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Presenting: Project Phoenix
- Japan's indie RPG developed by AAA talent!
Project Phoenix is a SQUAD-BASED, REAL-TIME STRATEGY GAME combined with strong Japanese RPG design influences, brought to you by top Eastern and Western creators who have worked on many blockbuster game titles.
Platforms: Mainly for Windows, Mac and Linux via Steam and our website, PLAYSTATION 4 and VITA. iOS and Android will have a different version to the PC counterparts due to limitations.
Languages: Voiceover options include Japanese and English. Subtitle options include Japanese, English, and German.
Estimated release: Mid-2015.
# of Players: This game is primarily a single player game and we would like to focus on that aspect. We do have ideas for multiplayer and co-op modes but we'd only work on it if the multiplayer stretch goal is achieved.
We've gone above and beyond our initial goal! Azuregard gets BIGGER, and the visuals & music have the opportunity to improve dramatically! So pack your bags and let's journey together to create the most immersive experience ever!
- Kickstarter's FIRST Japan-based video game project!
- Bringing together top-notch talent, combining Eastern AND Western developers with TONS of AAA experience!
- Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu's FIRST indie game project EVER!
- Art that balances Western functionality with Japanese aesthetics!
- A JRPG primarily built for a worldwide audience, not just Japan
We are making a rich, immersive game that will set a new standard of excellence for the Japanese gaming industry, all without major studio backing! Although we have a large array of top talent, we are JRPG fans first and foremost and wish to create a game worthy of longstanding JRPG fans who truly deserve it. In doing so, we will become a phoenix that will rise from the ashes to forge a new direction for the Japanese games industry through a work that awes and inspires all. With the lofty heights we’ve set, we’d like YOU to be a part of our vision and the process and we’re optimistic about it. After all, we’ve got a brave, stubborn, if somewhat forgetful angel on our side, reminding us of what we truly stand for!
Project Phoenix is a fantasy themed squad-based real-time strategy game combined with Japanese RPG design influences. The game draws you in with its breathtaking fantasy world, deep storyline, Japanese character designs, and a memorable cast, most notably, the band of heroes under your command. Furthermore, its intuitive real-time tactical combat is dynamic, fluid, and streamlined, allowing you to experience the strategic options without being bogged down by overwhelming archaic battle systems.
Throughout the adventure, players will piece together the mysteries of an angel with amnesia and travel through the land of Azuregard with an unusual band of heroes searching for answers.
Project Phoenix is being produced by some of the greatest creative talents in the video game industry, with credits including several Final Fantasies, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Valkyria Chronicles, L.A. Noire, Diablo III, Halo 4, Crysis 3, and much more. Many of us have boldly committed ourselves to this ambitious project in a creative leap of faith with the goal of changing the direction of the Japanese game industry. Now we need the extra push that only funding can give to help us move forward and complete the game!
The team includes such talents as:
More staff members will be announced as the development process continues!
The world is changing...
The orcish clans, mankind's ancient enemy, have begun migrating from the mountains and their raids upon human settlements become more brazen and audacious by the day. If this wasn't enough, the denizens of the southern coastal regions hear rumor of the free men who, once vanquished, have emerged, more organized than before, all with the goal of toppling the Empire. Amidst the stirrings of war, the elves watch a fateful star and recognize it as a portent that will decide the fate of all those who live in Azuregard.
It is within these tumultumous times that the troubled Templar Marcus Stern encounters Ruffles, an angel stricken with amnesia. Together with the Elven Pathfinder, Sylrianah, reserved but curious to see the world beyond the forest, and Zarum the Lost, a battlemage with his own internal conflicts, they form an unlikely bond. These four heroes must discover their place in a world brought to war by misunderstanding and ignorance, and perhaps ultimately even save it from itself.
Please note that there are more than SIX playable characters. There will be more announcements in future updates!
Born to King Magnus Stern and the Second Prince of the Kingdom of Izaria, Marcus’ early life was marred by a great tragedy that has shaped his short-tempered personality and his outlook towards those of other races, especially Orcs. The tragedy was what drove Marcus to eventually join the feared unit known as the Death Templars. Through their training and Marcus’ single-minded dedication to become stronger, Marcus has become a weapons master and adept in swordplay, especially with the longsword and shortsword. Unfortunately, his decision to join the Death Templars has driven a wedge between him and his family and even now, their relationship is respectful, but distant.
An amnesiac angel, Ruffles seeks to find out who she is and her place within the larger world. She’s a being of pure heart who tries to help everyone she can, even if it inconveniences her or puts her in danger. She also tries to see the good in people, doing her best to guide troubled souls out of the shroud and back on the path of goodness.
