. Twitter: @happydan | Steam: happydan | GOG: happydan