A feature-length documentary about Dark Presence — an arcade game nearly three decades in the making — might very well release before the game itself.
For those not in the know, Dark Presence is an ambitious one-on-one fighting game utilizing digitized human actors as in-game sprites, much like the original Mortal Kombat trilogy before it. The title has been in the public consciousness since at least 2008, recently resurfacing when the two cabinet variants were unveiled.
The new documentary, Ghostlord and the Quest for Dark Presence, is directed by Craig Bass and produced by Lydia Koranda of video production company Motion Source. Besides game creator Doc Mack himself, other arcade industry icons featured in the film include Q*bert designer Jeff Lee, Game Refuge owner Brian Colin, and Insert Coin director Joshua Tsui.
Developed by Galloping Ghost productions — the in-house game development arm of the Galloping Ghost Arcade — the history of Dark Presence is a notably long one, and this documentary marks the first time it’ll be tracked in its entirety. Something tells me there’s a lot left to learn beyond what various blogs have posted throughout the years.
Right now, our deepest insight into the film comes from the teaser trailer, ceremoniously showcased shortly before last week’s “Monday Mystery Game” reveal at the Galloping Ghost Arcade. In it, we see a much younger Doc Mack in the early stages of creation with his combat-loving cohorts, and boy, is that ever a joy.
A bevy of behind-the-scenes photos can also be found on the documentary’s official website, where a recent television production graduate such as myself can have an absolute field day. Seeing the process behind a project of this stature, centered on a topic I hold so near and dear, does wonders to inspire my own artistic endeavors.
The Kickstarter campaign for Ghostlord and the Quest for Dark Presence is now live if you feel so inclined to back it. Now that I have a full-time job — something which has dramatically improved my ability to directly support ideas I love — I might pick a tier myself.
Coincidentally, I happened to be at the Galloping Ghost with my girlfriend when the teaser trailer first dropped, and it’s not an exaggeration to say excitement was truly abuzz that evening. Fans such as myself have been eagerly anticipating more Dark Presence content for…well, literal decades apparently.
In fact, when Dark Presence is eventually released, it will presumably overtake both Duke Nukem Forever and Beyond Good & Evil 2 as the Guinness World record holders for the longest game development cycles. I, for one, think that’s more than worthy of bragging rights.
Provided I have enough free time outside of work, I’ll try to keep y’all posted on this one. Goodness knows I’m looking forward to more.