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A new Tactical JRPG with collectible cards and craftable dice combined with classic tactical gameplay, rich story, and memorable music.
Coming to PC, Mac, and PS4! A new Tactical JRPG with collectible cards and craftable dice combined with classic tactical gameplay, rich story, and memorable music.
Coming to PC, Mac, and PS4! A new Tactical JRPG with collectible cards and craftable dice combined with classic tactical gameplay, rich story, and memorable music.
6,683 backers pledged CA$ 259,593 to help bring this project to life.

Beta release next week, what’s left to do before release, and EGX Rezzed!

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Hello everyone!

Jason here, taking a break from another 1000h week (that math works, right?), to bring you some Children of Zodiarcs news!

First, THANK YOU!  

First of all, I said this in the comment thread of the Kickstarter campaign a couple days ago but I want to repeat it here for everyone: I really want to thank you all again for the truly amazing support we received since the beginning of this project. We are incredibly lucky to have been backed by such amazing people. Your encouraging words online and in person at shows have really carried us through, especially in these incredibly busy last few weeks. So there you have it, thank you so much for being so supportive.

Where are we at?  

Over the course of the last months, a few people have expressed some concerns regarding when the game would be done in the comments and in private messages. So far, we have tried to keep you all updated on our progress, the current state of things at any given moment, and the work done. However, we have felt that it wasn’t always enough, without really knowing how to be more transparent and reassuring, without being able to provide the official release date.

(*For those of you who are interested in understanding the workings of an evolving first production, and would like to understand better why the game’s release window has changed since the Kickstarter campaign and why we have not announced an official launch date yet, scroll down to the end of this update (after the video)!  
*tl;dr : Thanks to the Kickstarter campaign and Square Enix Collective, we received great opportunities to make the game bigger and better and to have it be distributed professionally by an amazing publisher. Taking these opportunities meant making some changes to our pre-Kickstarter production calendar, and having to coordinate with our publisher before making announcements.

Our participation at PAX East a few weeks ago was enlightening in letting us understand what may be missing. Again this year, a lot of you have come by the booth to have a chat and try out the game. Everyone was super nice, friendly and had fun! But we noticed a pattern. A lot of you came up to us saying something like “So I came to see where the game is at!” And then we realized that although our updates and the details we try to give about our progress helped a lot of people feel that things were moving forward, it may have been hard to use that info to have an accurate perspective on what’s left to do. And we can totally understand that it may not be enough to know that development is happening, since we all know development can be happening… forever. So I’ll do my best today to try to remedy that right now.

What’s done?  

  • The narrative and textual content of the game is 99% done, and most of it is already in the game. It will be entirely finished by next week, when we will be able to go on to localization. And yes, I am happy to confirm that, as planned during the Kickstarter campaign, thanks to reaching that stretch goal, we are working on having English, French, Italian, German and Spanish versions! 
  • The game is feature complete! Our programmers Denis and Camille are all done adding new elements to the game and are now working on minor polish tasks. 
  • All 3D art is done, including all the characters and the levels. Michael has done a great job and I can’t wait for you to see his handiwork. 
  • All the menus and 2D character art are done. 
  • Character animations, music, sound fx, and special fx are progressing swimmingly and will be done in the next few weeks.

So… what’s left? 

Right off the bat, let me say: There’s very little left to do! We are truly in our last sprint. As a matter of fact, we are finishing up our “polish” phase!! 

For those not familiar, that means that pretty much everything is done, but we are making things run smoother and look prettier. We do still have a few assets still in the making, but they are getting finished as I write. *Ding!* Huh? What’s that? Ah! Another VFX is done. (See?) Once this is done the game will move on to testing and debugging. 

And that’s where some of YOU come in! :D 

Beta release! 

