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Project Phoenix is a JRPG with a squad based RTS game design, brought to you by veteran developers and creators from the East and West.
Project Phoenix is a JRPG with a squad based RTS game design, brought to you by veteran developers and creators from the East and West.
15,802 backers pledged $1,014,600 to help bring this project to life.

Release... the Kraken!

Posted by CIA, Inc. (Creator)

Dear Project Phoenix backers,

As always, thank you for being patient with us. 

I'd like to first share with you some of our progress and updates about what we're doing, then ideas and dilemmas we have of our First Act.

News and Updates

Meeting table
A friend of mine has helped us make a great meeting table for us. From now on, this table will serve us well to hopefully make great decisions and meetings on how to make Project Phoenix better and speed its way to completion. We chose a rounded table in traditional Japanese thinking of having a well rounded relationship with everyone.

Asami moves in to the CIA studio
One of our main illustrator, Asami Hagiwara has moved into our office from September for better communication and teamwork. She will be sitting in front of our Project Manager, Rie Tanaka, so she will be less inclined to sleep and dream of cats. We're planning to start designing more in-game characters. We will be contacting backers who have paid for character designs soon to start work on them and bring them to life in-game.

View of the studio
View of the studio

Our studio's schedule for this month.

  • Finish off unannounced mobile game for a publisher due end of this month
  • QA / bug test a game for another publisher
  • Prepare for a concert in Tokyo for "I am Setsuna" on the 4th of October
  • Help several projects with Audio pre-production phase

In terms of Project Phoenix, we would like to achieve the following:

  • Create and establish a pipeline for designing backer characters
  • Decide on the scenario for Acts One and Two
  • Start work on audio designs / musical cue list

Creative input wanted!

We would now like to share with you a portion of the story from Project Phoenix. We'd like to have feedback since although we feel what we decided on is the right thing, it may necessary not be something everyone would agree with. It's important to have a consensus of some sort to keep our "sense" about.

If you do not want spoilers, please do not read below.
Some information from the excerpt below shed light on background that may be hard to find in the game itself or even not be mentioned at all.


The First Act concentrates on "The Kingdoms of the Far Realms", an area dominated and controlled by three human kingdoms, Izaria, Gilrock and Chrondoria. The story starts with the unceremonious fall of Ruffles and the subsequent conflict between our main protagonists on how her fate should be decided.

The Kingdoms of the Far Realm
The Kingdoms of the Far Realm

The protagonists make their way to Cordo, currently we are toying around with the idea that Cordo is assaulted by the Kraken during their visit. The Kraken is drawn by Ruffles and her coming into contact with a certain artefact.

The Kraken in Project Phoenix, is a little different in comparison to other Krakens from popular literature. The origin of the Kraken used to be that of an island city, wealthy to the point that it's citizen has started practice luxury in excess, with disrespect to all kinds of life, and infidelity its norm. When the people reached the lowest point in their depravity, the Angels rained death from the skies and burned the city to the ground. With the combined anguished screams of thousands of souls, the Old Ones awoke. Filled with vengeance towards the Angels that almost wiped out their existence, the Old Ones used their powers to turn the island city of the dead into a living monstrosity. Thus becoming the Kraken, it prowls the dangerous seas in bidding of the Old Ones.

Early concept of the Kraken
Early concept of the Kraken


Concept details of the Kraken and its inspirations
Concept details of the Kraken and its inspirations

The Kraken was originally going to be introduced in Act Three at Fisherman's Bay. However, we felt the need to drive the story and give the players a sense of urgency to find their quest and complete their journey.

The maw of the Kraken
The maw of the Kraken

The objective of the first act is for the player to gain a good grasp of the world in Project Phoenix, an introduction to the state of Azuregard. However the purpose and drive to the story would weaken due to the fact that wandering through the far realms just to get to Airaurdrenn (Elven City) isn't exciting enough. So Yoko and my idea was to smash up the first city you arrive (after, of course, being able to play tourist) and bring drive and urgency to the journey by sending the Kraken and its minions into Cordo. Smashing up a city, of course, would cost a lot of funds to achieve, but the dev team in general think it's worth it.

What do you think of introducing the Kraken early on? We understand we are only giving a partial glimpse at the story, but we would like your feedback based on the knowledge of this update. Do you like your RPGs to start with a bang or start slowly?

Please let us know! Your feedback will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for reading our update, and see you all in two weeks time.

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix


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    1. Darmin Hadzic on

      The idea behind the origin of the Kraken makes me feel like it should be intruduced earlier, but not a threat disposed of early or easily. Almost like something that will stalk a player when they enter a body of water larger than a lake.

