Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 11, 2013.

Update #71

A Quick Look at Project Phoenix’s Dialogue

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Seeing that many of the Project Phoenix updates thus far have been heavily focused on world building and highlighting the game’s characters, one aspect of the game that we wanted to complete was how the story would be presented through in-game dialogue. After all, the conversations that your characters will have within the party and with NPCs will be what drives the story forward, allowing you to be invested in the characters and immersed in the game world.

Many JRPGs have provided us with ways in which to implement this, and to make it easy, we settled upon a system in which you’ll see the character portraits accompanied by a dialogue box, with the super-deformed characters in the background. Note that these illustrations are general examples that should hopefully get the point across.

And speaking of story, here’s a word from Anton, a member of our story team to give you an idea of how that’s coming along:

“This week, I have been expanding existing side quest chains in the first three acts of the game. I have also been going back through past readings from a Psychology degree I completed in Sydney some time ago. This is in an effort to flesh out the main characters’ personalities and really bring them to life, complete with strengths, weaknesses and fears. Nobody is perfect, life imitates art imitates life. The story arc and story engine is crucial to making a connection with the observer, and this is what I am devoting the lion’s share of my time to on Project Phoenix: the psychological makeup of the characters, their choices and motivations, their secrets and their internal battles. All that is required to make them whole.”


Update #70

Introducing… Yiroaki Hura, Peerless Swordsman

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As Marcus and his party members journey through Azuregard, they will find themselves in increasingly dangerous situations. All sorts of creatures, from wolves to kraken to orcs, shadow or threaten their every move. They will need a steady sword hand at their side if they are to overcome the obstacles that lie in their path.

Today, we’d like to present the steadiest sword hand in all of Azuregard who will support Marcus in his cause. Hailing from the island of Akitsu, Yiroaki Hura, the Peerless Swordsman, has gone far and wide in search of adventure. He is often accompanied by a talking dog, a talking monkey, a talking pheasant, and a talking sword named Jim (his companions freak out a lot of people). His accomplishments are many and include ridding Megijima Island of the Evil Oni stronghold that had been terrorizing nearby coastal villages, recovering the platinum fleece of Colchis, and defeating the previous Peerless Swordsman, Lu Bu, to become the current Peerless Swordsman.

Yiroaki Hura is jovial and prone to ramble with his tales of adventure. But he also has a serious side as he’s focused in his pursuit of restoring Akitsu martial prowess to its rightful #1 spot on Azuregard. He can currently be found in Cordo where he’s hard at work finding the location of the warrior Alexander the Greatest to challenge him to a duel. Winning the duel would allow Yiroaki Hura to claim the title of the Greatest. How he’ll fit all those titles together in a way that makes any sense is anyone’s guess.


Update #69

A Week at GDC and Ruffles Survives Contact with a certain Orc Warchief

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Hiro & Ed during GDC 2014
Hiro & Ed during GDC 2014

Last week was a busy one. A few of us at Project Phoenix got the opportunity to attend the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The convention provided a chance to meet our peers in the industry. One of the most notable people we met up with was Ed Fries, who had given us much encouragement during the Kickstarter.

As some of you may be aware, Ed has made video games for the Atari system in the 1980s before joining Microsoft and being part of the early team at Microsoft Game Studios. Needless to say, Ed has a huge amount of industry knowledge and we’re thankful for the thoughts and advice he gave us at GDC. With his support comes much pressure on us to deliver a gaming experience that captures the imaginations of JRPG fans and transports them into the rich and vibrant world we’ve sculpted. So for that, we’d like to give Ed another shoutout because his support means so much to us as we move forward onto our next milestone!

Ruffles vs the Warchief
Ruffles vs the Warchief

You can also say that no trip to California for games-related purposes is ever complete without a visit to Blizzard’s offices down in Irvine. While we weren’t able to take many pictures, we did get the chance to let Ruffles go toe to toe with the Warchief. Or a proxy of Ruffles anyway. That she came out of the battle in one piece while chipping away at the Orc’s health bodes well for how she’ll do once she joins Marcus and the rest of the party! 


Update #68

Stern Family Matters – Spotlighting Aurelia

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Aurelia Stern, First Princess of Izaria, aka the Fanged Wolf of Izaria
Aurelia Stern, First Princess of Izaria, aka the Fanged Wolf of Izaria

From our previous post where we talked about Belzar Stern, Marcus’s twin brother, you’ll have gotten a taste of what the Stern family dynamics are like and what personalities you can expect to encounter as you play through the game. There’s no doubt that the bond that exists between the twins is strong. While the two lived out their boyhood, getting into the kinds of mischief that children often get themselves into, there was always someone not far away to keep a close eye on them. That person is none other than their older sister, Aurelia Stern.

Aurelia Stern is the eldest of King Magnus Stern’s children and holds the title of First Princess of Izaria. This title comes with much responsibility: she is in command of the outpost of Fort Denathas where she spends much of her time defending the people against the white wolves that come from the Bloodpass to raid human settlements. She does her job exceptionally well and wears her long cloak made of wolf pelts proudly as it is a testament to the many wolves she’s slain to protect humanity.

As a leader, Aurelia is demanding. Her training methods are brutal; she sets routines that others have described to be unnecessarily grueling. As a result, the men under her command will always be in peak physical condition to defend against any foe that dares approach, but they will obey more out of fear than out of love. None dare defy her however, as to do so means to cross her sharp blade or her cold, sharper fury which will quail even the stoutest heart. Her allies will refer to her out of fear and admiration as the Bloodpass Witch; foes call her the Fanged Wolf of Izaria.

To Aurelia, nothing is more important than protecting her family, especially her two younger brothers. This is what motivates her to push herself and those around her so hard. So when she heard that Marcus opted to join the Templars, she tried to dissuade him, but to no avail. The relationship between Marcus and Aurelia still endures as Aurelia’s love for her siblings supersedes all other priorities and Marcus sees her as someone who’s dependable, even if he feels a bit uneasy and intimidated while around her.


Update #67

Stern Family Matters

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For many an RPG hero, family isn't something that’s often on their minds, assuming it’s even mentioned at all. But for Marcus Stern, the Second Prince of the Kingdom of Izaria, it represents a bond that has gone through much stress and strain.

As we mentioned early on in Project Phoenix, Marcus’s family never did fully approve of his decision to join the Templars. But as distant as the relationship between Marcus and his family is, it has never frayed completely.

Much of this can be attributed to their shared history which binds them all. Since Marcus was young, his mother had been a figure that he could look upon as a pillar of support. His father, King Magnus Stern, though not unkind, was oftentimes busy with affairs of state, and so, he and Marcus have maintained a respectful relationship, but the two aren't especially close.

If there’s anyone with whom Marcus shared a strong connection early on in life, it would be Belzar, Marcus’s fraternal twin brother, seen here in a drawing by Gontaro.

Belzar Stern, Prince of Izaria
Belzar Stern, Prince of Izaria

As the heir-apparent to the Kingdom of Izaria, Belzar has had to learn the art of ruling and how to navigate the politics that define Izaria’s existence on Azuregard. It is a duty that Belzar takes seriously, studying and training for the day that will eventually come. Thankfully, his measured personality, a sharp contrast to Marcus’s impulsiveness, means he’s more than up for this task.

Although Marcus and Belzar have not seen each other in quite some time, the enduring bond these twins share still hold. This means the thought of family is never too far off from Marcus’s mind as he travels around Azuregard, even if he would never say so out loud.


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