YESSS! It is time! All backers who backed at the alpha and at the beta tiers will have access to Children of Zodiarcs’ beta version NEXT WEEK

When you get your hands on it, we hope you will play it ruthlessly, and let us know about all the bugs you encounter. Your participation (especially in the first week following the beta release) will be so helpful to make the game even better. A few placeholders will still stand in for some visual and sound effects, as well as some animations in the beta, but it will be feature and system complete and mostly content complete! A first pass at balancing will have been completed, but we will be using all that delicious information you will be providing us by playing (if you so chose to anonymously share it with us) to do a second pass at it. 

Live stream

Keep your eyes peeled, I will most likely schedule a live stream of the beta once it’s released! 

See you in London! 

 Now back onto the fun stuff! As you *MAY* have heard, we are going to be in London from March 29 to April 1st for EGX Rezzed in London with the rest of the Square Enix Collective crew. If you are in the area, we would LOVE to meet you! :D 

 We will bring a demo which includes a new map and a new character which we have only shown at PAX East so far. So if you want a sneak peek before the beta goes live, come and say hi! 

Thanks again so many times for all your support. Talk to you again very soon in the next update! 

 - Jason 

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Ok, real talk, what’s up with the release date?! 

We understand it, at the end of the day, no matter how much we dissect what has been done, where we are at, how, when and why and all that, despite trying to give as precise a progress bar as we can, a lot of people are waiting for a concrete date! 

 We are sorry we have not been able to reveal it yet, and we understand the frustration of people who want to know. Unfortunately, announcing a release date is not something one can do lightly, a studio only gets one chance at it. But we are aware that if there are frustrations that arise from having to push back a release date, there are also frustrations generated from having to wait for it, and we appreciate the patience most of you have shown regarding this. 

I explained some of the context of our production calendar update in April 2016, but since this current update is all about perspective and the big (and complete) picture, I want to take the time to do an overview of the evolution of our production calendar since the beginning up until now:

 When we launched the Kickstarter campaign, I mentioned in the video that we were expecting to release Children of Zodiarcs in August 2016. This estimation was based on our then budget, plus our Kickstarter goal of $50,000 for some extra content and polish.

However, thanks to all of your generosity, we collected $200,000 more than that! Although not all projects elect to establish stretch goals, when we hit our target after a little less than 2 days, we realized we would get a bigger push than expected (although we were never expecting what happened until the very end!), and we didn’t want to simply sit on the extra money. It made sense for us to use this money to make the game even better than we hoped. And we did. To this day, Children of Zodiarcs went from containing (among other things):  

  • 4 playable characters to 8 playable characters 
  • About 30 different cards to about 110 different cards (majority of which will level up) 
  • No extra narrative content, no random encounters, and no hard mode to… well… extra narrative content, random encounters and a hard mode!
  •  About 8-10 hours of gameplay to about 20 hours.

So thanks to all these extra contributions, Children of Zodiarcs is now twice the size it was originally intended to be (and looks even better). Doubling the content of the game means spending more time on it. After the end of the campaign, we reorganized the production, hired new team members, and figured out that extra $200,000 would give us about and extra 6-8 months to work on the game and add all that content. So that’s why on April 20, 2016, I announced that we would delay the game`s launch window to early 2017.

 With all that support, extra content and polish, another little miracle happened: we ended up signing with Square Enix Collective. This was a great opportunity we simply could not pass. This partnership means that we will get a great deal of very professional support with many ‘post-production’ aspects like Q&A and marketing, which means the funds we put aside to pay for these things could be reallocated to finalizing production.

 Which brings us to now! So why then, might you ask, are we not announcing the release date right now, since it seems to be coming very soon? Well simply because we are currently preparing said announcement! :) Signing with a publisher also meant that during the whole time the negotiations are happening (which for us lasted for a little while), we simply can’t say much. And once it is done, we need to coordinate with our publisher to settle on dates and material for release and also for announcements. And I’m happy to say we are nearing the end of this process!  

