The cult-classic franchise ToeJam and Earl is looking to make a grand return to the funkadelic stage, but it needs the help of longtime fans to do so. Series co-creator Greg Johnson and his indie company HumaNature Studios have launched a Kickstarter campaign designed to bring back the two iconic mascots from the SEGA Genesis days in a new game called Toejam and Earl: Back in the Groove.
To succeed, HumanNature and Johnson need $400,000 to get his franchise rolling again.
Surprise to me though, SEGA does not own the franchise! “Just to be clear,” Johnson says, “Sega doesn’t own it.” I was unaware of that fact. Success does not only mean a revival of the duo on the video game scene but also the opportunity to thrive as a 100 percent indie hit.
As for the game itself, Johnson says he and his team plan to develop it as the true sequel to the original hit. To those who don’t remember or have never played it, ToeJam and Earl was way ahead of its time, a roguelike with randomly generated levels, permadeath, and a whole lot of experimentation, trial and error. Needless to say, it was beyond the grasp of a lot of gamers who were used to just platformers and the occasional RPG, myself included, but it is perfect in this day and age when ideas like these thrive on the indie scene.
Will it be like game one or game two, you ask? Well… (holding breath)… mainly like game one. We plan to go old school with this one. Fixed isometric camera, 2D sprites, simple controls, and an emphasis on coop play. It will also pull in some of the more beloved elements from game two, AND we have a list of exciting new gameplay elements planned as well.
The re-designed artwork also finds a wonderful middle ground between the classic sprites of the original and the more free-flowing hand-drawn style used in HumanNature’s last indie game, Doki-Doki Universe. I approve!
Give the pitch a listen, if not for the game, just to appreciate Greg Johnson’s amazing and “totally authentic” Scottish accent. We’ve seen plenty of other cult-classic franchises like Boogerman try to find second life on Kickstarter but ultimately fail to inspire the necessary nostlagia. ToeJam and Earl is different though, and I hope we all can see the value in and pray it succeeds.
It currently sits at $122,000 as of this writing, so hopefully the pace will continue throughout the month. USGamer and Polygon also have excellent write-ups and interviews with Johnson and crew about the franchise, so be sure to check those out if you need extra convincing.