Update #6 - Gameplay Video added
Due to fan request, we just added the video we've been working on for a week to give backers and potential backers an idea of the gameplay and characters in Class of Heroes 2. Enjoy!
Update #1 - New reward tiers added
All Deluxe Packs at $100 or above will receive digital download copy in addition to UMD. Digital supporters at $20 level will receive full digital arranged soundtrack. Check out the updates tab for more information.
What's this project and who is handling it?
This project is by Victor Ireland, who headed up Working Designs before starting Gaijinworks. It's focused on providing a physical Deluxe Pack for Class of Heroes II as well as increasing funding to expand the scope and depth of localization from digital download supporters.
- Meeting the Kickstarter funding will allow:
* A Physical Deluxe Pack to be made
* English Voice Acting in the Digital and Physical releases
* English Opening Song and Video in both releases
* Extended game fixes and features (extra save slots, better controls, etc) for both releases
* Translation and release of Class of Heroes II webcomic series during development
- Exceeding the funding limit by 15% will allow:
* Additional language localizations
* Clear license to retain Japanese audio option
What's in the Deluxe Pack?
* Deluxe blind-embossed box
* Soft faux-leather embossed manual/art book
* Arranged soundtrack CD
* Character Standees
* Game UMD
Three additional items will be voted on by backers from this list:
* Cloth map
* Dagger letter opener
* Coin bank
* Inflatible sword
* Pen/pencil set
What Happened to the flow of cool J-RPGs?
The life of a J-RPG fan is not an easy one these days. A seemingly constant web-crawl of news from the East trumpets one cool-sounding Japanese RPG after another. Many of these are on the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) system, which is extremely popular in Asia. Unfortunately, many of these and other games never make it out of Japan, stamped with a scarlet letter “U” for Unprofitable here, whether or not that’s true on a game-by-game basis. Some games’ initial releases in the West have had their sequels languish in Japan, waiting for localization that will never come. Many others just never made it at all, condemned to obscurity.
Fan Power Trumps All
But hold on. I started Gaijinworks for these fans. MonkeyPaw Games exists for the love of J-Games as well. We know the fans are there. We feel it…we’re fans, too! We know that with the right games, with the right localization, with the right timing, with the right presentation, and the right distribu…well let’s not talk ourselves out of this yet. Suffice to say, we think there are enough fans like us out there that want to see more J-RPGs with great localization and presentation. Fans that want their J-RPG experiences to be memorable regardless of the platform. We know that this silenced J-RPG fanbase, under-served and forgotten, isn’t thrilled with where things are going. So, now’s the time to speak up and get our happy tomorrow.
Gaijinworks has been working closely with MonkeyPaw Games, laying the groundwork for licenses, expanding relationships with Japanese publishers, and setting up a structure that will allow us to test Kickstarter as a method to, well, kick start the US J-RPG market. Here is the chance to help grow the segment and prove that there is a market for great J-RPG games, regardless of the platform.
Take a Bow
So what’s the first project? We’ve licensed the Class of Heroes™ series from Acquire Corp. We’ll start with Class of Heroes II for the PSP® system. The game is a charming take on the Wizardry-style dungeon crawl games with a twist – all the party members are drawn from a pool of newly-enrolled students at a Sword and Sorcery School. The game features 10 classes to choose from: Novice, Fighter, Swordsman, Ranger, Monk, Ninja, Sorcerer, Puppeteer, Idol, and one Mystery Class. Once the party is created, quests are offered and the party can choose their adventure path, unlocking ever more distant and dangerous areas to conquer as they grow in power and confidence. Monster parties can be more than one level deep in a single combat episode, leading to epic encounters of up to 12 or more monsters at a time, where managing a party’s ranged and melee skills can be the difference between victorious life and an ignominious death. No dungeon crawler would be complete without an occasional boss, and CoH2 doesn’t disappoint there, either, with nail-biting super-encounters littered on the path between your party and ultimate victory.
We’re aiming to release all the games in this series, as long as we can end up in the black on each, or maybe even kinda dark grey. You get the point. We don’t think it’s that hard to do this because we're dedicated to the genre - and we know you're just as dedicated to making a special experience like this happen by supporting our effort to push the industry in the right direction and supply these games digitally and physically to give the fans ultimate choice.
Why Kickstarter, then?
Our wish list of upgrades and features on Class of Heroes II is quite big-boned (some really old-school gamers might call it husky). If you played the only Class of Heroes released here, you know there are a few things we want to upgrade already. Fan Kickstarter support will allow us to make the games even better than they are, adding features like extra saves and better controls, smoothing out the user interface experience, and adding perks. In essence, it will allow us to hit the familiar level of quality we reached at Working Designs. But that’s not the thing we’re most excited about. It’s two new things Kickstarter will make possible.
Our Kickstarter project is designed to allow fans that plan to download it digitally to support the game now, helping it reach the funding threshold and expand the scope and depth of localization for BOTH the digital and physical releases. In return, they get their names encoded into the final product, and those that pledge at the $20 level will also get a Limited Edition Game poster, in essence getting preorder-type swag for a digital download they buy in the future.
Second, this project will allow us to prove that a physical/digital hybrid release can work. Digital download is convenient, but if you’re a collector, it’s the pits. You know it, I know it. I like the convenience of download, but I still want a physical copy of games I love with cool packaging and real-world extras that make me love the game even more. I think many of you out there want this as well. Prove me right and help make a statement to the industry that can change its course, just like LUNAR: Silver Star Story did for Deluxe Packs.
Right, so about that Deluxe Pack...
We’re offering a Physical Deluxe Pack of Class of Heroes II for the PSP® system that will be the craziest Deluxe Pack we’ve ever done. And if you know our work at Working Designs, that’s a pretty high bar already. This will NOT have digital content you download. It will NOT have codes for in-game armor or weapons. It will NOT have a picture flip book passed off as an art book. It will not ship with DLC on the disc you have to pay for again later. It will NOT come in a tin box passed off as Steelbook. It will NOT be what's usually advertised as a Collector's Edition in 2012 - a wimpy, atrophied shadow of what a real Deluxe Pack should be.
It will be an awesome Deluxe Pack with real, collectible, limited, awesome stuff based on the game, including an arranged soundtrack.
We’ll be shipping these Deluxe Packs directly to fans, hot off the press. This will be an exclusive, very limited, one-time release. It will not be in stores or anywhere else. Starting at the $59 ($49 for the Deluxe Pack w/$10 shipping) level, you will get one of these Limited Edition Deluxe Packs and some sweet swag perks for supporting this effort. In fact, more swag than we’ve ever done for one game - more swag than any other console game I know of. This is epic stuff.
With your support, Class of Heroes II on the PSP® system will have a digital and Limited Deluxe Pack release. We chose the PSP® system version as the Deluxe Pack because there was already a PSP® system release of the first game in the series and our goal is to get them all out. So if you’re along for the whole ride, you’ll eventually have a line of awesome Class of Heroes games on your shelf.
Rewards and Revelations
The rewards for this project top out at $10,000 due to Kickstarter limitations. However, there are two reward levels go beyond that $10k max. They are insanely great for any game fan. Even if you can't afford them, head over to www.gaijinworks.com or www.monkeypawgames.com and just fantasize about what it would be like to get them. It's more access and perks than any US J-Game publisher has offered to the general public - at any price.
We're excited about this project, and grateful Kickstarter has glanced their light across a possible path to the ultimate gamer+publisher relationship. I believe that once our first project is completed it will be a revelation to many in the console gaming industry about what's possible with this model. Join us and help change the future, putting fans back where they belong in the industry - front and center.