So there you have it. Yes, as indies working on our studio's first game, we have had to rescope and reevaluate our schedule. This being said, through the course of this project, it’s not so much misfires that have caused us to significantly change plans, but rather the surfacing of opportunities as we were establishing ourselves as a studio and coming up with material to demonstrate our potential. And I must say… I’m happy about that! Some of us have been in development hell, stuck on projects which stagnate and sometimes die and it’s not fun. But being able to make a small project reasonably grow with a few more months of ressources and know that we will have been able to offer a stronger product to those who trusted us from the very beginning is very exciting!  

Nonetheless, we have heard the voices of those that these changes have made uncomfortable, and we will keep updating you as much as we can to alleviate the wait!

Big News, PAX East 2017, Beta Build Info, and Bunch o'Screenshots!

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Hello hello, backers! 

Jason here. I know it's been a bit quiet here lately, but it's for a good reason. Basically, we're working our butts off getting this game to Beta. Like, really, so much time spent working it's a bit hard seeing straight. But, all gears are pumping, a tidal wave of content is coming in, and we're getting closer and closer to the release. We still need to figure out some logistics regarding console certification, so I'm still hesitant to give a more firm release date. Really, sometimes cert can take a few weeks, sometimes it can take over a month. It all depends on how solid the game is, from a technical standpoint, according to Sony. But, we will have some very good help with helping us have things go smoothly, which brings us to our big news I've been teasing in the comments section.

Big News!

I just saved 15% on my car insurance.*ba-dum tish*

PAX East 2017

Yo! We'll be at PAX East again this year, showing off Children of Zodiarcs. Woo! We met a bunch of awesome backers there last year, so I'm looking forward to seeing some more of you this year! We'll be in booth #16114, so come on down and say 'hi'! Maybe even play the build, where we'll be showing off a new map that wasn't in the Alpha #2. Oh, and to the backer that was cosplaying as Delsin Rowe at last year's PAX, I hope you received your t-shirt :)

Big News!

...ok...this time for real....

Some of you may have heard, or maybe saw this coming, but throughout the production of Children of Zodiarcs, we've had a great relationship with the team at Square Enix Collective. Back in Sept 2014, when the game was called War of Zodiarcs, we announced the game on their platform (n fact, some of you have been following the game since then!). And then with SECol's continued support, we launched this Kickstarter campaign in Jan 2016 to a HUGE success. It was through their support and this KS that I got to meet so many of you, either in comments, Twitch chat, or in person! 

So, our relationship with Square Enix Collective has continued to the point we're at now, where I can proudly and publicly say that we've moved to the next step together; that Children of Zodiarcs will be published by Square Enix Collective. This.... this is really awesome and a dream come true, to be working with the company that made so many of the games we fell in love with. The team at SECol have been awesome and super supportive. Also, CoZ is a direct result of our love for their games, so there's that major point.

Again, this is really awesome and will yield nothing but good things. In case you have some questions, here's some information:

  • Square Enix Europe has a blog post about this announcement: http://eu.square-enix.com/en/blog/collective-publish-children-zodiarcs
  • SECol is not funding the game and is not making any creative decision. This is still a "Cardboard Utopia Joint". We are an indie studio, and SECol truly believes in supporting indies and letting them do what they do. Hell, providing support to indies is one of the big reasons SECol exists. 
  • SECol's publishing means they will help bring visibility to us in the heavily crowded video game scene. There are so many games being released every day, and some of them are really really good, so we would just be a drop in the ocean if we released the game alone. But with SECol publishing us and talking about us, our drop of water will turn into a little ball of ice, and as you know, ice floats, much like a duck, and it's easier to see a ball of ice floating in an ocean, than identify a single drop of water. Gamers that have never known of our drop of water will see our ice ball and pluck us from the ocean. Sure, we might not be the ice ball a particular gamer was looking for, but we may be the one for the next gamer, and that gamer will be happy that we went from the liquid water drop to a floating ice ball. And it would be thanks to a little known process called "Square Enix Collectification"...... yeah, I didn't know where I was going with that metaphor, but I was too afraid to stop.

But yeah, what this partnership with SECol brings us is market visibility, which has become critical these days. Market visibility that we all hope will help us keep this studio running, and hopefully revisit the Children of Zodiarcs universe.

