About this project
EDIT: Thank you for all of the support! If you missed the Kickstarter and would still like to back our project, we should have something up the Zeboyd Games website sometime in the near future.
Cosmic Star Heroine is a turn-based sci-fi Japanese-style RPG from Zeboyd Games currently scheduled to come out in 2014 for Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Vita!
Alyssa L’Salle is one of the galactic government’s top agents and always manages to save the day! But when she accidentally uncovers a dark conspiracy, her own government outs her as a legendary spy and the people’s champion! Sure, now she has hordes of adoring fans but every villainous organization she’s ever crossed in her career knows who she is and is out for her blood! Can she save the day once more while she faces her greatest challenge… Everyone!?
- Good old-fashioned classic turn-based RPG!
- Save anywhere! Minimal grinding (unless you want to)!
- Brisk pacing that respects your time!
- No separate battle screen! Battles take place directly in the dungeons & areas that you explore!
- 2D visual style straight from the height of gaming's 16-bit era!
- Animated cutscenes reminiscent of the Sega CD & Turbo Duo era!
- Soundtrack by Hyperduck (Dust: An Elysian Tail, Precipice of Darkness 4) inspired by the genre greats!
- Multi-character combo techniques!
- Intricately designed encounters make each new battle its own challenge!
- Your own spy headquarters! Recruit new agents to help it grow!
"Breath of Death VII: The Beginning is a real surprise. It's an RPG that feels like it was a classic from back in the day, but it doesn't have any RPG hang-ups." - Brian Dumlao, WorthPlaying.com review of Breath of Death VII: The Beginning
"Poking fun at H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos in the framework of a classical Japanese role-playing game may not be the most obvious choice when dreaming up a game. Yet that's exactly what Zeboyd Games chose to make, and with Cthulhu Saves the World, pulled it off with great success." - Charles Onyett, IGN.com review of Cthulhu Saves the World
"In fact, for all the charm of the 16-bit visuals, I'm really hesitant to call it a throwback. Rather, I'd prefer it to be an example of how dated graphics can be mixed with smart, forward-thinking design to create a thoroughly modern game." - Kat Bailey, 1UP.com review of Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3
"It's just like your favorite RPGs from the mid-1990s—except, in a lot of ways, better. Is it heresy to say that? Probably, but it's also true. On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4, the final entry in the Penny Arcade Adventures series, owes an enormous debt to games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI --but it also features improved gameplay and writing that is far more entertaining." - Robert VerBruggen, CheatCC.com review of Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4
As our first RPG with a full-time development schedule of over a year, Cosmic Star Heroine is set to be our most ambitious title yet!
Robert Boyd is a 32-year old father of four (all daughters). He has a bachelor's degree in Mandarin Chinese, decided he had no clue how to make a living with a bachelor's degree in Chinese and ended up making RPGs instead. He handles gameplay design, programming, writing, and twitter tomfoolery at Zeboyd Games. Despite how it may appear in the above photo, he has no desire to devour your immortal soul.
His favorite games include Persona 4, Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, Civilization V, Dark Souls, Pac-Man: Championship Edition DX, Monaco, Lunar: Eternal Blue, Super Metroid, Final Fantasy VI, and Siren 2.
Bill Stiernberg is 29 and loves the videogame industry. He received his bachelor's of science in mechanical engineering, and went on to obtain a law degree and license. After his dreams of the legal field being EXACTLY like Phoenix Wright were crushed, he decided to employ his hard work ethic, artistic skills, and analytical capabilities to make the 2-man Zeboyd Games team's projects a reality. He handles the art, assets, and animation, and generally keeps the team's insanity within manageable levels.
His favorite games include Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy VI, Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid, Shadow of the Colossus, Metal Gear Solid 3, Resident Evil 4, Mega Man 2, King of Fighters, Ninja Five-0, Symphony of the Night, Gradius V, too many to list.
- Turn-based combat!
- Four character active party!
- Non-grid-based 2D exploration (diagonals! woohoo!)!
- Battles take place directly on the maps that you explore! Where you fight may influence what happens in battle!
- Upgradeable spy headquarters!
- Character LV-Up system allows customization while still making each character unique!