    2. Glen Proko on

      I think encountering the Kraken early is okay as long as it doesn't give away too much of the story development and NPCs of the town acknowledge it before it happens (such as the "rumour chat" etc). But I leave that in your hands.

      Thank you for the update. Please keep them coming.

    3. BlackGauntlet

      @Mark LeMire
      "However, if you do release it early"

    4. Missing avatar

      James Richards on

      Great news about the table guys! You know what I'd really like to hear about? A refund.

    5. Missing avatar

      Mark LeMire on

      Releasing the Kraken early on is an interesting idea since it's not the main antagonist, right? I recall it was a bonus stage at first.

      However, if you do release it early, then something that I think should happen is the villagers should talk about it. We can listen to the rumors of how it came to be, what it is, etc. If there is a big threat, then it should be on people's minds. Maybe drop some hints in the prologue as well before it destroys the village

    6. Missing avatar

      Pratchet on

      I like an exciting hook but not too much in the beginning. Maybe if the kraken was encountered at the beginning and to show how impact-full it is on the world it destroys Cordo as stated. A small conflict with the PCs happens and then it retreats or drifts away or the PCs flee and the lack of Ruffles causes it to leave. Then you can have it come back with a bang in Act 3 where it will both mean something to the player and characters. It also doesn't feel right to completely do away with something so intense so early.

    7. Michael St. George Matatics

      With regard to the story developing by "starting off with a bang", and if I personally prefer it to it starting off slow: yes and no. I like a story to have some momentum early on, a minor threat or general danger, something that is just enough for a call to action yet nothing too disruptive so as to throw off balance any character development, which imho is best developed in a low-octane situation as first, and only significantly later in a highly tumultuous scenario. So maybe use some kind of "soft bang" to start us off with, saving the sleeper threat in the Kraken for a near-mid-game introduction, about 35–50% of the way through. My 2¢.

    8. RocK_M on

      Soooo... is that offer to visit the studio atAkiba still standing? =P
      I'm in japan for the week and obviously Akiba is amust visit....

    9. Jasae Bushae on

      That seems like a fairly good approach to things. Personally I prefer a slow build up, but without a major villain early on, the story can come off as a bit weak without something to build around. So failing a 'first disc boss' introducing the Kraken early on seems like the smart choice in terms of story.

    10. Jason Aronow on

      I think something big and exciting is a good way to get the player excited in what's going on right away. Also if there's some kind of way to pin it on the player. Like getting blamed for the attack by someone framing you for stealing the artifact and then it's like you're on the run. That's way you're super motivated to travel around.

    11. Junyi Chen on

      I'm liking the Kraken. Something to introduce early on as a surprise world building exercise that sets the theme for many conflicts in the future. That would be a take that players would love to see.

    12. Jeremy Rieske on

      It's an interesting idea, having a showcase of a/or the big bad early on to propel you forward and an idea of what's to come. But a lot depends on how it's introduced, and not knowing the story I don't have much more of an impression than that.

    13. Shepard on

      Is this a joke? I thought April was 5 months ago. Who the heck cares about your unannounced mobile project? I thought you took our money to make a game for us?

    14. Jak

      It might be too much of a beginning start to the story, but it is quite the interesting one. I personally would have it at any point but the beginning but I trust your ideas. It is your game you are making, so feel free to do what you want with what you already have in mind for the story plan of the entire game.

    15. Jak

      I think the kraken idea is SUPER awesome and a good turn away from classic ideas of krakens, and is also more than just a new design, but heavily story impacted. I love it.

    16. Falkon Swiftblade on

      I like the idea of walking into an environment like in some of the final fantasy games where there are huge creatures roaming about that could wreck you instantly if you did not respect them, then later end game you can fight them for great loot. Maybe use the kraken as a choke point if you wander too far or too fast it devours you until you gain an item to allow passage.

    17. Missing avatar

      floorislava on

      We are sorry to announce that our carpenter has other obligations and the table project will be put on hold until we find another carpenter.

    18. Jonathan Robertson

      I like the idea of the kraken showing up earlier and destroying a city. Doing so will make the game world feel more alive, I think. It also gives the impression that the people of this world and all they've worked for (building cities, shops, livelihoods, etc) are all at risk of being annihilated at a moment's notice. Further, I imagine this will place extra pressure on the player to not take the towns he/she encounters for granted - all those shops/items/side-quests(?) could be gone as soon as the next bit of story progresses.

    19. Sherri Johnson Tucker on

      Kraken is a Sentient Cthulhu Island.

      That's a new one.

      Does the Ctulhu Island also have a Race of Lovecraftian People and/or animals living on it? Cause that would be kinda crazy and/or cool.