If anyone has any questions or concerns, please ask in the comments and I'll answer everything I'm able to.

Beta Build Info

A lot of you backers picked a reward tier that gets you access to CoZ's Beta. For you, we have a window on when that will be in your hot sweaty hands. Our current plans have the Beta going out to people in the last half of this April. When is it sent out, I'll post another KS update, so keep your eyes on your email inboxes and spam folders for the notification :)

New Screenshots

Lastly, I have several new game screenshots for you. As usual, they're behind a link so those that don't want things spoiled can avoid seeing things their eyes do not wish them to see.

Screenshot gallery here!

Thank you, everyone, and I hope to see some of you at PAX East next weekend!

Art update. Also, want a free copy of Jotun?

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Helloooooooo, backers! How has the new year been for you so far?

Sundered

Here’s the link to their Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thunderlotus/1569490481?token=26e71699

Sundered is a horrifying fight for survival and sanity, a hand­-drawn epic from the creators of Jotun. It is a replayable metroidvania game where you resist or embrace ancient eldritch powers. You play Eshe, a wanderer in a ruined world, trapped in ever­-changing caverns teeming with eldritch horrors. Harness the power of corrupted relics to defeat gigantic bosses, at the cost of your humanity.

As a treat for all of you, Thunder Lotus Games will give you a free copy of their previous game, Jotun, if you back the Sundered Kickstarter within the first 24 hours of the campaign’s launch.

Bonus points to anyone that can correctly count how many times I blink in that video :)

So, if you want to make sure you’re notified the instant Sundered’s Kickstarter goes live, make sure to enable the “Notify me on launch” button! Here’s a trailer for the free game you can get, Jotun. Enjoy!

 Jotun is a hand-drawn action-exploration game set in Norse mythology. In Jotun, you play Thora, a Norse warrior who died an inglorious death and must prove herself to the Gods to enter Valhalla. Available for PC, XBox One, PS4, and Wii U!

Exile and more Toran Characters in 3D!

If you remember from December’s update, we showed off the concept art for the Exiles faction and the Toran Judge and Peace Keeper. Well, since then Michael has finished the 3D art for them. Check’em out! Again, the images are behind links so people that want to be surprised when they first see them in game can avoid seeing them now.

Exiles

Concept art: http://i.imgur.com/AjImCpo.png 

3D Art: http://i.imgur.com/k1CxfwY.png 

The Torans

Concept Art: http://i.imgur.com/5Su41k8.jpg

3D Art: http://i.imgur.com/SE2yaqw.png

Peace out, y'all!

Jason

Big Ole Happy Holiday Content Dump!

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And by holiday, I of course mean Halloween, the greatest holiday ever. Follow the star of Bethlehem to the house that’s giving away those primo chocolate bars. Not those sad little 1inch choco bars, but full sized ones! Score!!

A brand new environment to show?

Yup. The Toran Underground tunnels seem to hold a secret. What could it be? As per usual to avoid not spoiling the surprise when you first see it in-game, I’ve put the concept art and 3D art behind a link.

http://i.imgur.com/RMuItEQ.jpg

A set of new enemy concepts, too?!

Toran Peace Keeper and Judge. These are the magic cannons of the Toran Guards, and will be the bane of everyone playing Children of Zodiarcs. 

http://i.imgur.com/5Su41k8.jpg

The Exiles. Cannibalistic terrors that haunts the Underground. Are they real? Who knows. These are the guys we briefly talked about in the original campaign.

http://i.imgur.com/AjImCpo.png

Whaaaa?!?!?!?! New Toran boss concept and 3D art?!

AAaaaa! Too much!! *head explodes*

*head gibs liquify and reform, a la T-1000*

Hmmm... That wasn’t so bad. But yes, here’s Argon, the Captain of the Toran Guards, that will cross paths with Nahmi during the game’s story.