- Characters can also be further customized with equipment & support characters (allies that hang out at your spy headquarters who don't go out into the field with your main characters).
- Multiple difficulty levels so you can fine-tune the experience to fit your own playstyle!
- Multi-character combo techniques!
- And much, much more!
We've also shared a number of articles on our website going into greater detail about various ideas we have for the gameplay such as...
- Stats, Equipment, and Force Shield Systems
- Making Ailment Abilities Useful
- MP, Combo Abilities, and Item Systems
- Lessons We've Learned from our previous games and their impact on Cosmic Star Heroine
Whether you're in the mood for shopping, sight-seeing, or saving the galaxy from the greatest threat it's ever faced, there's something for everyone!
Ruled by a loose alliance of megacorps, Araenu is the most developed planet in the Zevanii system, full of skyscrapers and industrial complexes. Due to extensive pollution & experimentation gone wrong, sunlight has difficulty penetrating the atmosphere, making Araenu a world of eternity dusk & night.
Wracked by years of nuclear war and various doomsday devices, the citizens of Rhomu were forced to flee underground. Though the planet has long since been cleansed of any lingering radiation, most still prefer the comfort of the planet's giant cavernous metropolis to the wild ruins of the exposed surface.
Not much is known about the wet, jungle-like planet of Nuluup. It is inhabited by the Ghast, a strange and reticent alien race that reminds humanity of its supernatural past.
Of course, Alyssa won't have to take on her enemies alone. No, she'll be accompanied by a cast of unlikely characters.
Dave - Elite hacker for the Galactic Agency. Thinks he's cool but really isn't. Incredibly paranoid. Supports the team while impairing the enemy with his mad skillz. Weapon: Tablet. Strengths: Debuffs, Hacking.
Borisusovsky aka "Sue" - When you need brute strength combined with impeccable fashion sense, he's your man. Quiet and gruff but has a soft side that emerges from time to time. Weapon: Fists. Strengths: Martial Arts, Chained Attacks.
Clarke - Rogue robot agent. Was the smoothest talker around back before the "incident." Ever since then, he's been a bit... odd. Weapon: Rocket Boots. Strengths: Who Knows?
Finian - Distant cousin of Alyssa. New at the Galactic Agency; wants Alyssa to show him the ropes. Has a tendency to get into more trouble than he can handle. Weapon: Shotblaster. Strengths: Heavy Arsenal.
Chahn Kaneko - Close personal friend of Alyssa. Calm, still personality. Skilled in gunmancy - the art of summoning & controlling guns with your mind. Also skilled in the medical arts. Weapon: Guns. Strengths: Healing, Backup.
Alyssa L'Salle - Our heroine! Talented agent who likes to show off even when it gets her into trouble. Weapon: Bo. Strengths: Versatility, Teamwork.
"Arete" - Proud leader of the rebel faction with the same name. No one knows her true name. Accompanied by a floating seeing eye robot that feeds images directly to her visual display device. Weapon: Explosive beakers. Strengths: Technology, Robot Ally.
Orson Bolibar - Member of an alien race that begins life looking human before turning into ghosts upon maturation. Wears a special suit that amplifies his spectral powers. Weapon: Old-Fashioned Colt formed from spectral energy. Strengths: Transformations, Magic.
Lauren Gambino - Informant who likes to play the government & the criminal underbelly against each other. Also sings in an indie band. Expert at poisons & debuffs. Weapon: A pair of force daggers. Strengths: Cunning, Ailments.
Z'xorv - Alien bounty hunter. Spits acid. Loves capes. Hard to kill. Weapon: Claws. Strengths: Tank, Brute Strength.
Cosmic Star Heroine is our most ambitious project to-date. If we were funding it purely based on our personal savings & residual royalties from our previous games, we'd have to make serious cuts to the scope & polish of the game. By coming to kickstarter, we'll be able to deliver the awesome game we're picturing in our minds while hopefully being able to involve the community more in the game-making process.
So how are we planning on using the projected $100,000? Here's a rough estimate:
In addition to any money raised through this kickstarter, we'll also be adding our own money from revenue of our previous games to the pile.