    20. Missing avatar

      _Arn0_ on

      I like the regular updates.
      I like the Kraken idea like my fellow backers (following the positives feedback).
      I may suggest a small idea such as heroes could help rebuild the city with optional sides quests :) my 2 cents :D
      Looking forward the next update !

    21. Missing avatar

      Jesse Wang on

      I like introducing the Kraken early on, similar to the introduction of Sin in FFX. I found Sin's introduction to be an effective tool for driving the story and hooking the player.

      I appreciate your transparency on what's happening in the CIA studio. I also understand that you need to pay your employees and the bills with other projects. I have already burnt out all my anger and disappointment knowing that my initial monetary contribution has not reaped any benefit for 3 years now, possibly even 5 years.

      With all that said... I found the comment about the table to be completely off topic and damaging. I get it, the table is in the photo so you wanted to talk about it. You would've been better off omitting that comment and letting the photo speak for itself. Spending a paragraph talking about a table lessens my confidence and those of other backers that you're taking this project seriously.

      Everything else about this post was awesome. If possible can we see some more video content next time?

    22. Sterling Treadwell

      Oh and where I said Mixed Mind.. I should clarify (for my below post)

      I mean.... I really don't want to see and know much of anything about an ultimate evil straight off the bat. don't "jump the shark" just to get the story flowing, so to speak. I'd rather have the kracken island always shrouded in a layer of fog/mist and when it hits it's really hard to know or see what the heck is going on. You could even have the fog have a mind control effect and once it covers the town the residents just hypnotically walk over and climb onto the island, abandoning the city with no trace of why. Hearing stories of that, and then seeing it (and being unable to stop anyone from leaving) would be freaky... and if written well enough, could draw a gamer in with a bit of mystery. You could still have residents from the island attack as they search through the city for stragglers, making the moment and gameplay even more exciting) . Like having the player trying to chase the crowd of townfolk as they recede into the mist towards the docks, and keep gettin delayed by ambush attacks, only to finally hit the dock and barely see the island slide away and hear the most godawful sound echoing off the water.

      I love the air of mystery and 'not knowing' so that as I proress through the game there is all these possibilites in my mind and i'm engaged trying to figure out whats actual truth in folks dialogue, and what is just "popular gossip" .

    23. Sterling Treadwell

      I'm of a mixed mind. In terms of story telling, if you start off with letting us see and explore that first town, and then destroy it, I would hope you really make it feel like a living breathing place and allow some smaller sub quests to let us get attached. Personally what I would prefer is letting that town be the newb starter area, let us grind and quest and gear up for a bit (maybe a good 1-2 hours if we like) so we begin to get that feeling of comfort and familiarity. We learn the townsfolk, understand the basic culture, norms, and philosophy of the people and THEN crash it to all hell. If you just have us arrive, check a few shops, walk to a trigger spot (like talk to the town leader) and then destroy the town (or worse, destroy it while we're out of town on a quest, only to find it wrecked on return) before we have any real emotional attachment to anything about the town, be it comfort for gameplay and familiarity, or actual attachment to characters, the impact and significance of destroying it is greatly reduced and we'll be more akin to " oh no.. it killed.. umm. THAT guy.. sorry umm.. whatever your name was..." and then move on.

      I'd also love to take your idea and spin it slightly so that the kraken remains a manifestation of the old ones and they power this moving island, but that the survivors of the original city the angels destroyed actually live on the island, are now deranged cannibals, and much later in the game we discover all the people missing or .. mostly missing.. are actually captured by the deranged ones and brought to the center of the island for cooking and eating. If someone the player was particularly fond of (like a child from a town) ends up missing it adds a horriffic and emotional reason to catch up to the kraken to rescue them, and then to try and stop the kraken. (actually following this logic, the kraken itself could be more an unspoken or mostly forgotten myth and folk just know it as a "moving island of the damned" that no one dare go near or land a ship on, with loads of ghost stories of ships and sailors gone missing for some reason). You could also have the kracken feel on the residents on the island (be is psychic energy or vitality) and they are not actually cannibals but just abdust people to add to their ranks. taken down or sending the elder gods(the kracken) to rest becomes a huge battle to cleanse the people of the island, a weird insane menagerie of warriors and farmers and thieves knights driven mad and trying to bring you into their ranks.... that'd be a hell of a quest...

      Ok so i am twisting your original idea into something far more horrific and evil.. but... since you only gave us a sliver, I am speculating. Personally, having a "big bad evil" lurking in the game, be it the main goal, or a side one layered with other plot, doesn't do much unless there is a way to really up the stakes, add some twists,m and make it original and interesting.

