Now that was an amazing 8 months! Over 3,000 fans supported our Wayward Manor presale, far surpassing our wildest dreams. Everyone involved with the project, from Neil Gaiman to The Odd Gentlemen to Moonshark, appreciates your support, and we're excited to release the game on July 15th, 2014.
Once we have an official release date for Wayward Manor, we'll send an email update to everyone who purchased an item in the presale. The digital copy, Steam key, and soundtrack will all be delivered by email. If you purchased the physical copy of the game, please allow 3-4 weeks after the digital release for the item to arrive.
If you still haven't received any other items from a package you purchased during the presale, contact Topspin Customer Support.
In the interim, if you'd still like to preorder Wayward Manor, as well as support a variety of charities, the game is available on the Humble Bundle Store.
It's been a long journey, from the initial announcement last July to today's exciting news. After the rarified success of the presale, we've been hard at work throughout 2014 to build on the initial scope of the release. The immensely talented developers, The Odd Gentlemen, have spent countless hours crafting each level with care and precision. Although it was a difficult decision to delay the release of the game, we did it with the knowledge that we were creating an even more immersive, enjoyable experience for amazing fans like yourself. Because, hey, you deserve the best, as your enthusiasm for Neil's first game has only been outdone by your patience. Now, it's time to reward your forbearance and open the doors for haunting.
Wayward Manor will be released on July 15th. The game will be available on Steam for PC and Mac. If you haven't yet preordered the title, buy it on The Humble Store, where 10% of the proceeds go to charity.
For anyone that preordered Wayward Manor from WhoHauntsNeil.com, the digital copy will be delivered on 7/15, as well as the original soundtrack (for those that purchased it.) If you preordered the physical copy, then please allow 3 weeks for delivery of the custom USB drive, kiss cut sticker sheet and deluxe box.
While you anxiously await the game's release, keep up-to-date on all Wayward Manor coverage. For news, screenshots, and other assorted teaser goodies, please like the official Wayward Manor Facebook page and follow The Odd Gentlemen's Tumblr. And of course, if you're not already following the venerable Neil Gaiman on Twitter, then you're missing out on daily musings from the mastermind of Wayward Manor.
We'll see you soon!
Today is a good day at Wayward Manor.
First and foremost, we have a trailer! That's right, folks: after months of 2D introductions, here's all of your favorite Wayward Manor characters in the virtual flesh. Check out the Budds, the Goon and a slew of other characters as we get our first look at Wayward Manor. Seems like a nice place to live, eh?
Also, we're proud to announce today that Wayward Manor is coming to Steam! Now we're not sure about any club that lets crazies like us join, but we simply can't control our elation about being a part of the largest PC/Mac distribution platform in the world! Here's the best news for Wayward Manor fans: if you've pre-ordered the game already, you will receive a free Steam key! Haven't joined the fun yet? Pre-order Wayward Manor now and you'll join the 2,300+ fans who'll get a free Steam key once the game's released.
Whew — that's enough excitement for one day! Let us know your own reaction to today's trailer and Steam announcement on Twitter & Facebook! And if any of your friends have been living in a cave with their fingers in their ears for the past few months, make sure to tell them about WhoHauntsNeil.com.
We've spent a lot of time telling you about the kaleidoscopic cast of Wayward Manor, from batty mothers to spoiled brats to ominous butlers. But we've neglected to focus on perhaps the most important character: you. After all, as Neil states in today's video, you're the protagonist. So what have we learned so far about our hero?
1. You're a ghost.
2. You're on a mission.
3. You're trying to rid Wayward Manor of all intruders and reclaim your home.
Sounds like a cut-and-dried task. But can it be all so simple? Perhaps there's more to your quest. Maybe you'd like to find out who, ahem, killed you. Some might say that's an even greater problem to solve than scaring one measly family. Of course, we suppose the two issues could be connected...
If you've learned anything about the Budd Family thus far, it's that their collective mental health is in question. Between sugar-fueled temper tantrums, malevolent pranks, and fashion-related anxiety, the Budds have enough screws missing to warrant a family field trip to the loony bin. Luckily for them (and the rest of the world), they have a caretaker: Toombs.
Dutifully serving as their butler, Toombs is unflappable. He's a man who knows the ins and the outs of Wayward Manor, viewing the home of his masters as his own blissful residence. But don't mistake his servitude for naivety. No, there's another side to him that no one alive's seen. As Neil alludes to in today's video, perhaps Toombs is more experienced in the world's evils than one might think.
For many, the 1920s were a time of prosperity, bob cuts and marathon dancing. For a certain ghost, however, it was a time of revenge.
