Author Neil Gaiman – the man behind D.C. Comics’ legendary Sandman graphic novel series, novels like American Gods (favored recently by our own Joseph Keller), Stardust and Anansi Boys, the motion picture Coraline and much more – is stepping into video games for the first time with a title called Wayward Manor. It’s planned for release on OS X and Windows this December, with a tablet release to follow. You can preorder it now for $10, though you can spend a lot more, too.
If you’re familiar with Gaiman’s oeuvre, you know that he loves the macabre, the offbeat and the fantastic. As Gaiman describes the plot of Wayward Manor in a video posted to YouTube, this game will fit in well: You play as the ghostly inhabitant of a haunted manor in New England in the 1920s, and your goal is to drive the living residents of the house away by terrifying them.
Gaiman is collaborating with The Odd Gentlemen, a development studio based in Los Angeles. The Odd Gentlemen’s portfolio includes Majesco’s 2012 iOS release Maestro Piccolo’s Flea Symphony, a music puzzle game, and The Misadventures of P.B. Winterbottom, a well-received puzzle platformer available on Xbox Live Arcade and Steam.
In an interesting twist, Gaiman and The Odd Gentlemen are encouraging people interested in the game to pre-order it now, and depending on how much you kick in, you’ll be rewarded with progressively more stuff, from the mild to wild, a bit like the “stretch goals” you see in projects on Kickstarter and similar crowfunding sites. At the low end, $10 gets you a download of the game and early access to a music track from the soundtrack; $10,000 gets you dinner with Neil Gaiman (and up to nine other well-heeled fans) at a venue in Los Angeles some time in 2014.