A Virtual World for Jane Austen Fans Just Raised $100K on Kickstarter


Jane Austen’s long dead, but that doesn’t keep her most obsessive fans from supporting an entire cottage industry around her works. But this is taking it to a new level: Via Polygon, a Kickstarter campaign has just raised $109,563 to fund the creation of Ever, Jane, a massively multiplayer online game dedicated to the world of Regency England.

“In the virtual world of Jane Austen, it is not about kill or be killed, but invite and be invited with gossip our weapon of choice,” says the campaign’s about page. Makes a nice change of pace from slaying whatever you’re supposed to slay in World of Warcraft.

Actually it sounds a little like Grand Theft Auto, if you removed all the crime and criminals and replaced them with parties and English gentry:

Ever, Jane is about playing the actual character in the game, building stories. Our quests are derived from player’s actions and stories. And we gossip rather than swords and magic to demolish our enemies and aid our friends.

Traditional player stats like strength have been replaced with personality traits modeled after Jane Austen characters—for instance, “Marianne Dashwood preferring Happiness over Duty.” Rather than fights, you’re out to advance your status via social occasions (all while wielding gossip as your weapon of choice).

So far, the developers have a working prototype available for download, but “no balls, dinner parties, or mini-games yet nor any ability to travel between villages.” Hence the Kickstarter. There’s a trailer and everything:

Best of all, when you get tired of living in the early 19th century is you can log off any time you like. You never have to choose between desperate penury and a less-than-thrilling marriage IRL.

Image via Matt Cardy/Getty Images

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