Kickstart Your Weekend With 'Lioness'

Experimental adventure game will have you questioning life

Kickstart Your Weekend With 'Lioness'

We don't know a whole helluva lot about Zak Ayles forthcoming project Lionheart Drive (or Lioness). But we like what we see.

In the trailer video on Ayles' Kickstarter campaign, viewers get a barrage of questions about life, the universe, and everything and a tiny teaser of the rotoscope graphics. See for yourself:

You get a little more detail in the project description: It's "an experimental adventure game about human connection."

"The player controls Eggert Kirby, a freelance journalist, as he conducts research for an article about a series of seven mysteriously missing people. Of course, nothing is as it seems and he soon befriends a nicotine addicted cat and unravels a plot involving time-travel, yakuza, and interdimensional coffee."

So that's already pretty mind-boggling, but here's one more cool factoid to throw on top: This project has no stretch goals. The project has almost doubled its original $7,000 goal – it's sitting pretty at $13,657 with 12 days to go – but the creators want to just do the best they can with their original plan, rather than trying to stretch themselves too thin with additional features or promises.

"We disagree with the idea that there's any direct correlation between quality and scope in a project like this. When you force a game or film past its own scope and design it just becomes to cannibalize its own narrative and vision by stretching it until it breaks. … The more money we have, the better we can invest ourselves into pursuing our vision unencumbered."

So this project is happening, whether you like it or not, and if you like it, don't let the far-surpassed goal stop you from donating.


If you're trying to figure out how to build an equally successful crowdfunding campaign and furthermore happen to be in the Houston area this weekend, Platform Houston might be able to help. They're hosting a crowdfunding bootcamp on Saturday, July 27, 8am-10pm, complete with a talk from Rockethub CEO Brian Meece, design and marketing advice from Texas professionals, and more.

The only catch is that tickets are $150 a piece, which may seem like a sum you'd have to crowdfund all its own, which gets into a whole nother slew of meta mess. That said, companies can send a rep of their own, or they can sponsor others who they feel would benefit. Visit Platform Houston's Facebook page for complete details or to stay in the loop for the next event, and report back if you can make it.

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

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More crowdfunding
Burning Down <i>The Barn</i>
Burning Down The Barn
Director Justin Seaman on the joy of rubber and gore

Richard Whittaker, July 14, 2016

Opening the Book on Roller Derby
Opening the Book on Roller Derby
Local photographer Kickstarting history of Texas Rollergirls

Richard Whittaker, June 9, 2016

More by Monica Riese
A Paramount Slate
A Paramount Slate
Paramount and Stateside programming heats up

April 3, 2014

Board Games and More
Board Games and More
Announcements from the Austin Film Society

April 2, 2014


crowdfunding, Kickstarter, Zak Ayles, Lioness, Lionheart Drive, game, rotoscope, Platform Houston

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle