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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.

Leveling, Skills, and Squad Tactics

Posted by CIA, Inc. (Creator)
1 like

Greetings Gamers!

You’ve helped us to raise half a million dollars only five days after launch. Thank you all for your support, and help in spreading the word.

Some of you may have already seen the interview that was uploaded yesterday involving our director, Hiroaki Yura. I recommend that you check out the DualShockers interview, as it is well done and may provide you with additional information about the game.

Please be aware that the following gameplay will be going through extensive playtesting; not just by us, but by our Kickstarter Developers, Alpha Testers, and Beta Testers be included. If we find out a mechanic does not work the way we intended, we will modify or change it completely for the betterment of the game.

Leveling & Skills

We are still deciding on a level cap between levels 80 – 100. Each level cap offers their own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. We don’t want to make the cap to high to where you have to needlessly grind the last 20 levels just to max out. We want our content to match your level, and provide you with a challenging yet fulfilling experience.

Leveling will work similarly to other RPGs. When you obtain a set amount of experience, you gain a level, and your stats increase. You will also gain a skill point that you can apply to one of two skill trees. We are not yet certain if you will receive a skill point upon gaining a level, or every two levels, etc. Either way, our intent is that it not be possible to max on each skill tree, even after reaching the level cap. This should provide multiple ways of customizing each character for any specific role that you require of them.

Character Classes

Although each class will start off with similar basic abilities, each will have their own different set of unique skill trees. We have announced four playable classes so far: Templars, Paladins, Pathfinders, and Battle Mages. More detailed information on Classes will be announced in future updates.

Squad Formations

During combat, you will control your characters by their appointed squads, and not as individuals. There will be around 10 playable characters on the field at any given time, and it will be up to you to maximize the party’s effectiveness to defeat the enemies. Any way that you choose to accomplish this is your decision.

Example: You create 3 squads for 9 characters. In the first squad you place 3 tanks, the second, 3 ranged, and the third, 3 healers. Then you set up the party formation so that the tank squad faces the enemy, the healer squad stays center to provide support to the other squads, and the ranged squad protects the flanks and rear.

You can mix and match the squads and characters as you wish. Include a tank, ranged, and healer in each squad, and then change their stance to match their role.

Squad Stances & Movements

Stances are applied to each squad, not an individual character. Stances are adjustable AI parameters that your squads will revert to when you are not directly controlling them. We currently are considering implementing three Stances: Aggressive, Defensive, and Stealth. Even while not in combat, your squads will still retain their stances, and actively choose formations and take up the appropriate positions when halted.

The reason for this update is because I want to give you a more clear idea of what we intend our combat system to include. We will finish the art and text for our major gameplay update next week, so I hope this teaser has gotten you excited for more ;)


Hood Rat Entertainment likes this update.


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    1. Missing avatar

      Andrew Gorcester on

      I have to say, I'm a little disappointed at the idea of a straight-up class system, and tying skill points to levels. I feel like both of those things are favoring RPG tropes over realism or game design. Yes, they're de rigor for JRPGs, but do they really make sense? Why not have skill points be decoupled from levels and let people spend skill points to reclass or pull in other class abilities into their own tree? Or get rid of the class concept altogether and let characters have their roles defined by their stats, equipment and skills?

    2. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Thank you to both of you for your honest opinions and continued support.


    3. Seizui on

      @CIA: I noticed right now that many people have made recommendations for you to put updates in your official updates. Most updates that you have made such as the Nobuo video clip and the art update have been on the front page. Keep in mind, you will not be able to update those once that is over.

      They are right. If you want to get more support, you might want to make those official updates. The fact that they're snuck in highlights the lack of proper communication. Use the official updates to show people new stuff such as that.

      And now that you've finally given some clear responses. All I can say is this:

      Welcome to the jungle of crowdsourcing. :)

    4. Devin Fitzpatrick on

      Cronus, thanks for your clear responses. I look forward to the update focused on the characters, when it comes, and further specifics on what those in the developer tier will have access to, and will maintain my pledge and wait until I read them to make up my mind.

      Thank you also for appreciating how important this is to us. I would like to believe in the names and promises behind this Kickstarter, but this is one of the most opaque pitches I have ever seen. Crowdfunding precludes some of the secrecy your team may be accustomed to, which I frankly think will be for the best. The Kickstarter will likely regain some of its momentum once you have more details to offer. Until then, I'll stay tuned.

