About this project
Update #10 - “New Game+” Stretch goal hit, PayPal and Bitcoin options added, Kickstarter/press shout outs!
Update #9 - FUNDED
Update #8 - Closing In On Our Goal
Update #7 - We're Releasing ESTk
Grab yourself some extra swag with our add-ons! Remember, don't adjust your tier just add the amount for the add-on you want!
- $10 - Additional digital copies of the game for desktop platforms (Windows, Mac or Linux) restricted to $15 tier or above.
- $10 - Addition digital copies of Elysian Shadows for the Ouya.
- $10 - Grab yourself a digital copy of the teams development notebooks!
- $10 - A digital download official strategy guide!
- $29 - Grab yourself the official physical strategy guide!
$49 - Additional physical Dreamcast copy in your choice of region!
- $49 - Additional physical Windows, Mac or Linux copy!
Travel through lush environments and diverse biomes, exploring a series of mysterious ruins, and discovering a world caught in constant conflict between magic and technology. Magic is a gift reserved for only the loyal followers of The Creator, while the non religious sects of society are forced to rely upon technology in their daily lives. Upon uncovering a mysterious artifact deep within one of the ancient ruins scattered throughout the land, Julien and friends find themselves thrust into the middle of this rising conflict. Can you solve the mystery of the ancient civilizations and prevent the destruction of your own?
Elysian Shadows is an indie 2D RPG being developed for Windows, OS X, Linux, Android, iOS, Ouya, and even the Sega Dreamcast (not even kidding). We fuse aspects of 16-bit classical RPGs with a highly stylized, modern vision by using dynamic lighting, physics, and audio engines along with swapping between 2D and 3D perspectives. Our goal is to create the "next-generation" of the 2D RPG in terms of gameplay, graphics, and audio. We want to reinvent and revitalize the aging genre for a new generation of platforms, while still remaining true to the 16-bit charm of the SNES and Genesis classics that we all grew up loving.
With Elysian Shadows, we want to push the boundaries of pixel art by creating diverse, lush environments for players to explore with beautifully lit scenes and advanced rendering effects that could not have been possible on older hardware. Our goal is to create a gigantic, open world with an emphasis on exploration and environmental interaction while still retaining the rich storyline and combat mechanics of a full-fledged RPG. Combat is fast, fluid, and action-oriented, sporting particle effects, rigid-body physics, and advanced AI, while simultaneously offering tactical and strategic depth through character customization, unlockable abilities and techniques, and an advanced class system.
Our team spent two years developing a custom in-house engine capable of realizing our ambitious creative vision for Elysian Shadows.
- Dynamic lighting with pixel-perfect shadows
- 3D environments and dynamic 2D/3D camera perspectives
- Full-fledged rigid body physics and particle engines
- Diverse gameplay styles and platforming mechanics
- 3D positional and dynamic audio engine
The world of Elysian Shadows is a diverse, multilayered landscape consisting of villages, towns, cities, and a variety of different ruins and sub-dungeons. Connecting the various ruins to the societies of Elysian Shadows are many overworld maps the player must explore. They are generally beautiful, lush, and feature a variety of different biomes such as forests, deserts, mountains, tundra, beaches, swamps, and islands. The ruins tend to exhibit a darker, moodier, and more foreboding atmosphere, playing host to ancient, long-forgotten technology and a multitude of dangerous creatures guarding their secrets.
We wanted to create an immense and immersive world that is rewarding to explore, playing host to a cast of characters and a culture that are both compelling and emotionally engaging.
- No overworld map. The world is open, vast, and full of detail. We wanted to create a world that is continuous and connected rather than disjoint and separated through a world map or menu.
- No decorative doors. We hate it when games show us a beautiful environment but restrict our ability to fully experience it. If you can see it, you can interact with it.
- Real-Time Day/Night System. Time of day affects NPC behavior, monster encounters, sidequests, and offers an entirely new dimension of strategy and exploration.
- Rich storyline and engaging cast. Our characters are interesting and relatable on a personal level, and our storyline is highly influenced by the philosophical and moral dilemmas of modern society. We want to create an intellectually fulfilling experience, and we want more than anything to engage with you on an emotional level.