      Long story short: make us care about that first town before wrecking it with the kracken. If possible really flesh out the kracken island and maybe make it more than a boogeyman.

    24. Nathan Radsavanh on

      As most have said introducing a threat early on in the game CAN be good depending how it's handled I.e. What type of feeling do you want to create for the player as well as the characters involved in said catastrophe and whether or not this threat is always chasing the player/reminding them in intervals that "oh shit this thing is way too powerful how will I beat it" kinda thing. The element of surprise is always good as well.
      I find a lot of games are afraid to start off slow and build up for fear of players losing interest but that's highly understandable, personally, I don't mind the slow start where you're allowed to absorb and world build.
      I didn't fully read the kraken draft (because I'm not a fan of spoilers :p) but I know enough from skimming bits and going through the comments.
      I'm an advocate of the kraken showing up early just so long as it keeps building from there and is handled well throughout the game.

    25. Jussi Myllyluoma

      If the Kraken is just a backdrop; a random force of nature that happens to destroy the city the player is in for the sake of colour and not really a major element of the story, it's existence needs to be made plain very early — because it is something the inhabitants of this world would be aware of, and it should thus not come as a surprise.

      It also needs to be made clear that this IS a random part of the background, and not something the players should focus on, because people WILL want to se Sin in this entity...

    26. Chris Porter on

      Starting off with a bang, after a leisurely intro section, can work well. Xenogear's opening village of Lahan gets destroyed during a giant mech fight right after you've had the chance to explore it and get to know its inhabitants. That worked really well, I think.

    27. Missing avatar

      Keith McCoy on

      Recurring villains are frequently a nice addition to games if they are done thoughtfully. It's nice to introduce it early, so long as the threat of it happening again is always looming.

    28. DUN on

      A GUNDAM poster!!! Cool~

    29. Robert Stewart on

      I strongly agree that there should be more player motivation early on than "explore the world" - one of the things Final Fantasy X did well was having a clear motivation for the characters to take their journey (Yuna's pilgrimage) - and one of the strongest scenes of the game comes early on with the aftermath of Sin's attack on Kilika.

      Of course, the Kraken isn't being set up as the big bad the way Sin was, but it's still a good design choice to introduce a force-of-nature enemy early in the game that players aren't intended to beat at the time (though having scope to grind to ludicrous levels, having a sufficiently open combat system that some corner cases can be exploited, or having a high enough skill element in combat could allow some players to do so) that they can later defeat when they've progressed enormously, but it hasn't - it gives the players a tangible sense of progress where smoothly progressing from beating up level 1 rats to level 99 demons doesn't.

    30. Kethrian on

      The origin of the Kraken is very different and intriguing. If its attack on the city is supposed to be the climax of the first act, I think it brings a grand scope to things. Of course, being this early in the game, the heroes should be too weak to fight it off, and only able to fight their way out and escape.

    31. Missing avatar

      Aegis on

      I personally don't mind an RPG starting slow as long as the payoff is good in the long run.

    32. Missing avatar

      ths on

      "Finish off unannounced mobile game for a publisher due end of this month" ... I'm fairly certain that this KS campaign just financed a game studio that will never follow through on it's original intention.

    33. Chaiyut Asawameiteerungroj on

      Great update and response regrading to backers' request.

    34. Missing avatar

      Neo on

      Thanks for the update! :)

    35. Missing avatar

      Daniel Albuschat on

      I want a bang start for my RPGs. Slow starts will let the game idle in my steam library forever.

    36. Nico Maas on

      I think it is a good idea to start a cool story with a "bang!".
      It gets the player into the game faster and creates tension and the feeling of "being needed" :)

    37. Missing avatar

      Marcus on

      My thoughts are this - it's fine to have a strong reveal early on in the story, so long as the plot isn't playing its best cards right out of the gate. I love a good hook that leaves me wondering what the heck is going on, but also gives me a clear sense of direction and threat.

      I think back on my first play-through of Tales of Symphonia, which generally can be divided into 3 acts. The majority of the first act went through the same paces as what you described here - the player spends a long time exploring Sylvarant on a fairly basic mission, learning about the state of the world while they tend to a checklist of dungeons to visit. For me, this didn't get boring because there were sprinkles of hints throughout the first act that something bigger was going on, without revealing anything substantial until just before the flight into the new world.

      On a very similar note, I look at Tales of Vesperia. Things are moving along all fine and dandy until the final act when it's suddenly WHOOPS SPACE OCTOPUS. There were small hints of its existence earlier on, but it really felt like it came out of left field and left an almost comical feeling in me for a situation that was supposed to be dire.