    5. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      I intend for the Developer forums to be more than a smaller group of backers sitting around speculating on what the game will be ;)

      It seems that I need to include this and other clarifications on pledge details in it's own update, or possible in the FAQ(or both). Stay tuned for additional information this week.


    6. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      @Michael Gebhard
      There will be times, for the sake of the story, that you will be required to have certain main characters in your squads. However, we want your squad make-up to be your decision, and there will be times that all squads can be made up entirely of non-main characters.


    7. Seizui on


      So, I take it that additional details were not thought-out at the moment then. Copy that. Understood.

      Regarding Interaction with the writers, will there be any sort of interaction with them whatsoever? Or will this Developer forum be just a sandbox of over 130 people that have pledged $400 and then some in good faith where ideas may or may not be acknowledged? Sure, you have noted that you take community feedback into account, however, a better definition for the Developer level is needed for people to be on the same page.

      It is true, you are not betraying anyone's trust by not including the entire story. There is no need for that. What is worrying is how much would the 'Developer+ Tier' people factor in within this process? Will there be moments where people will get together with the staff?

      Sure, NDAs is always a good thing. No issues there.

    8. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      @Tyrone Wested
      There will not be any Kickstarter rewards to obtain a copy of the PS4/Vita versions of the game.


    9. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      @Devin Fitzpatrick
      A Kickstarter update involving additional details about the main characters is not planned for this week, but we will be focusing more on that in a later update.

      Concerning access to the writers, we do not plan for there to be direct access to them in the forums. Of course, everyone is free to comment on any aspect of the game, including the story. Our intention is to allow Developers as much access to the game as possible, but I do not believe that we are betraying anyone's trust by not including the entire story. However, I want us to be as flexible to concerns involving the story, so we may be consider NDAs for those interested. Unfortunately, I am unable to promise you anything at this time.


    10. Missing avatar

      Michael Gebhard on

      At most 10 characters sounds for a game where you can fill your rank with customized recruits a bit restricted. If this is going to hinder it depends on how many unique, and story-important
      characters their are at any given moment. At FFT(PS) you had partly like 5 characters on the field and could only freely set one or two with multiple unique characters in the squad, the other slots where fixed.
      So is it like that the additional ({customized} generic) characters additional to the unique or just instead?

    11. Tyrone Wested

      Awesome article. It makes me really glad I'm a backer for this project one thing it confused me about though was PS port. If your deal is finalized will it become an option to receive that version instead of PC?

    12. Devin Fitzpatrick on

      Hiro, it's difficult to understand your broad answers. Respectfully, such vagueness does not inspire confidence that we will be included at a later stage; it gives the impression that we will be held at arm's length at all times. If you simply haven't decided how much you intend to divulge to those in the developer tier, that's fine, but I think it would be better to say so.

      Perhaps distilling the issue into two simple questions would help, if you can answer these.

      1) Will there be a Kickstarter update focused on the central characters so we can get some details about them?

      (Even if you won't say anything about the story, this would help shake the image that the game is Tolkein + anime, and make your claim that you're reincarnating the "essence of the JRPG" more believable. I think it would really help you to make your game's setting stand out more as you seek backing...)

      2) Will those with access to the developer forums have access to the writers, too, or will we just be testing the gameplay?

      (You yourself say that story and characters are more important than gameplay; I agree. So if being in the developer tier is just about testing gameplay, fine, but people might feel deceived unless you say so.)

      Thank you for your time.

    13. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      David De Ost,

      Hi there, indeed the humans are often the ones to be blamed for the evil. However, our game is not about the humans being the root evil, and despite the fallible nature of humans as a race, the evil that truly emanates originates somewhere other than from the human race.

      So I hope that makes you feel happier without us spoiling the story!

      - Hiro

    14. Jussi Myllyluoma

      The interview brought up an important issue: that of voice acting. I hope that the game will allow players to select voice language and text/caption language separately?
      I usually prefer to play games with Japanese audio, and English captions. Games allowing this are alas precious few, but it should be easy enough to implement, yes?

    15. Fimbul on

      Concerning the localization issue from the interview: I'm german and I'm fine with your focus on the english localization, I generally prefer to play my games in english anyway. Please just try to get that one translation right.
      Japanese games and movies are often translated in a way that much of the cultural context is lost.. that's an issue with translations in general, but it's worst with translations from east asian languages. I guess the problem is that you can convey more meaning in one japanese sentence than in one english or german sentence by using context sensitive words which are then translated too literally. I bet the problem works both ways by the way, however those localizations would be much better if the translators would take more time to elaborate on the real point of the message, but narrow time frames or limited text space force a more simple translation, thus media from east asia often seem simple and childish to a western audience... in some cases more than originally intended ;-)

      Hope it's not that big an issue for you, since your team is so cultural diverse.

