The Patchwork Girl of Oz

Dear Insane Children, 

Well… here we go again… maybe? 

We’ve been throwing around a couple of ideas to form the foundation for new exploration inside the world of The Books of Oz (14 full-length Oz books written by L. Frank Baum). 

Jen turned in this sketch (main image, above) of a Dorothy (-type) character. I just wanted to post it here on Patreon as a historical marker for when all this started up (again).

As many of you know, this will be my THIRD attempt to make something successful happen with Oz. The first time was right after the first “Alice” game shipped – back in 2000 with funding from what was then known as Atari-Infogrames. That project, simply named “American McGee’s Oz,” died a year after it started when Atari went bankrupt. 

Sad situation… we had a great team. And a beautiful game running on Xbox… 

That was the first project on which Ken Wong and I worked together. Do you recognize his style in these drawings? 

The second Oz project happened a few years back at Spicy Horse. “OZombie” was a poorly named attempt to create a steampunk version of the world and have the hero fight against a Scarecrow villain obsessed with brains… 

We tried to Kickstart that project and it died before it ever began. 

I think the story and the name were too confusing. The art didn’t appeal. Anyway, leave it resting in peace. And lesson learned: Don’t put “zombie” in the names of our projects! 

Third Time A Charm

One of the major reasons we’re putting effort into building a mini pitch document around Oz is that our Financial Advisor has advised us to do so. He says that we’ll stand a better chance of getting something funded (when he goes out to source money for us) if we’re pitching more than one thing. So… we’ll put together a 3~4 page creative brief around a new Oz. And probably one more concept… still trying to decide what that might be. 

But enough of you made enough noise around “Oz” that it’s clear we need to include it in the Pile O’ Pitches. 

The story this time around… 

We are literally just starting. But, as an exmplae, Jen and I have bounced around one concept which would see The Land of Oz transformed into a sort of Jurassic Park type place/experience. But one that’s already gone horribly wrong and been abandoned.  We’d mingle technology with magic to create a sort of “Westworld meets Harry Potter” … anyway, it’s one idea among many to come. 

So many questions to answer: Who is our hero? What’s the setting in time? Is “Oz” a real place – an imagined place – or a simulated (real) place? What’s the thing about Oz that makes it uniquely suited to solving our hero’s problem? And what’s our hero’s problem?

As we sift through these questions and shape the answers into something more concrete, I hope you’ll join us with YOUR ideas and feedback. That’s what Crowd Design is all about!

 No Escape from The Asylum 

At the same time, we’ll continue our work on the story and design for Asylum. We’re currently sketching (literally) the content for The Chess Realm. So expect to see some narrative, design, and art updates on that over the coming weeks. 

The sketch (above) from Omri is one that explores the layout of the Realm and how we might enter then navigate it. Interesting stuff! 

Let us know in the comments below what you think of all of this. Do you have preferences on answers to those Oz questions I listed above? We’d love to hear from you!

From Shanghai Where It’s HOT,


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