Adding to the growing flow of classic franchises looking to make a return via crowd funding is the Amiga and Genesis classic series, James Pond. After three adventures on Sega’s 16-bit machine and a few odd appearances afterward, the fishy hero all but disappeared for two decades. It was assumed that he would never be seen again.
Now, Gameware Europe is looking for £100,000 to bring back the character that creator Chris Sorrell gave life to when he was only 18. Slated for PC and Mac (and hopefully Steam as well), the game is poised to be a modern take on a classic franchise, bringing back all the things that made the James Pond series so popular but adding in the benefits of current hardware. Sorrell is creating a high end concept document and is quite active in the Kickststarter campaign, and other members of the series’ Millennium team are involved (with the exception of Richard Joseph, who sadly passed away in 2007. His classic Pond themes will be used, however), and the rights to the franchise have already been secured. Gameware turned to Kickstarter because talks with potential publishers always involved giving up the intellectual property, which was not acceptable.
As with most Kickstarter game campaigns, backers will be allowed to participate to an extent in the design process, offering suggestions about gameplay and even what name to give the new game. Stretch goals include bringing the new installment to consoles, getting Sorrell aboard completely as the creative lead, and adding new gadgets, enemies and stages to the game. The classic McVitie’s Penguin Biscuit penguins, which were part of a product placement campaign in James Pond II: RoboCod, may even make a return if enough people contribute. It would seem that Gameware is determined to keep the series well-rooted in the platforming gameplay that made it so popular.
“We want to bring back Pond for the things you loved about it, and that includes retro gaming features. We’re talking about boss levels (that are tricky to beat!) high scores, Easter eggs, cheat codes and above all a focus on playability.”
Poised for a November 2014 release, the new James Pond game seems to have all the necessary ingredients for bringing back the franchise correctly. Now, it falls to fans to show just how much they want to take on another Pond adventure. Head over to the game’s Kickstarter page to see the reward tiers and stretch goals, and decide if you want to help bring back the famous fish.