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Elsinore: Feminist twist on Hamlet hits big as latest Kickstarter game

Elsinore is drawing in waves of support on Kick Starter for its progressive twist on Hamlet.

Elsinore, a “time-looping Shakespearean tragedy,” has been making waves on Kickstarter, easily doubling its goal of $12,000 and proceeding to take on a series of “stretch goals” to enhance the game's overall presentation. Backers met the most recent of these supplementary targets, set at an impressive $23K, on May 20th, allowing Golden Glitch Studios to hire a contract animator to polish up some of the visuals.

Additionally, now over 1000 backers strong as of May 25th, the final game will include alternate costumes for five of the main characters. Overall, Elsinore is looking set for a 2016 release on PC, Mac, and Linux.

feminist video gamesFor those of you who don’t know, Elsinore is an innovative take on Hamlet that gives relevance and agency back to Ophelia, a character once relegated to passive submission in the original play.

After a harrowing vision depicting a massive death toll in Elsinore Castle (basically, the canonical ending of Hamlet), Ophelia is thrown into a four-day time loop in which only her actions and ingenuity can disrupt the cycle of tragedy. Golden Glitch Studios developers gave us a rundown on how Elsinore’s “Gameplay flow” would play out:

“In Elsinore, everyone has their own default schedule and agenda, which they will enact in real time. Claudius is doing king things, Gertrude is doing queen things, Polonius is doing stodgy dad things, and Hamlet is doing things that get everyone killed. Undisturbed, characters will follow the same course of action to the same bloody conclusion every time.

Because you're Ophelia, none of the other characters' grand plans involve you. No one really cares what you do, normally. You can attend whatever events you want, talking to people and gathering information, which you then can present to other people and change their course of action.

...Which usually results in them dying in some other horrific way. But hey, you tried — and when you start over, Ophelia will retain all she learned.”

Writer and Team Lead Katie Chironis recently addressed the project’s commitment to a diverse cast of characters and how they’ve managed to align that decision within a historical context. So far, they’ve confirmed Lady Rosencrantz and Lady Guildenstern, plans to include queer characters, and, perhaps most importantly, Ophelia will be one of several non-white characters!

Elsinore’s Kick Starter run ends tonight, May 26, 2015 at 10:00 PM EDT. Follow the game’s website for further updates.

UPDATE: Elsinore just broke $30K, meaning the game will now include all-new areas and a brand new, top-secret character.

Published May. 26th 2015

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