    16. David De Ost on

      Dear C.I.A., after reading the interview with Yura-san, there is something I'd like to ask. You speak about racism and how the human world is turning into a place ran by xenophobic Templars... can you PLEASE steer away from the "racist humans"-trope? It's hackneyed, clichéd and always so horribly moralizing. In fantasy fames, it's always the humans who are the racists, always humans who are the bastards, always humans who commit transgressions against the superiour and peacful other cultures. Please don't make yet another game that tries to show us that we humans are the root of all evil, because it's done to death and we're all very tired of developers trying to wag their fingers and act moralizing. Thank you! :)

    17. CIA, Inc. Creator on


      We cant "quantify" but all I can tell you is that we will divulge a lot of stuff. It'll be like "Hey guys, look at what we've done. Discuss!" and then really QA starts happening that very moment.

      We love sharing ideas and receiving great ideas from you guys. We've already implemented a lot from the past few days from the KS campaign itself and really enjoying it's effect.

      Sorry I have to keep my answer "broad" but all I can say for now is, you guys will play a large role in the final decision making of the developers!

      Thank you.

      - Hiro

    18. Missing avatar

      Mark LeMire on

      I've noticed through the comments there is some worry about grinding. I'm also a little afraid of it, especially when it's to the extreme that it lessens the enjoyment. How do you intend to keep the battles interesting? Will you keep the pacing consistent so grinding is not necessary but battles are always just right? Will you do like Earthbound (Mother 2) where if you are "too strong" there isn't even a battle?

    19. Seizui on

      CIA: Could you quantify as far as the information that will be devulged? Pretty much, I would like to know as for quantitative purposes of what will the DEVELOPER tier get. Sure, lots of information and access to the developer forums, I get that. However, that's pretty blanket.

      First, let's go to Developer(person or organization that develops something); breaking it down further (expand, evolve, unfold)

      What we know that we are not getting:
      * Story Information (Okay, cool, no need to spoil)

      What will we get?
      * Character information in further detail (non-spoiler aspects)?
      * Will there be information as far as the history of these locations?
      * How much time will we even get with the story writers to know what direction they plan to go?
      * Will there be polls for the developers to be like: 'okay, this idea sounds cool.' or 'no, no bueno'
      * Will there be any moments for inputs as developers that will be taken into account? If so, what aspects? Gameplay? Geography?

      In all honesty, I can already tell that the story writers and such have something in mind for the tale already. That's cool, there is no need to take away from that. The issue is there is no quantifier on where do the DEVELOPER TIER folks fall in with this creative process. Outside of getting their money, what value would developer input come in?

    20. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      @Devin Fitzpatrick

      To clarify what I mean is that we will not releasing the entire plot, and all aspects of the story. Developers will be receiving be a vast amount of information on all aspects of the gameplay.


      Sent from iPhone

    21. Matthew Mather on

      "We are still deciding on a level cap between levels 80 – 100. Each level cap offers their own set of unique advantages and disadvantages. "

      Whenever I read this kind of thing I'm reminded of two things: the "turn it up to eleven" sketch in Spinal Tap, and the traditional Final Fantasy cap of 99. I'm reminded of the first because the numbers ultimately don't represent a fixed value but a sliding value which is adjusted. If you set the level cap at 10, that just means that Ten Is The Most Powerful. If you set it to eleven... well you understood the point of the sketch, right?

      The Final Fantasy cap of 99 in most of the classic FF games represented a ridiculous number that would never be achieved by going through the plot normally, and you could even beat all of the extra sidequests and megabosses without achieving level 99. Ultimately it was there mostly because of physical memory limits, like many game variables. (In Ultima VII, Strength had a limit of 255 because that was 11111111 in binary.)

      Basically, what I'm saying is that I think it would be good to have the artificial cap be at least several dozen levels higher than what is needed to beat the Final Boss of the main plot. This leaves plenty of room for adding Bonus Dungeons, Weapon-style optional bosses, Monster Bounty Hunts, and other grind-heavy activities for those who want to pursue them. Players who want to enjoy the main plot, characters, and story-heavy sidequests, and consider the Final Boss to actually be final can enjoy that part, and those who have the time to do all the extra level-grinding, high level crafting, animal breeding, et cetera, can go beyond and enjoy that part.