Concept Art: http://i.imgur.com/EZ8wy8G.png

3D Art: http://i.imgur.com/srqTANY.png

In less art-related news...

Our programmers, Denis and Camille, are working on getting the game running on a certain gaming platform that start with a ‘P’ and end with a ‘4’. *ahem* That's right, CoZ is now up and running on P**********4 dev kits!

They’re also hard at work getting features like language support and AI in and finished, while our designers are working on levels and putting game balancing data into the game. I don’t want to make anyone jealous, but it’s getting really fun to play! ;) 

But seriously…

Happy holiday from all of us hard at work on Children of Zodiarcs to you, our fans. Have a safe, relaxing holiday and we wish you all a great new year!

Peace out!!

Updated Alpha!!! Go Play Now!

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Hello hello Kickstarter Backeroonies!

Put on your best hat and belt, because we’ve sent out an updated KS Alpha for all you alpha-access backers!

How Do I Get the Updated Alpha?

Don’t have to do anything as long as you have the auto-updates turned on in Steam!

For those of you alpha-access backers that haven't gotten your keys, you either need to finish the survey we sent out (https://childrenofzodiarcs.backerkit.com/) or if you already have, go into your BackerKit account and view the "Digital Downloads" section. 

What Does the KS Alpha #2 Contain?

It contains a work-in-progress of the Tutorial, 3 full brand new missions, updated deck building, dice equipping, and dice crafting! However, there is still no save functionality, so every time you load it, you’ll start from scratch.

Also, you can play with either keyboard & mouse OR controller! For now, only the wired XBox 360 controller is compatible, but more support will come with the final game :)

Please Fill Out the Feedback Forms

In the game, there are buttons you can click to give us feedback. There’s 1 for each mission (tutorial, 1, 2, and 3) and 1 for giving your general feedback on the build. Please wait until you’ve played Missions 1 and 2 (or more) before filling out the general feedback form because it assumes you’ve been playing it.

If you can, please take the time to fill these out; your feedback is really important to help make the game better! And feel free to fill them out multiple times so we can see how feelings change after multiple playthroughs.

And please note, these feedback forms are entirely anonymous.

Oh, and if you can, get a friend who knows nothing about the game to play the build! Start with the tutorial and then let them play whatever. We’re super curious to know how effective the tutorials and contextual help are. And get them to fill out the feedback forms, too :)

Where to Chat about the Build or Report Bugs

You can chat about the build either on our subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/ChildrenofZodiarcs/) or the game’s Steam Community Hub (http://steamcommunity.com/app/436290/discussions/). 

For bugs, please post them here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/436290/discussions/0/276237094311246086/

Can I Stream or Make YouTube Videos?

This…. This is a scary one for us. BUT, fortune favours the bold so we’re going to say yes!

However, we ask for a few things:

  • Do not cover the top right corner that says the game is still a work-in-progress. This is super important because we don’t want to turn people off because it’s still pretty early
  • Please write in any descriptions and do inform your viewers that the game is still a work-in-progress with a lot of placeholder visuals and sound.
  • Please let people know that you have access to the build because you are a Kickstarter backer.

Furthermore if you and your viewers are having fun, tell them to wishlist us on Steam! (http://store.steampowered.com/app/436290/)

If you need visual assets, you can go to our press kit for logos and screenshots, etc: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/hk8dpcwdq78erli/AABzV8jnRjD_hvu48VXOwcYea?dl=0

ALSO!!!! Let us know when you’re going to stream or if you have a YouTube video up so we can share it! Just tell us about it on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CardboardUtopia

EEEEeeee!! We can’t wait to see you all play this!! Streaming or not, share your experiences and all the cool strategies you come up with! Don't be afraid to talk about the game. Let's build up the hype!

Some Good Ole Screenshots of the KS Alpha #2

For those who want to see what some of our new levels look like, all art'ed and light'ed up, can check some screenshots out here! No major spoilers but it might ruin the surprise of seeing them in-game for the first time :)

http://imgur.com/a/9Yat0

- Jason