Sylrianah, the Elven Princess, has always been driven by the desire to see the world beyond the forest’s borders, but only now, taking the first steps to venture outside the sanctity of the elven lands. She shares many of her people’s traits: she’s calm, cool, and collected, with a great reverence for life, but can also seem just a bit aloof. Like many of her people, she’s stealthy, especially in forest environs and she can wield a shortbow to devastating effect, as her keen elven sights and marksmanship training make her a fine scout.
It’s not difficult to feel just a bit uneasy around Zarum.The battlemage has long had a reputation for being dangerous, with a hairpin trigger that, more often than not, leaves only destruction in his wake. This reputation allows Zarum to journey across Azuregard unimpeded, though the motives that drive him on are inscrutable to most. Those who come across Zarum’s path are advised to tread lightly lest they find their lifespan being shortened unexpectedly…
Gorek is a dwarf with a jovial personality whose thirst for the beer cups is only rivaled by his thirst for combat, both of which has made him a favorite of the Dwarven King who finds his skills with his Stormhammer to be reliable and his seemingly endless banter to be even more pleasing. Despite this seemingly happy-go-lucky attitude towards most things, if there’s one thing those around Gorek should be aware of, it’s his enormous pride which can bring him to be angry at the smallest perceived slight, especially when drunk.
Satsuki has fully embraced her training as a samurai and carries an earnest demeanor when it comes to most things. In fact, it’s often said that she’s so serious that she seems to be unable to immediately grasp the humor in many situations. She is very kind, thoughtful and introspective, though any enemies would be wise not to underestimate her as she’s capable of cutting her opponents with a single stroke from her finely honed sword skills.
Project Phoenix is a sprawling adventure in which you explore a vast, rich land and do battle against formidable enemies. The gameplay eschews micromanagement in favour of a focused Real Time Strategy system enhanced by JRPG elements. You can level your characters and teach them new abilities but at the same time they behave intelligently when you are not controlling them directly.
The game has three distinct modes: Exploration, Combat and Character Advancement.
Exploration is where you travel the many realms of Azuregard. As well as progressing the story, you will discover different races, acquire better equipment and meet new characters. Each time you arrive somewhere new, you’ll be able to outfit yourself with the local equipment and experience some of their culture. There will be no grinding through enemies to be able to advance to the next area. You will be able to advance at your own pace, and either push on with the story or take your time as you see fit.
Each town or city you find yourself in will be populated by an interesting cast of characters, with their own stories to tell. There’ll be good reason to stick around some places, or to do a bit of extra exploration.
Combat takes place in predefined areas, tailored to match the locale. There will be two main types of combat: Story battles and Random battles. Story battles will be carefully-tuned scenarios integral to the story’s progression. Random battles will be dynamic combat scenarios activated occasionally during the story, but generally when exploring areas without any new story content (such as when backtracking). They will be available whenever you want, without being a burden to play.
Combat uses a point and click system to control your party of heroes. Each hero has abilities they can use in battle, and the use of these abilities depletes either their mana (magic reserves) or their stamina. Tactical play and the combination of different heroes will be the main factors in your success, as well as taking advantage of the following conditions:
- Terrain: Terrain comes in different heights, so you can use the lay of the land to your advantage. There are also destructible elements to damage or slow down your foes. Some units also get a movement advantage in different terrain to allow for more strategy.
- Fog of War: Apart from special scenario objectives, the combat map will be hidden until explored. This helps keep things exciting and suspenseful and also gives you plenty of opportunity to use the scouting abilities of particular heroes.
- Threat Management: Generally enemies will target those they consider the greatest threat, or a specific target when the story dictates. However there are character abilities to redirect their attention to another character. Not only does this lend itself to structured defensive play – knowing who the enemy will target will allow you to set up some cunning traps! Of course, no JRPG is complete without memorable, awe-inspiring bosses, and we have plenty of those as well. These challenging scenarios will have you focusing your entire party on an epic enemy, using your skill to win the day.
Character Advancement is an important piece, and comes from the game’s JRPG heritage. Each hero you control will be a distinct class, with their own look, abilities, and usable equipment. Of course there will be overlaps in equipment, but there won’t be too many dilemmas when it comes to selecting who gets a new item. As characters increase in experience, they automatically get improved stats, as well as new abilities. For further customisation we have a simple talent system in place, so that you can choose the path you want your characters to take. If you want to have more control over your team, we are also including customable heroes that can be recruited as you progress through the game. That way, if you love a character class but want to put your own spin on it, you can.
The art brings the game to life, especially through the cinematic and story sequences, which will feature characters that match human proportions.
In-game battle sequences will make use of super-deformed characters with movement and actions designed, in a way that should feel instantly familiar to many JRPG fans.
Azuregard is an ancient world with a storied history, and it is essential that we convey the richness of that world's lore through diverse music which is not only authentic but also guides JRPG fans through its intricacies.
