In 2013, Lionel "Seith" Gallat got our attention with footage of his one-man game, featuring a tiny mouse on a big adventure. Three years later, Ghost of a Tale is a playable Steam early access game, and it's even more impressive.
Ghost of a Tale is a stealth action RPG starring Tilo, a mousey bard in a world populated by animals. The game opens with the miniature minstrel locked in a rat-guarded prison. A mysterious benefactor slips him the key to his cell. Then I squeal for five minutes straight, because look at this mouse. Just look at him.
Look at him!
I'm not generally much for stealth games, but something about this setting and this sort of hero makes it work for me. Mice hide. Mice run. It's what they do. Mice also solve adventure-style problems by carrying stools over to where prison door keys are hanging . Sometimes they throw bottles at rats. It's natural.
Or at least natural in a world that's a bit of Brian Jacques' Redwall series with a little Nimh thrown in. Lionel Gallat, who has worked on various animation products, including serving as animation director on The Lorax and Despicable Me, is basically piping classic 2D animation into a 3D world, and it works very well.
It plays particularly well too. The controls are smooth, the animation is excellent. Directional audio cues strike the perfect balance between menace and utility, helping Tilo avoid the rat guards without diminishing their sinister presence.
All in all it's an outstanding piece of work, especially considering it's been largely a one-man project, with additional assistance on music, story and a little coding.
Ghost of a Tale is now available on Steam early access, where Gallat hopes to continue raising funds necessary to bring the game into the home stretch. The aim is to have a full release for PC and Xbox One later this year.
Proof I made it out of the prison.