What could have been - The Black Glove

The Black Glove is a game that never made it out of development - but I really wish it did.

The idea behind The Black Glove is one that’s kind of hard to explain - hell I still don’t understand what it was meant to be exactly - and likely one of the major reasons why it never got off the ground. But by god if it wasn’t something I wanted to see come to light.

From a bunch of the people behind Bioshock Infinite and the original Bioshock, this game was set in a 1920s theatre known as “The Equinox”, focusing on 3 specific creators who all were a bit… bizarre. You are the curator of this theatre, and it is your job to unravel the mysteries surrounding the setting using a powerful tool - the black glove. This Glove gives you the ability to bend space and time, allowing you to delve deep into the history and narrative, solving puzzles and helping the people of the Equinox.

The game certainly looked like it would have quite the artistic flare - a very abstract one, at that. It almost looked like something Bioshock could have been, minus the combat sequences that seem a necessity to make it a mainstream game.

The Black Glove launched a kickstarter in late 2014, with a substantial trailer and 1000s of hours of work already in the developers’ back pocket. On November 7th 2014, it failed to raise it’s target of US$550,000, reaching only US$216,517 with 5,961 backers.

Shamefully I did not back the project when I had a chance, and though in the grand scheme of things it probably wouldn’t have made a difference, I wish I had've supported it. At that point in time I was a bit weary of Kickstarter as a platform, as I’d seen only half of the rewards I had thought to see at the time, and those that did turned out to be not so great. Since this time my hesitation has disappeared, as so many wonderful things have come out of Kickstarter - one look at Undertale tells you all you need to know - but it can be a place of disaster as much as it can success.

Though I didn’t back it, I did believe in the people behind the idea of this game. This was a bunch of talent behind the Bioshock series, trying to make something special for themselves once Irrational was shut down. A bunch of people trying to make something cool in their spare time, all of which had other jobs and lives to attend to - something I can relate to quite distinctly. 

I wonder if the project had have hit even 6 months later, around the same time as Yooka-Laylee and Bloodstained, if it might’ve garnered more attention. What if it had a small run of physical copies of the game? That would’ve been right up my alley for sure. All what if’s for a game that was unfortunately shelved.

Yes, on May 10 2015, project head Joe Fielder wrote a blog post outlining the circumstances in which the team had found themselves. Many of the devs needed to focus on finding proper full time work, and funding was difficult to come by on every level. Particularly with a failed Kickstarter campaign weighing them down, what publisher would put up the kind of money needed to finish the project? 

The project hasn’t been officially “cancelled” as such, but it’s hard to see a light for The Black Glove. Will it remain a memory, a glimmer of what could have been? I certainly hope not, but it’s not looking likely, at least at this stage. It’s a real shame - I’m sure this would have been made a great addition to an already fantastic year in gaming. 

If you happen to have a spare half a million dollars, I know where you could spend it.