      So there are definite benefits to revealing the Kraken in Act 1. That being said, it can also lead to disappointment if the Kraken is a red herring. My last example is Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, which also opens with a fairly big bang when black holes start appearing everywhere and generally make the world less fun for its inhabitants to live in. Cool, let's go stop them, right? Sure, right after this 40 hour side-quest that involves us trekking across the world to fix all this other stuff and oh wait, this is the main plot guys. What happened to the black holes again? Oh right, to be continued.

      Anyway, as somebody who hardly ever comments on Kickstarter projects, I wanted to let you know that I do appreciate the promise of more rapid updates. To be honest, I consider this project my roughest investment. Every time this project pops into my mind, I'm reminded of how many years have already gone by since it first began, and the hype that I felt at the time. Every project that I've backed since then has been accompanied by a tinge of caution and regret.

      That being said, I maintain hope, and am glad to finally see things picking up again. It's good to see the team's steadfast dedication to push through to the end. It's been challenging and a little awkward getting here, but I look forward to hearing more from you all, and hope for a solid 2017 for Project Phoenix.

    38. Eraciel Losareth on

      @CIA Inc,

      Hey ! Great update. Like a lot of People, I like my RPG when they start with a astonishing event. To give you an example, Final Fantasy Type-0 is one of my favorite RPG, and it's beginning is way far from being slow !
      I love the idea of the Kraken, and I only want it to be explorable AND a boss ! I mean, what's more enjoyable than fighting to death with a litteraly city sized flying monster ? A lot of things, but this , this must be really enjoyable !
      Don't give up hope with these sad clowns asking for refunds and spitting on the whole team work.

    39. Olivier Lebeau-Paradis on

      Things are finally starting up (Really late but at least it's something.) and obviously the first few comments are almost all negative without any useful feedback.

      I think this Kraken is interesting enough that it would be good to introduce him as early as possible as long as it's only a quick look. Urgency in RPG is pretty much up to the player since usually time only advance as you advance the story but at least it helps that you know there is something going on. So that seems like a good idea to me.

    40. Missing avatar

      Richard Dardano on

      Thank you for the update. Regular updates like this will help instill confidence from your backers. In regards to the Kraken, I agree that starting with an inciting event is a strong motivator for the player to push forward. Do you still plan on having the Kraken appear in act 3? I like the idea that the heroes are forced to act because of the Kraken in act 1 and then continue to be hounded by it throughout the journey. I guess that was sort of Ultros' function in FFVI, but that doesn't mean you can't work something similar...

    41. Missing avatar

      Baert Primael on

      That's the most expensive table I ever buy! For someone else......

    42. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Michael Gustin >>
      Hi Michael, thank you for your comment.

      We've written the whole story, but it doesn't start with the Kraken. The idea came up last week with a meeting with Yoko and we're just asking for ideas.

      I'm sorry if my writing and description of the Kraken sounds like a badly written draft but artists don't concept on badly written drafts overnight. My apologies for making it sound like that.

      Hiroaki Yura
      Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

    43. Missing avatar

      Ethaesean on

      Up to this point I was fine with everything happening as it seemed like things were 'on track', even if it meant another 3 years from now. However, this sounds like the only story (heart of the game) which has been created is just a few paragraphs someone wrote up late last night in order to produce an update to the fan base.

      I was thinking the only delays was going to be production related such as graphical, audio, musical score, etc. To hear there isn't even a story written is beyond ridiculous.

      How can you even justify putting this onto Kickstarter without a very rough draft written out? I'm guessing this is probably why there aren't companies trying to help this game take off because there is nothing for you to pitch to them.

    44. FifthDream on

      I personally like when a game starts with something exciting happening, maybe jumping right into a battle (good opportunity for a tutorial), introducing a couple of characters, etc, and then after a little bit of this, backs off and goes into a slow story introduction that then sets up the rest of the game. I feel like this immediately grabs me and gets me into the game, and then allows me to relax and concentrate on the beginning oif the story without feeling anxious to get into the action.

    45. chazlander on

      Thats a nicer table than what they could have gotten with their ask of 100k.

    46. David Hood on

      Nice table. So... you raised over a million, and now you have a nice table.

      Things are looking up then.

    47. Missing avatar

      n0ah on

      I backed this shit three years ago.. Estimated date back in 2013 was March 2015, hahaha... What the actual fuck?

    48. LZRFACE on

      Great update, more like this please!

    49. Link4lyfe on

      At this point I just want a refund. I'll buy it whenever it does eventually come out... But you don't even have a pipeline or scenario at THIS point? I have lost all faith.