A Hat in Time is an independent game in development by Gears for Breakfast and recently finished a successful round of funding on popular crowd-funding website, Kickstarter. The game, a 3D platformer that harkens back to the genre’s golden N64 era, earned itself $296,350 – miles ahead of its initial funding goal of $30,000.
Players will assume control of Hat Kid, a time traveler who dons a striking purple top hat. Hat Kid is tasked with tracking down the nefarious Mustache Girl. This mission has her traveling to a variety of worlds, including a city overrun with bullies in the form Russian Mafia chefs. If it all sounds a bit silly, that’s because the game doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The game features a charming visual style not unlike The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. In fact, the game takes a lot of inspiration from the Zelda series, as well as older 3D platforming games – from its set of attack moves to the over-world hub that acts as a conduit to levels. Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64 and Banjo Kazooie were some of the examples cited as inspiration. “Since we’re inspired by lots of Nintendo games it felt right to follow the same path they did with lots of colour and vibrancy,” said William Nicholls, Lead Enviornment Artist, in an email interview.
The project started in August 2012 between Jonas Kaerlev, Vincent Vazquez and Trey Brown, a group of Source Engine modders. “It started off as a hack and slash game,” Nicholls recalls, “but Jonas later discovered platforming was more fun and so the game changed direction and grew from there.”
The team, who now operate under the Gears for Breakfast title, has no official home — the group is spread across several continents. With members located in Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States development progresses around the clock. Nicholls devotes all his time to the game but not all the members of Gears for Breakfast are full-time game developers. “Some are students, others are working fulltime,” he said. “We’re a mix of talent with different backgrounds.”
That’s a good thing, too. The massive success of their funding campaign has put a considerable amount of new work on the table, which requires a variety of talent and time.
A Hat in Time hit all of its additional stretch goals. Among them were promises of co-op play, full voice acting, additional levels, and commissioning the composer of Banjo Kazooie, Grant Kirkhope, for seven original songs.
Gears for Breakfast will now continue to work on A Hat in Time with a clearer plan and the money to fund it. The game is currently up for vote on Steam Greenlight, an opportunity that may see the game sold through Steam. An independent purchasing system through the team behind Humble Bundle is also in the works.
When asked of any potential publishing deals, Nicholls said “We want to stay independent but we’re discussing deals with several publishers.” He added nothing had been agreed upon, but the team would be interested if it were the best decision for the game. Earlier in the Kickstarter campaign, it had been suggested the game might end up on the Wii U platform, before the team expressed they did not have any such plans in place at that time.