Although it's hard to imagine Neil Gaiman doing the Charleston or the Cake Walk, it's easy to see how he'd be drawn to the romanticism of the Roaring Twenties. Or rather, the darkness lingering underneath a supposedly joyous time. After all, the flip side of the so-called Jazz Age was crime, prohibition and economic depression, or what we like to call a "bummer sandwich."
Perhaps then it's fitting the tale of Wayward Manor begins during such a tumultuous era, following a family that seems gleefully unaware of the revolution going on around them. Yes, the Budds have chosen to remove themselves from the noise of the times by moving into the secluded confines of Wayward Manor. Well, at least that's what they thought.
Someone once told us that children are little bundles of joy, capable of bringing light to an otherwise dull day. We don't remember who this someone was, but it's clear they never met The Brat.
Hubert Budd may light up your day, but it'll come from a well-placed firecracker in your favorite vase. The oldest of the Budd offspring, he relishes destruction like a dog relishes a mailman. A pyromaniac and a fledgling sociopath, Hubert is a nearly uncontrollable variable in the world of Wayward Manor.
As today's video shows, a brat like this can irk even a world-famous author like Neil Gaiman. But if Neil warns you that someone is trouble, then perhaps you should heed his advice. Luckily, Hubert is not someone you're babysitting; no, he's a nuisance, and a particularly dangerous one at that. Ultimately, some nuisances mustn't be ignored, but dealt with.
Since we're a demanding species, we expect a lot from our favorite authors. We want them to explore the human condition, illuminate unseen conflicts and thrill us with their words. Generally, we don't ask them to take their talents to the world of gaming.
Perhaps that's what makes Neil Gaiman's involvement in Wayward Manor so fascinating. While some authors may have balked at this unorthodox avenue of storytelling (we're looking at you, Proust), Neil decided it wouldn't be too overwhelming of an endeavor. Our video today proves that while it may seem like a crazy idea for an author to create a game, it's actually a process of glorious madness.
After all, it's just a simple game of table tennis.
Wayward Manor's inhabitants are, for the most part, not exactly blessed with grace. You've probably picked up on the Budd family's alarming lack of virtue, but they aren't the only vile bodies traipsing around the house. No, there's another sinister force lurking in the shadows, set on plundering the supposed riches in the attic.
A small-time gangster in his own eyes, an oafish goon to everyone else, Benny "The Bull" Kubelsky finds himself drawn to Wayward Manor by the promise of gold. But as Neil Gaiman alludes to in today's video, perhaps his love of treasure is only matched by his hatred of a certain hue.
Chuck BB is the artist behind the distinctive look of Wayward Manor's wicked troupe. He won an Eisner Award in 2008 for Black Metal, as successful of a fusion of heavy metal and comics as you'll ever come across. Graciously, he took time away from drawing the most hardcore illustrations ever to talk about his experiences with Wayward Manor. As you'll see, epic would be a fitting adjective to describe our chat with Chuck.
How did your involvement with Wayward Manor come about?
I had worked with these really strange Gentlemen once before on their game, Flea Symphony. Lindsey [Rostal] and Matt [Korba] hit me up and asked if I'd like to take a swing at designing characters for a top secret endeavor codenamed "Project Ghost." It sounded like a pleasantly spooky opportunity, so I met with the team, and they had me play a version of the game with what amounted to a sheet of paper and Legos. I wasn't sure what to expect at first, but in a moment I picked it up and could see the game coming from death to corporeal life in front of my eyes! It was a blast, and I just had to be a part of bringing this fantastic game into reality. They also informed me that Neil was involved, so that was obviously exciting. Had I not signed on, I'm sure it would have haunted me forever.
Were you given any initial creative direction from The Odd Gentlemen?
While the gentlemen are odd, they are not without their wits. They absolutely had ideas and were no slouches about sharing them. They had certain references, and notes on style that they wanted to try out but I was given a lot of freedom to bring my own inspirations and style to the characters. It was very much a collaboration, as we tried out a lot of things and the stuff that worked stuck. The stuff that didn't make the cut? Check under the floorboards.
How many stabs did you take at creating the look of each character before settling on a final iteration?
Oh, that varied from character to character: some were pretty quick, while others took multiple trips back to the board on which I draw. The most important thing was getting the first character's body type figured out, as it would prove to be a template (of sort) for the rest of the characters. The first character was the Butler, who started off somewhat squat, then had an iteration of being tall and lanky, and ultimately became squat once more, but with that much more potato-like build that we know and love today. Beyond that, I would typically throw out a handful of loose sketches of each character, and we'd pick and choose different features that rang true and piece them together into the final versions.