What if the kickstarter gets overfunded? We don't know about you, but we hate it when kickstarters get a lot more money than they expected, drastically increase the scope of the game, and end up pushing the release date back months or even years. What's worse, some of these kickstarters drastically underestimate how much all those new features are going to end up costing with the result that they end up running out of money before they manage to fulfill all of their promises.
We don't want this to happen to us!
With the December 2014 fulfillment date, we've given ourselves a bit of leeway as far as development time goes. If we get enough money that we decide that we can spend a couple extra months polishing up the game, we'll be able to without pushing back that date. In addition to that, we could use additional funding to increase our audio budget and hire additional help so that we can get more done without noticeably increasing our development time.
And what if after all this, we end up finishing the game and still have a good chunk of money left over? How about using that extra money to develop some free post-release DLC? We've released some major free DLC for our previous games (the alternate storyline in Cthulhu Saves the World & the Epilogue scenario in Precipice of Darkness 3) so we'd be game for doing something similar with Cosmic Star Heroine. Maybe a separate mini-Roguelike mode ala Lufia 2's Ancient Cave...
EDIT: Note, we've improved some of the higher tier rewards from what these charts indicates. You can read about the changes here.
If you would like to customize your reward tier and add additional physical rewards to your pledge, you can! Just select your base reward tier (must be $100 or higher for the T-Shirt/Poster/Physical Molly & Epiphany add-ons; any tier is okay for the extra digital copy add-on) and then add the appropriate amount beyond the base as indicated below. We'll contact you before reward fulfillment to find out which add-ons you'd like.
+$10 = Extra digital copy of the Game for either PSN (cross-buy so you get both PS4 & Vita versions) or computer (gets you Windows, Mac, and Linux for both Steam AND a separate DRM-Free version). Note, please limit PSN version to no more than 2 total per backer (including any gained through base reward tiers). No limits on the computer versions.
+$100 = Additional T-Shirt
+$100 = Additional Poster Set
+$350 = Additional Physical Copy of Molly & Epiphany
+$350 = Additional Physical Copy of the Cosmic Star Heroine Art Book
Note, all pledges that include physical rewards that are outside the US will need to add an additional $10 for Overseas Shipping.
"Zeboyd Games is awesome & you should give them all your disposable income!" - Anna "Paws" Marie Privitere who is probably totally unbiased despite having a character named after her in Cthulhu Saves the World
"Hey, this looks neat! Maybe I'll finally get around to playing one of your games." - Robert's wife
"i'm sick of retro. why not try good grafx? lol whatever i'll buy it." - voldemortfan2480
"This is the best game ever!" - Bill Stiernberg at Zeboyd Games
"I know for a fact that Bill Stiernberg has never played this game." - Robert Boyd at Zeboyd Games
We'd like to give a very special thanks to Dean Dodrill (Dust: An Elysian Tail) for helping us out with the opening teaser, Chris & Dan at HyperDuck SoundWorks for the music, and Marc Azucena (Inlight-10 Productions) for filming and editing the live-action parts of the video. Thank you!
We'd also like to thank our friends at Sony, especially Shane Bettenhausen, for working hard to get us set up for PS4 & Vita development, helping spread the word, and getting us PSN codes to give away as rewards. Also a big thanks to the great staff at Steam who showed a lot of faith in us way back when we first pitched Breath of Death VII & Cthulhu Saves the World to them and have continued to support us with the Precipice of Darkness RPGs and now Cosmic Star Heroine. Thank you!
Thank you to everyone who backed our previous kickstarter! You guys are awesome! Switching over to PC allowed us to turn game development into a full-time professional career and not just a hobby. Thank you!
A very special thanks goes out to Cthulhu, Azathoth, Nyarlathotep, and the whole gang for making us just crazy enough to do this.
Finally, we'd like to thank all of our friends, family, and fans for all the support and suggestions they've given us through the years. We couldn't have done this without you. Now let's make Cosmic Star Heroine our best game yet!
Risks and challenges
The villains of Cosmic Star Heroine could obtain some sort of code-to-matter transmorphication device, enter the real world, and then hunt down and assassinate all of us. That would make completion of this game unlikely at best. Not impossible, mind you. Just very unlikely.