      If you don't get enough KS funds to do a full After The End part of the game, you could do it as an expansion later.

    22. Vince Vazquez

      Man, do I love strategy games like XCOM, Fire Emblem and Valkyria Chronicles, so all this is sounding great to me :) The more JRPG/strategy hybrids, the better. Cannot wait to see the next update if it's going to have art and text! If you wanted this teaser update to get me more hyped, you totally succeeded, "Cronus"! :D

      Bring on the Gameplay!

    23. Devin Fitzpatrick on

      Cronus, that's very disappointing. You're asking us to take on faith that a light novelist who has, to my knowledge, never been translated into English -- so we can't gauge her ability -- can break the mold with a story that sounds like the same old shenanigans: save the Tolkein-esque world with a troubled hero and a cutesy amnesiac.

      I'm not asking for spoilers. I'm asking for an indication that there's anything to spoil. What are some interesting and unique details? What makes these characters stand out? What does this story do that others don't? What isn't generic? With no further information, it doesn't sound like you *won't* reveal the story's depth, it sounds like you *can't*, because there isn't any.

      I'm in theory willing to spend $400 for the opportunity to glean further insights. Can you meet us halfway and at least do an update about the characters, to show you have what it takes?

    24. Seizui on

      @CIA : Well then, if the story will not be released to the KS Developers, what /WILL/ the Developers side get? Aside from parts of the zones and dungeons to test the game, what exactly will they be privvy to? While the exact story is something that you want to keep, what about concepts and ideas that is being considered to implement into the aesthetics of the game?

    25. Seizui on

      @Nathan Sanchez: Huh, aka "Quality assurance means nothing to me, just take my money"? There is a difference between not wanting spoilers and just wanting to know if they plan to do something outside of the cookie cutter RPG, especially if this is supposed to be the 'rebirth'.

      Essentially, Devin (and I, for that matter), would just like to know if there is any tidbits that'll make the characters seem interesting outside of an infantile (nick)name and cookie cutter premise.

    26. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      As far as releasing the story to KS Developers, we won't. We don't want to spoil any surprises ;)

      Even for Alpha and Beta, we will only releasing parts of zones or dungeons to help us better test the game.


    27. Nathan Sanchez on

      @Hiro: Can I just throw in my two cents regarding revealing the story? Please don't. I'm all for getting to know the universe a little more, but I really don't want to know more than that.

    28. Missing avatar

      Kevin Tom on


      Thanks for taking the time to respond to so many of our questions in such a prompt manner.

      Relating to Devin's question, what kind of access should backers of the Developer tier expect? I understand that you guys already have a solid plan regarding game mechanics and story, so I'm curious as to the amount of influence that backers of the Developer tier will have on the final product.

      It's mentioned that we will be assisting in making game development choices, but how will this procedure work? Will it be like a multiple choice-type thing where we cast votes on various choices made by the core dev team, or will we be more integrated into the development process?

      Thank you for your time,


    29. Richard on

      Looking forward to getting a bit more gameplay info soon. That's going to be the deciding factor for me between giving $120 or staying with my $1.

    30. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Devin Fitzpatrick,

      I am still unsure about how much we will open up to Developer in terms of the story at this time. The story will be developed by myself, Yoko Enoki and Bill Benfield as we try to strive to find a great balance of Japanese and Western elements of writing.

      Perhaps we will reveal up till the first two acts? I'm not sure. The only thing I can tell you at this time, is that we can show you the process!

      We too feel the Story is extremely important. Please rest assured that the story is of paramount importance to us.

      - Hiro

    31. Devin Fitzpatrick on

      Hiro, thank you very much for responding to me personally. As someone pledged to the Developer tier, will access to the developer forums allow me to interact with the writers for the game and learn more details about the story and characters without it being spoiled for the rest of the backers? Making the medium of the JRPG suitable for modern storytelling is an ideal dear to my heart, and I would like to see the process first-hand, as well as offer helpful constructive criticism, if I can.

    32. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Alexei Blackman,

      Trust me, each character will feel very valuable!

      - Hiro

    33. Missing avatar

      Alexei Blackman on

      i was kind of hoping the combat would be more like final fantasy tactics that just feels more liek each character is unique and valuable to me

    34. Jonathan Cook on

      Could you include a soft reset feature just for old times' sake? When I play an old game and I can press L1+R1+L2+R2+Select+Start to return to the title screen, it really brings me back.

