Kitaru combines its reverence for RPG classics w/ stealth elements, a complex, postmodern storyline, and stark, innovative visuals.
- Update #11: LIVE WEBCAST TONIGHT, JUNE 3, 6PM PST!
- Update #10: WE DID IT!! Level Design Process + T-Shirt Designs
- Update #9: Stretch Goals (5/26/12)
- Update #8: Francesco Puccini Interview + Mocap Shoot (5/21/12)
- Update #7: Character Design Feature (5/19/12)
- Update #6: Voiceover Parody Video (5/18/12)
- Update #4: Active Time Battle System Preview (5/10/12)
- Update #3: Team Interview: Danny Escoto (5/04/12)
- Update #2: Kitaru reaches 10k! + Preview of New Levels (4/30/12)
- Update #1: Ben Steele Interview & Exploration Preview (4/20/12)
[kee-tah-roo] n. "Spirit Blood Returns"
Yuna folklore states after a thousand years of waiting, the return of an angel
known as 'Kita', the promised hero, will lead them to victory over their
2. Science fiction RPG in a cyberpunk dystopia with a red-headed protagonist
Off in the Heli galaxy, on a vaguely familiar looking planet known as Sen IV, is the war-ravaged country of Taifa. Four tribal factions, known as the Four Houses, tear apart society in their struggle for money, power and control. Yuna and their mystical powers, control the deserts. Rham control the weapons and the slave trade. Masel control the drug trade. And Saph controls them all.
In the war for dominance, the only thing maintaining order is Saph's team of deadly assassins led by prodigy Akai. She is a beautiful, headstrong young soldier who has exceeded all other trainees in every regard, with the exception of her sadistic mentor Qoss. While Akai is overwhelmingly the most popular agent at Saph, she is sheltered from the others and something of a loner. As she petitions for greater freedom, Saph's ruler insists Akai prove herself first. As she sneaks off for a taste of real action, she uncovers a plot by the rival Rham syndicate to traffic weapons into the city of Taifa Major under Saph's nose.
Is this Akai's chance to prove herself or is she in way over her head? To what cost will her pride and impatience take her?
Strategy and Gameplay
Kitaru differs from other RPGs with its many mini-games, turn based active-time battles and intuitive touch controls. The epic story of Kitaru unfolds over numerous episodes. The action packed game mixes RPG classics with postmodern storytelling. Kitaru features turn based active-time battles, third person exploration and conversation-driven NPC interactions. Battles are turn based in active time, where every ability has the potential to affect the flow of time for one or more characters. Strategy comes from players using time to their advantage. A command queue allows for macro management. Covert ops, assassinations, diplomatic duties and game-altering decisions are all at the mercy of the players in this intense narrative.
Release and Platforms
Kitaru is currently in development for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android, Windows PC and Mac. It is currently estimated for release this October 2012. Subsequent releases are expected to follow on the major gaming consoles as resources and demand allows. Kitaru is being built with the Unity3D game engine, which readily exports to a variety of platforms. It is easier to scale up than scale down, which is why we are targeting mobile platforms first. Since they all use the same engine, Kitaru can be adapted to each platform instead of having to be rebuilt from the ground up.
We are honored to have among our voice cast Yuri Lowenthal, the voice of TV's Ben10 and the Prince in the hugely successful Prince of Persia games. Yuri's other credits include Men in Black III and Soulcalibur V. Joining him is Tara Platt, highly-regarded for her work on Final Fantasy XIII, Naruto, Bleach, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and many others.
Beta versions can be tested using Testflight and pre-release versions will be gifted either via the App Store or through a limited-time download link. Once development is complete, Aoineko Studios will choose the best method to accommodate each pre-order. All pre-ordered copies will be DRM free.
The 3D world of Kitaru, its characters, environment and story have been in development for 5 years, however the game itself has only been in development for less than a year. The script was written and rewritten, and finally completed after 2 1/2 years. Over the course of the next 2 1/2 years, all of the 3D modeling and concept art was created while assembling what is now the Kitaru dev team.
The brains and creativity behind the rich fantasy world of Kitaru, and owner of Aoineko Studios, is Ben Steele. Ben Steele is award-winning artist & director of numerous international film festival awards, as well as, 2005's "Fragile Machine," named by Cyberpunk Review, the "Best Animated Film of the Year". He is also the winner of the Rock Star game upload competitions for digital art. Kitaru and its many unique characters are part of a fully-developed fantasy universe that Ben has written and crafted over the past five years, in the finest detail.
"We are excited to offer the first episodic mobile game of its kind. The quality of the graphics and environments found within Kitaru is at a level not yet achieved on these platforms. This game is being built differently, as hardcore gamers want to see, rather than for studio executives that are looking for easy and safe marketing."
