To Light: Ex Umbra is a fantasy RPG that takes cues from many of the classics in terms of aesthetics and play style. The game is very story driven, with deep and engaging characters that each in their own way help the heroes find their way to light.
The thing that sets To Light: Ex Umbra apart from other fantasy RPGs is that the story is one that edifies Christ. Branch Games, the studio behind the game, is a gaming company made up of believers in Christ who know that in all we do, we are to glorify Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
At its core, To Light: Ex Umbra is an allegory. It tells the story about darkness. How it enters into us, grows, and consumes us. How it causes us pain, and ultimately costs us our lives. And yet, in the midst of that darkness, there is one who brings light.
The Kingdom of Ecclesia is close to collapse. The King is missing, presumed dead. The Queen, while once gentle and kind, has turned into a ruthless tyrant. But the real danger? The Princess is plagued by darkness. Physical, tangible darkness that destroys everything it touches. When she runs from home to try to escape the pain, and to protect those around her, she meets a young man who sees her…the real her. But as the darkness begins to turn on her new friends, it becomes clear that the only way to protect them is to find the source of the darkness, and extinguish it for good. They must travel to the furthest reaches of the world to discover the means to defeat the darkness. They must journey to Light.
I have been playing video games since I was 5 years old, and ever since that first one (Quest 64 for the N64), I was hooked! I love all video games, but I have a passion for RPGs. My favorites are the Final Fantasy and Star Ocean series. There is something about the amazing story telling of RPGs that I love! They offer such an incredible opportunity to engage with the characters and story and have a truly lasting impact.
Even more important than being a gamer, I am a born-again believer in Jesus Christ. As followers of Christ, everything we do is to be for His glory, and to proclaim His name to the world.
As I have gotten older, I have started to notice that the overall message of most of the RPGs that I grew up with do not at all line up with the message of Christ. In fact, most of them have a message that either rejects the Christian world-view, or is blatantly anti-Christian.
So then why this project, and why now? My life changed dramatically when this little man came into the world.
I was always so excited about the thought of one day being able to play video games with my kids, but how can I justify letting him play something that is so contradictory to the message of Christ?
I decided that there needed to be an alternative. A game that has the look and feel of a classic RPG, with a rich story that draws you in like so many of the games I used to love. But one that edifies Christ. Let's be clear, To Light is not necessarily a kids game. It is full of tough choices, difficult and painful situations, and sometimes darkness. But so is life. The important part is that in the midst of that overwhelming darkness, there is ALWAYS hope, and there is ALWAYS light!
This is a breakdown of how our campaign funds will be spent.
Art makes up the largest category, and includes things like Character Art from our amazing designer, map creation that is beyond the scope of my abilities, custom enemy creation, and custom sprite work as well.
The next chunk of funding will go toward the fulfillment of the rewards. While a printed art book might not be cheap to produce, I think you will agree with me that the incredible art created by our Character Artist deserves to be displayed in printed form!
Last of course is the Fees and Taxes that will be associated with this campaign, and even though that are highly unexciting, they are necessary.
At this time, we are just concerned with reaching our initial funding goal! To go over that would be such an amazing blessing, but we will cross that bridge if and when we get there :D For the most part, stretch goals will be set for amounts that will allow me to outsource other parts of production so that the game can get finished sooner!
Risks and challenges
Creating a video game is a long process, especially a game of this depth. The biggest foreseeable challenge I think I will face will be time. I do have a four month old son, and although my job gives me enormous amounts of free time, it will still take me awhile to do everything necessary to complete this game. The financial goal that was set for this project is enough to cover all the artwork we have planned, as well as some of the other things that I am not capable of doing myself, and any money raised over our goal will go towards outsourcing more of the workload so the challenge of time is reduced.
This game is in development using RPG Maker MV. This means that it will be easily deployed for both PC and Mac (and potentially even iOS and Android, but we aren't going to get too ahead of ourselves). We chose to make this game in MV because we wanted it to have the look and feel of an old school RPG, and working with a game engine that is built specifically for that purpose will decrease the amount of time and money required to bring that vision to life.
Another potential challenge would be achieving a perfect allegorical balance. My vision for this game is something akin to that of The Chronicles of Narnia, in that a non-believer will enjoy it for the story, and a believer will clearly see the symbolism involved. Thankfully I have an amazing group of friends and fellow believers with whom I can discuss the story, and how to best portray God's love for his people.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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