Our team of composers, including legendary Final Fantasy maestro Nobuo Uematsu and industry veterans Tomoki Miyoshi and Kevin Penkin, are more than up to this task, as illustrated by the brief samples below:
Higher funding through a stretch goal would allow us to raise the quality of the soundtrack to another dimension with the Eminence Symphony Orchestra. As well as performing live, this accomplished orchestra has recorded the music for such games as SoulCalibur V and Valkyria Chronicles, as well as the hit anime series Steins;Gate.
Here's a message from our Lead Composer, Nobuo Uematsu.
Our vision for Project Phoenix to revive the concept of the JRPG is quite lofty, and each one of us is well-known in our respective field of work. We’re putting our reputations (and honor!) on the line, and no matter whether we’re artists, game designers, musicians, programmers, or scenario writers, we’re committed to see this all the way to the end as we donate our blood and sweat to make a JRPG that aligns with our passionate vision and present it to the world, and not just Japan. We would love to hear what you all think!
We’re at the pre-production stage at the moment and have already mapped out the storyline and the struggles that Ruffles and her newfound companions must endure. The game design is laid out and we’re working on the initial setup of the game mechanics like the combat system so that battles are as intense and engaging as possible and like the character creation process. We’re also using Unity as that provides a simple and easy platform to create and port a game to different devices. Finally, our art team is furiously working on the landscapes and character art that bring the world of Azuregard to life while our composers, including Nobuo Uematsu, complement the artists’ efforts by using the power of music to immerse you into the setting.
The missing piece of the puzzle that will make Project Phoenix awesome is one that requires outside help: the 3D modeling. In our pursuit of making Project Phoenix dynamic and immersive, we’ll be relying upon Steffen Unger and his team of 3D modelers, whose works include game franchises as Crysis and Halo. So all funds raised through Kickstarter will go towards making the 3D models and making sure they’re as polished as possible.
So we’re taking no shortcuts in our quest to make Project Phoenix a reality and our team is aligned in our goal of what we want this game to become: the seamless integration of Japanese design and Western functionality to yield high fantasy, but with a Japanese twist! We’re aiming for the stars on this one, but only because that’s what you JRPG fans deserve.
Project Phoenix brings together a group of world-class professionals with a unified vision of how JRPGs ought to be and are determined to bring that vision to life without major studio backing! Each member of our team has taken a creative leap of faith in joining the project. Many of them have taken time out of their personal schedule to contribute their expertise towards Project Phoenix's success. So while everyone has donated a lot of their time, there’s only so much more we can do for free. Getting the necessary funds to create the 3D character models would be a major step towards achieving our lofty goals.
And that’s why we’ve turned to Kickstarter and its wonderful community of independent game fans! We can’t think of a better group of people to come to for support and make this project a reality. By hitting our Kickstarter goal, we can complete game production with 3D models that are worthy of our vision. Additional funds will give us the capability to include more 3D modeling in the game, hire studio time with an Academy Award®-winning audio engineer, and enhance the gameplay experience even further.
While there are many worthy gaming projects on Kickstarter, we believe we’re not just making one game – we’re making a new way of producing games. To be truly revolutionary, we’re breaking out of the normal studio format – calling in talent and fans from around the world to provide the spark that will mark a rebirth of the Japanese gaming industry!
* All physical rewards are high quality, made and printed in Japan
** They will be shipped in a special package from Japan. The shipping cost is included in the price of the reward tier
All trademarks referenced herein are the properties of their respective owners.
©2013 Creative Intelligence Arts, Inc.
©2013 Hiroaki Yura
All rights reserved.
Risks and challenges
Changing the direction of Japan’s games industry through our groundbreaking vision isn’t without its risks and challenges. Some of the challenges looming include:
- Programming the game: Programming is, by far, the most important part of a video game. It's difficult to find someone with the programming skills necessary for this endeavour. Luckily, we have industry veterans on staff who are reliable, not only in the art of programming, but also in the art of project management.
- Art production: There’s more to art than just creating characters, buildings, and terrain, and then slapping them into the game. It takes time making concept art, 3D characters, animations, environments, or particle effects. Seeing how the players’ perception of the world is fueled by the artwork, we want to make it look as good as possible. That means making sure the art is in the same uniform style and aligns with our vision for the project. Thankfully, our team of artists have extensive experience working for major studios, creating the art for many blockbuster titles. They’re professional and outstanding; among the best of the best.
- Building awareness: Creating a game without studio backing is no easy task since it means the marketing efforts fall upon our shoulders and that we don’t have the marketing budgets that larger studios have. Needless to say, marketing is expensive and allocating funds for TV or online ads are unfeasible. To build our audience and generate sales, we need people like YOU! You, the fans who believe in our mission, who are willing to help us see this project to the end. Without you, Project Phoenix would not be possible. So spread the word far and wide! Through the realms of Twitter, Facebook and Google+, let the warcry ring loud and clear, so that all the fans of the true JRPG may lend their support to our cause!
- (29 days)