"I wanted to create a piece of science fiction that incorporated mysticism, philosophy and humor in ways not usually seen. In writing Kitaru, my goal was to show the vital role that sacrifice plays in our life."
-- Ben Steele (Creator of Kitaru, owner of Aoineko Studios)
Aoineko is a small indie studio that is passionate about creating a great game and your help is instrumental. While exceeding the initial goal of $25,000 would greatly help our ambitious endeavor, we felt that as a small indie studio we should be reasonable in our funding campaign. Kitaru WILL be completed as our team is dedicated to bringing it to life. The difference between reaching our goal verses exceeding it, is the time it will take us to complete Kitaru and the amount of elements we are able to add to the game. We are not hobbyists and are fully vested in the completion of this project.
The influx of capital from this Kickstarter campaign will be used directly for the labor and materials needed to complete, what is hoped to be, the first in a series of Kitaru games. The $25,000 goal is not the total budget for the game, it is the minimal amount required to finish it. The whole team has poured their own funds, time and effort into this game in order to see it happen. Exceeding our asking goal will help us by leaps and bounds and bring Kitaru's production to completion.
With the money from Kickstarter, we will be able to afford materials such as hardware upgrades, server bandwidth for development, and more teammates for coding (gameplay mechanics) and fine-tuning the levels. In exchange for your support we are offering a wide scope of rewards that will allow fans to be intimately involved in the development process. In addition to copies of the game, rewards also include beta testing, naming characters, voting on content and outcomes, and even having your own custom character in the game.
Lisa Palenica, one of Kitaru's producers and voice of character Qoss in the game, will be speaking at Phoenix ComicCon, Saturday May 26th at 10:30am. Lisa Palenica was invited as a guest speaker and panelist for female filmmakers in Sci-fi. If anyone would like a more in depth elaboration on Kitaru, feel free to approach her there at the Phoenix Convention Center after her panel.
Shipping will be FREE for all donors living in
the USA or Canada. Unfortunately, we have to charge an additional fee
for all international addresses wishing to receive the various Kitaru
swag for the $100, $250, and $500 levels. For those levels, please add a
shipping fee to your pledge if you have an address outside the USA or
for the inconvenience…and THANK YOU!!
If you live in a country where you cannot donate directly to Kickstarter, the current best option is to purchase a prepaid credit card and use that for your donation. Just be sure that the card has a credit card logo that Amazon Payments accepts (Visa, Mastercard, etc.). Please also make sure that you account for current currency exchange rates, and that you add $1 more than the prize amount to make sure the donation goes through properly. THANKS!
A: We are building Kitaru in the versatile, widely used Unity3D game engine which readily exports to a variety of platforms. It's true that targeting multiple platforms is still challenging. It requires multiple versions of assets for high and low end devices and strategic planning regarding gameplay style to accommodate different input methods. It's easier to 'scale-up' than 'scale-down' which is why we are targeting mobile devices first.
Kickstarter funds are being used in addition to the money we have each put into the project already. We are a small indie studio that is passionate about making a great game and your help is instrumental because it allows us to purchase the hardware, software and support we need to complete this highly ambitious project.
A: There are three main parts to Kitaru’s gameplay, which should sound familiar to any RPG fan: exploration, combat, and dialogue. While exploring, you’ll control Akai and the rest of the cast in third person, clicking or touching NPCs and items to interact with them. Some battles are initiated randomly while walking through a dangerous area while others are the result of attack by visible enemies in the area.
A: The battle system is turn-based in active time, and each ability has the potential to affect the flow of time for one or more characters. Manipulating time to put enemies at a disadvantage is crucial to success in combat and adds another layer to the strategy of different abilities. Lining up party member actions with a command queue allows for macro-management in addition to the traditional micromanagement of turn-based RPGs. All battles are procedurally generated except for those part of the storyline.
A: Ultimately it will, but we can't confirm whether it will take a bit more development time. Other Unity3D based games do run on Linux, both through the Google Chrome App Store and in standalone mode using NaCI. Let us know if you would like to help facilitate the Linux conversion or join the Linux beta test team!
A: We are looking at options for localization into a variety of languages including Spanish, French, German, Russian, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. We will soon announce the funding levels necessary to facilitate this sort of localization.
A: For pledges of $50 or more we will give you two copies of Kitaru for the platforms of your choice (upon platform availability).
A: Since we are developing the mobile version as well, minimum system requirements will be low.
A: All backers contributing at least $15 get an early release of the FINAL game, NOT a beta version. Beta versions for higher pledges will be available in addition to the finished copy of the game. We are giving our supporters the finished game first to thank you for your support.