    35. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      We've actually come to a decision fairly quickly. There will not be a minimum limit to the amount of characters in each squad. So if you want to have your character alone in his own squad, you will be able to :)


    36. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Devin Fitzpatrick,

      Hi Devin, we cannot go into Story in detail for that very reason. It is very difficult and hard to handle. We are still refining the story as we speak, and if you cannot pledge by us giving you our intentions and the values we believe in, I suggest that you buy the game after release ONLY after you read or hear reviews that satisfy you.

      Also, if we show you the story now, it will be a big spoiler for everybody. I don't plan on showing the full story to all the backers. They may get some or parts of the story, but that'll be it.

      As you can see, we are responding to the majority now, and the majority of people are asking for more explanation to the gameplay. I am sorry I could not cater to your question sufficiently but I hope you understand our position.

      - Hiro

    37. Devin Fitzpatrick on

      The DualShockers interview was very interesting, thank you. As the director said he wanted to return to the essence of the JRPG, it was good to see him go into more detail.

      Here is my question: when are you going to go into more detail about the story and characters? Mr. Yura claims that the essence of the JRPG is its characters and their story, but that is what we know the least about; right now we're getting information on the game mechanics, which he says is less important. So far what we see is a Tolkein-esque setting with anime-sounding characters (Ruffles). I can't support a game that goes no deeper than that; there's no way it will live up to his claims. He boldly states that racism is a major theme, but that's much easier said than done; that's a subtle and complex topic. When will we hear details from the writers?

      Adopting squad-based combat is all well and good, but unless the characters and story are significantly deeper than what we see in most RPGs, I doubt it will be possible to realize the essence of the JRPG in a modern form. I need some proof that they are.

    38. Eric Chau on

      Really looking forward to this game!
      A question regarding leveling though.
      Will there be 'grinding' in this game? I ask because it seems to be a stable for many JRPGs and it is one aspect I hate the most in any game. I don't have as much time as I use to and I hate using it to endlessly level up characters so that they are not useless in upcoming battles.
      I know my wife has had to stop playing Final Fantasy XIII because she has reached a point where she needs to start grinding. And she's a huge Final Fantasy fanatic so I'm saddened that she can't enjoy her games anymore.

      Thank you!

    39. Corey Butler on

      I would really love to see Ogre Battle 64 or the Ogre battle series inspired game play, squad management, and combat!

    40. Ale on

      Can't wait for next week then! nice to see the updates comin' :P

    41. Missing avatar

      DN on

      Should've took a screenshot when I saw the pledge at $499 980... was thinking cool, I could pledge $20 now and make it 0.5 mill, until I refreshed the page and saw an extra 3k added.

    42. Missing avatar

      matthew on

      Awesome to hear thanks for the response and keep up the great work. Also nice job with the interview gave some good insights into the maturity of the story. Got me very excited in the non fan service kind of way :P

    43. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      Currently we do not intend to have characters act alone. It's something that we can investigate more as we continue to develop the game, but as of yet it has not been decided on what the minimum character amount will be for a squad.


    44. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      There will be a loot system included in the game. We are still working out what that means for bosses, rare items, etc. We will let you know once we've decided on the system.


    45. RUK LUKTONG on

      Can my main character solo alone? sometime I like to be Great Master hidden somewhere in the world... haha ... :)

    46. Missing avatar

      matthew on

      Not sure if this has been asked or addressed somewhere but will there be a loot system in the game and how deep will it be. So will you find a short sword will it a simple item or will it include affixes or different levels of quality etc... Love what you've shown so far can't wait to learn more.

      good luck

    47. Pitchingace88 - YouTube on

      This is something that is sounding better each and every day that passes! I can't wait to show gameplay and hopefully walkthrough :)

    48. CIA, Inc. Creator on

      @Aelita X Translate
      We're aiming to include much more than 20 hours of gameplay; without doing a speedrun and skipping all the cutscenes, etc ;)


    49. Missing avatar

      meiam on

      Hum the squad thing remind me of bahamut lagoon, that's a really really good thing : )

    50. dragonwanderer on

      General Squad control doesn't sound that good to me. Does that mean it's predominantly hands-off affair for individual characters? :P
      Anyway, if I understand it correctly each squad member will be doing something during combat depending on which slot in formation you put him at the beginning?