Where'd the delightfully offputting stubby legs and oval bodies look come from?
I think that body type came just from that initial exploration with the Butler. We ran through all sorts of sizes: short legs, long legs, squat, tall, tubby, cute, hyper-realistic. You name it, he's been it. I think we settled on the final "potato-like" body type because it is off-putting and inhuman, but also fairly cute in a morbid sort of way. It's also just so damn adorable when that body-type jumps up in fear, with their squat legs popping out on all sides.
Where'd you draw your inspiration for these characters from?
When I heard the initial pitch, I couldn't help but have images of the original 60s artwork from Disney's Haunted Mansion float through my head. That turn of the century architecture, fashion, and those pasty sunken eye types. For costuming, I definitely went to Dark Shadows (the show, not the film). The Weirdo Gentle-dudes also had a lot of input, and gave me enough direction, but not so much to cloud my own vision. Plus, it helps having characters written by Neil Gaiman to draw inspiration from.
As monstrous as these characters may act, there's still a recognizable humanity in your drawings. How'd you keep the Budds from looking too grotesque?
I think it is really a balance of some ugly lovecraftian features and some cute features. It may also have to do with them all having these large eyes, perfect for emoting. I'm sure if they hopped off the screen and transformed into real world flesh and bone, they would be the most hideous things you've ever seen. But for now, in their stylized state they seem to keep an inkling of humanity. Let us pray they remain that way.
Do these characters share any DNA with some of your past creations (particularly, Black Metal)?
I hadn't yet thought about this, but both the Brothers Stronghand from Black Metal and the people of Wayward Manor do dabble in the world of the occult. They do seem to share a devious features as well, especially with some of the more mischievous Wayward characters. I'm sure it is hard to shake your own DNA from your own work, so I'd have to imagine there is a little devil-worshipping headbanging record-collecting hesher in the blood work of the Wayward folks.
What's it like to see your illustrations rendered as 3D characters?
Now we are talking! It's amazing! It's really a first for me! Seeing the characters animated, bouncing around, getting frightened— it's truly fantastic. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about having their illustrations realized in three dimensions! But seriously, it is very exciting and special; it's been a great project to be involved with and I've enjoyed every part of it. I've seen a handful of my designs animated and dancing around on screen, but like most of you, I'm even more excited to get the opportunity to play with those characters and spook the living HELL out of them!
When Wayward Manor is released this holiday season, you'll be able to see Chuck's drawings come to life. If you love this selection of sketches, you'll find even more early iterations of the game's cast in the Digital Art Book. For those who crave elegant, colorful reproductions of Chuck's illustrated Wayward Manor drawings, we suggest checking out the Lithograph Set. There's less than 100 of these signed collections left!
There’s something to be said for shrouding endeavors in mystery, but some of you might desire proper context for what you’re looking at. Based on an original tale by Neil Gaiman, Wayward Manor is a new game for PC, Mac and tablets, due to be released July 15th, 2014.
Set in a 1920s Victorian Gothic pastoral estate, Wayward Manor focuses on the plight of a ghost whose hope of a peaceful after-life is interrupted by a remarkable cast of intruders. Awoken from his post-mortem slumbers, our ghost must find ever-more inventive and brilliant ways to scare them away. As the ghost learns more about the living characters, he also learns more about his own death and after-life, and the danger they are all facing.
Wayward Manor has been crafted through a collaborative effort of:
NEIL GAIMAN is…well, you probably already know who he is. Best-selling author, world-renowned thinker, wearer of black apparel. He is the recipient of numerous literary honors, including the Locus and Hugo Awards and the Newbery and Carnegie Medals. His past works include The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, American Gods, The Sandman series of graphic novels, and Coraline, just to name a select few.
THE ODD GENTLEMEN is an award winning independent video game studio based in Los Angeles, California. Debuting with The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, and most recently releasing the Apple Editor's Choice Game, Flea Symphony, the studio strives to master unique and memorable gaming experiences. Purveyors of fine video gaming, they focus on games that are humorous and charming with fantastical worlds, quirky characters, and compelling stories that highlight creative and innovative gameplay.
MOONSHARK is a mobile game publisher start-up, co-founded by Creative Artists Agency (CAA), the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency. Their previous titles include Stan Lee’s Verticus and DancePad, released with Jennifer Lopez. Moonshark™ funds, produces, markets and publishes app concepts developed in partnership with creative talent and independent developers. Once they find a fourth team member, they’ll thankfully have enough to form a curling team.