A: The first release of Kitaru will be approximately 8 to 10 hours of game play.
pledged of $25,000 goal
seconds to go
Apr 19, 2012 - Jun 3, 2012
Pledge $15 or more
FIRST MOVER – Pre-release copy of Kitaru for your platform of choice (PC, Mac, iOS, Android) AND an exclusive in-game object AND Official Supporter-stamped "Save the Game Designers" Digital Wallpaper and our heartfelt thank you!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $20 or more
5 HOURS ONLY! FIRST MOVER+ Pre-release copy of Kitaru for your platform of choice (PC, Mac, iOS, Android) AND and TWO exclusive in-game objects AND Official Supporter-stamped "Save the Game Designers" Digital WallpaperEstimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $25 or more
BEHIND THE SCENES - Exclusive access to Dev Blog, along with Pre-release copy of Kitaru for your platform of choice (PC, Mac, iOS, Android) AND an exclusive in-game object AND Kitaru Official Supporter-stamped Digital Wallpaper.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $50 or more
MEDIA PACKAGE - Kitaru Original Soundtrack Vol. I (for download) AND Digital Wallpapers for main characters AND limited-edition Kitaru Digital Comic Book AND the previous reward level!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $75 or more
GAME DEV SCHOOL - Learn indie game dev tips from our experienced team via exclusive VIP access to the Kitaru Dev Blog and a monthly video conference call with key members of dev team! AND Kitaru Original Soundtrack Vol. II (for download) AND Honorable Developer Status recognition in game credits AND all previous rewards!Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
Pledge $100 or more
JOIN THE BETA TEAM! - Participate as a Beta Game Tester during game development AND Ability to personally submit your game ideas via private Kitaru Team email address! AND Five Limited-Edition 4"x6" Character Cards AND Bronze Status recognition in game credits AND all previous rewards! (Please add $20 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $250 or more
SWAG BAG - Limited-Edition Designer Kitaru T-Shirt from creator, Ben Steele AND Limited-Edition Kitaru Game Poster, numbered & signed by Ben Steele and the dev team (suitable for framing) AND Remastered DVD of award-winning Fragile Machine, signed by creator, Ben Steele AND Silver Status recognition in game credits AND all previous rewards! (Please add $20 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Jul 2012
Pledge $300 or more
3 backers Limited (12 of 15 left)
SPECIAL PRICE FOR LAST 5 HOURS! Have you ever played a game but thought to yourself, "Man I really wish I could pick up this (BLANK) and use it as a weapon", or, "Man, I really wish someone would invent s (BLANK) in game weapon." Your wish is now granted!!! At a $300 pledge level, you can now design a weapon of your choice, for the game KITARU, as well as receive the rewards at the $250 tiers and lower.Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $500 or more
2 backers Limited (98 of 100 left)
GET INVOLVED – Have your Name or Handle Image placed in the game AND a 30 minute Video Conf with Ben Steele to discuss the development of the Kitaru story AND a ONE OF A KIND Kitaru Game Poster, featuring your screen shot, signed by Ben Steele and the dev team AND Original Kitaru Level Design Sketch by Danny Escoto (first 10 donors) OR Original Kitaru Character Sketch by Ben Steele (second 10 donors) AND Gold Status recognition in game credits AND all previous rewards! (Please add $20 for international shipping)Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $1,000 or more
2 backers Limited (13 of 15 left)
THE NAME GAME - Work personally with our design team to name a character in the game AND a ONE OF A KIND Kitaru Game Poster, featuring your named character, signed by Ben Steele and the dev team AND Ten 4"x6" Character Cards, featuring your character to share with friends AND VIP and Beta access to all future releases of Kitaru! AND Get a Kitaru Voice Actor to personally record your voicemail! (Choices include Ben10/The Prince of Persia Yuri Lowenthal and Tara Platt from Bleach, Naruto & FFXIII) AND Platinum Status recognition in game credits AND all previous rewards at the $250 level and lower!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $1,200 or more
0 backers Limited (10 of 10 left)
SPECIAL PRICE FOR LAST 5 HOURS! BE A STAR! - Work with design team to create an in-game virtual character of yourself AND a ONE OF A KIND Kitaru Game Poster, featuring your virtual character, signed by Ben Steele and the dev team AND Ten 4"x6" Character Cards, featuring your personalized character to share with friends AND all previous rewards at the $250 level and lower!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012
Pledge $3,000 or more
0 backers Limited (5 of 5 left)
FEATURED PRODUCTS - Prominent in-game billboard and/or product placement (for yourself or your company), AND all previous rewards at the $250 level and lower!Estimated delivery: Oct 2012