Other than that, there's always the chance that we could run into unexpected snares and development ends up taking longer than expected. However, we have successfully released 4 RPGs to date so we don't expect to run into any serious problems with releasing another one.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes! If you get a computer version of the game, you'll get a Linux version for both Steam and DRM-Free, in addition to the Windows & Mac versions.
Right now, we are planning on releasing the game on Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Vita.
Unity makes it easier to release on multiple platforms but there’s still work involved. For example, porting a PC game to mobile can involve extensive work as you often need to completely redo the user interface & text (smaller screen size), the controls (touch vs. keyboard/mouse/controller), and possibly do extensive optimization work for things like less RAM. And porting a game to a new console involves a whole set of possible issues – you need to work out the contracts between the developer & platform holder, you have to make sure that your game fulfills all of the platform-specific rules that the platform holder has in place, etc. And then once the game is running on a new platform, you still need to extensively test that particular version to make sure that there aren’t any platform-specific bugs that need to be fixed.
Plus, kickstarter adds an additional difficulty - rewards. Each platform has its own rules about free codes & the last thing we want to do is promise a free copy of the game on a specific platform as a reward and then later find out that we can't obtain enough codes to fulfill that reward tier. Thankfully, Sony has been very understanding and has given us a number of PSN codes to use with this kickstarter.
Early on, we decided that in addition to our “home base” of Steam (Windows & now Mac), we wanted to add a console & a portable option. We chose the PS4 & Vita for a number of reasons such as Sony was the most eager to get our games on their platforms and has been most helpful in getting us all the necessary development support.
There is still a possibility that we’ll decide to port Cosmic Star Heroine to other platforms at a later date but we really felt like trying to release on day 1 on PC, Mac, PS4, and Vita was all the stress we could personally handle at one time. With that said, we're definitely looking into the possibility of Linux, Xbox One, and Wii U versions, but won't be announcing anything on those fronts until we have something definite.
Although there will be humor in Cosmic Star Heroine, it is not designed to be a parody. We're going to be aiming for a similar mix of serious & light-hearted elements as is found in the Lunar series or the Chronicles of Prydain.
When will backers receive the "Digital copies of our previous games on Steam & a digital copy of the complete soundtrack to Precipice of Darkness 4" rewards
We will be handing out the "Digital copies of our previous games on Steam & a digital copy of the complete soundtrack to Precipice of Darkness 4" reward soon after the Kickstarter completes.
Here are some ideas of ways we could use extra money to improve the game while not pushing the game past its 2014 release date. Note these are just ideas; game development can be hard to predict but the long and short of it is that we'll try to use any extra money to make the game the best game we can make while not delaying the release date.
$100k-$200k: We would most likely use this extra money for additional time at the end of the development cycle for extra polishing and non-essential but fun extra features. We would also be able to give more money to Hyperduck for use on the soundtrack - the $100k initial goal should get us a soundtrack on par with the last game they scored for us (which had an excellent soundtrack - check it out!) but of course, we'd love to make the Cosmic Star Heroine soundtrack even better.
$200k-$300k: At this stage, we would consider the possibility of hiring additional part-time help for programming & art, thus allowing us to do more with less time. Of course, this is dependent on us finding the right individuals who do high quality work that fit the game and who would work well with us.
$300k+: At this stage, we could consider getting the game localized in other languages and maybe look into some voice acting.
Also, if we end up with enough money left over after making the game, we would like to do some free post-release DLC.
Note, that additional platforms are not something that is going to be affected by overfunding. We would love to get the game out on as many systems as possible, but this is more of a matter of time & signing the appropriate contracts with the relevant platform holders (Nintendo, Microsoft), rather than money. Since the amount of money to outsource a port can be extremely high (we've heard quotes of over $100k depending on the quality of the porting team and the target platform), we would most likely be handling any ports in-house (this also allows us to ensure the port is a quality one) so this is something that would happen after the initial launch to avoid delaying the existing versions. With that said, we are investigating ports to the Wii U & Xbox One and will let everyone know when we have something definite to report on those fronts.
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