Last June we began work on Shining Force Online - a free massively multiplayer version of the classic Sega Genesis franchise. Unfortunately, Sega shut down the game and we're left with a huge, feature-packed title we cannot release. Rather than give up and scrap the title, we're taking it to kickstarter to raise funds to replace all of the Sega-owned trademarks (the main one being art) so that it is an original title in the same tradition as the Shining Force series.
The goal is to release the game November 2014 (with betas starting this summer). We'll release on Windows (Steam as well as a downloadable Windows version on our site), Mac, and iOS. The price will be $10 and all updates (including new content down the road) will be free. There will be no microtransactions and no DLC costs.
In Shining Empire, we want the player to have an incredible amount of control. In other RPG's you walk into a town and there's a few townsfolk to talk to, often times giving you quests or hints. We want to populate each village with hundreds of citizens, most of which you can recruit to joining your party. Some will have specific requirements: They may request that you're a member of a certain faction, or they may view your party and see one of their friends has joined and that entices them to tag along. Some may even become discouraged if your ethics start to clash with theirs and they may threaten to leave.
It all exists in a similar combat engine to Shining Force Online. Each member takes their turn. They can move (depending on their mobility), then at the end they can attack, use an item, cast a spell, or defend. There will also be an auto combat feature for those that wish for the computer to take over their turns. Lengthy battles can become tedious, so the computer will act out the moves for you while you spectate.
Although it will feel mostly single player, the game will not be a static release. Similar to MMO's, we will continue to add to the game as it's available. It will all be done in the background, so you may not even realize we've added another 10 hours of gameplay until you're exploring and find it yourself. Our development tools allow us to create content at a 1:1 ratio (meaning, for every hour we work we can add 1 hour of gameplay). New content will be coming in daily.
I mentioned how Shining Empire will be single player, but with multiplayer elements. In this game we will have factions. Each faction, should you join it, will give you certain benefits. The merchant faction, for example, will give you lower prices and access to the black markets. There will be a power struggle with these factions, and that's where multiplayer comes into play.
Let's say you want the warrior faction to be in higher power. In order to do so you'll need to weaken an opposing faction. To do this you you can send some of your party to another world to do battle against that rival faction. You find a good ambush spot in the world, a spot you know must be traveled to get to a popular location. Place your party there to block the path. Once you've set them up they teleport away and into the world of another.
When they reach your party they will have a few choices. They can run, pay, or fight. Running or paying a fee is considered an act of cowardice and their faction will become weaker for it. If they fight and lose - it's at least considered an honorable way out, so they lose less faction power. Regardless of their choice, your party will return to you with a report. If your party loses they will lose some of their XP and your faction will lose some of it's power.
Pictured above: Screenshots from Shining Force Online's multiplayer (created by Arcade County in 2013). Shining Empire is the successor to that title.
Every copy of Shining Empire will also include "Empire Anvil", a comprehensive set of tools which you can use to make your own RPG adventures with the Shining Empire engine. These aren't mod tools, this is the exact tool set we use to create the game. You'll be able to create graphics, write music, build scripts (using a propriety scripting language that's easy to understand), create massive open worlds, and share it with the world.
Most mod tools simply allow you to import your own graphics, sounds, and music. Empire Anvil allows you to create all of these assets. You won't need a single external program.
When you're ready to share your project with the world, you'll get your own personal page on shiningempire.com/adventures where you can post about your mods and upload them. Inside the game users will be able to browse all of the available adventures and download them instantly.
You will also be able to allow the SPSE (single player social experience) inside your games, allowing players to wage war against each other via factions that YOU create!
Arcade County (formerly unFun Games) is a 15 year indie MMO developer. In 1999 we released First Star Online (our first title) and have built over a dozen online titles over the years. Games such as: Harry Potter Trivia Gameshow, Name the Song, Retro Band, Key Nine Online, First Star Online 2, First Star Online 3, First Star Origins, First Star Online Stratics (and the Heroes/Legends expansion), Mario Paint Composer, Sudoku Forever, Movie Score, and more.
Our priority is listening to the gamers. We always have an open line of communication with the gamers and all their requests/suggestions are listened to and discussed.
Risks and challenges
There are no foreseen risks or challenges to completing this title. Arcade County / unFun Games have developed (and completed) over 25 online titles (7 games in the First Star Online series alone) over the past 14 years.