Kickstart Your Weekend: 'Laika Believes'

New Minicore Studios project gives space-bound dog another life

Laika Believes
Laika Believes

UPDATE: Minicore was able to secure a large portion of funds for this project through private investors, so they've relaunched their campaign with a much smaller goal. Find the new campaign here.

They say it's just cats that have nine lives, but one lucky Russian dog is getting a second chance in a new project by Austin-based Minicore Studios.

Laika (Russian for "barker) was launched into space on Sputnik 2 in 1957, as one of the first animals in space. Unfortunately, she died within hours of launch, likely overheated, despite decades of misreporting her cause of death as suffocation or euthanasia. It's an incredibly sad story – doubly so if you're a dog lover – and the folks at Minicore wanted to give her a new life.

In Laika Believes: The Sun at Night, Laika returns from her journey with a bionic suit of sorts to find the world completely changed from how she left it, and she must rely on her weaponry and wit to protect other lives from being destroyed by the Soviets.

So clearly they've got a powerful narrative to work from, but what about the tech? We'll confess to getting a little lost at "raw nano machines," but with expandable maps and upgradeable weapons packs, it's a totally full-featured game, and they're hoping to launch on four or five platforms, with plans in the works for an additional three.

But that's getting ahead a little bit. Now two years into development, the Minicore team is super proud of their project and its beautiful 2-D art style, but they need your help to finish the game – plus, they can get feedback from you, the players, before they totally finish production. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise $100,000 for finishing costs, and they're a little over 10% of the way there with almost three weeks to go. If you're able to contribute, there are copies of the game, silkscreened posters, and art books in it for you, plus the warm, fuzzy feeling of helping a young street pup get her life back.

Watch the pitch video below for words from the production team, plus a sneak peek at some of the gameplay.

Kickstart Your Weekend is a series intended to showcase Texas film and tech projects that are crowdfunding their way to a goal, be it distribution, a prototype, or production costs. If you have a project that we should know about, email us at

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