When dreaming up the gameplay experience of Elysian Shadows, we drew inspiration from not only the great 16-bit RPGs of our youth, but also a vast list of games we grew up loving, many of which aren't even in the same genre. We wanted to create an experience that could also be enjoyed by people who are traditionally disinterested in the slow-pacing of RPGs. We sought to revitalize the old school formula and integrate gameplay mechanics from action games and even platformers to create and even more exciting and immersive gameplay experience.
- Exploration. An important aspect of Elysian Shadows is exploring and interacting with our gigantic maps and diverse environments. As such, we want the experience to be rewarding and engaging, with a plethora of hidden paths, chests, and secrets scattered about the world. We were inspired by "The Legend of Zelda" to create highly interactive environments, where the player can chop down grasses and trees, cast spells to burn obstacles in their way, and return to old levels with new items to discover previously inaccessible areas.
- Combat. The combat of Elysian Shadows is action-packed, and our team lovingly refers to it as the marriage between "Secret of Mana" and "God of War." Combat takes place in real-time, without a separate battle screen. As such, the player can freely use objects in the environment for a tactical advantage--you can even drop a potion from your inventory and smack a boss in the face with it, for example! The player is able to quickly assume control of an active party member, with the rest operating under the control of user-configurable AI. Spells, particles, and physics are also intimately married aspects of combat, as many spells can set obstacles on fire or lift and throw large objects at enemies.
- Platforming. Julien and the rest of the party are able to jump and interact with their environment in full 3D space. This opens up exploration to the third dimension and allows us to introduce a slew of new gameplay mechanics that have not traditionally been found within 2D RPGs.
- Strategy. In contrast to the action-oriented combat mechanics, we wanted to enhance the depth and strategy of the battle system by introducing a slew of opportunities for character customization. Elysian Shadows features a full-fledged class or "job" system, where each character's innate strengths, weaknesses, and gameplay styles can be augmented through a wide-array of job-specific abilities and talent trees. These jobs also introduce a variety of gameplay mechanics outside of combat, such as alchemy, smithing, and monster taming.
Like our vision for the graphics of Elysian Shadows, the sound is also a marriage of old and new. Soundtrack songs fuse authentic chiptune samples taken from actual Super Nintendo and Genesis hardware combined with modern instruments, orchestras, choirs, and electronica. We want to create a sound that is familiar and nostalgic but also exciting and innovative.
Our powerful audio engine also allows us to dynamically fade in and out additional instruments to match the tension of battles and the surrounding environments, creating a truly captivating audiovisual experience. The sound system is also positional in full 3D, meaning sound effects can be heard relative to their actual position in 3D space with surround sound.
Our engine was architected from the ground-up being cross-platform, and we take a great deal of pride as developers, engineers, and gamers in making Elysian Shadows all that it can possibly be on each platform, rather than hastily porting it over after production (We are crazy enough to attempt resurrecting the Sega Dreamcast, after all!). Depending on our stretch goals, we would like to give each platform exclusive content, taking advantage of their unique hardware capabilities and accessories, and perhaps even allowing you to move your game saves from one platform to another to experience every aspect of Elysian Shadows.
Due to the hardware limitations and the ambitious and demanding graphical engine of Elysian Shadows, differences will inevitably arise between platforms, especially with the more advanced rendering and audio features. We will do everything within our power to push each platform to its theoretical limits, but we want our audience to be aware of these potential differences. None of these differences will be gameplay affecting, as we have been creating the game for each platform in parallel, keeping these limitations in mind.
Exclusive Zelda-inspired "Master Sword"
ALL copies of Elysian Shadows purchased through Kickstarter include an exclusive Legend of Zelda-inspired "Master Sword" starting weapon!
Digital Copies of Elysian Shadows
Windows, Linux, OSX, iOS, and Droid downloads will be available initially, with plans for Steam coming later. Additional digital copies for PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PSVita, 3DS, and Oculus Rift will be purchasable as add-ons once the stretch goals are unlocked. All copies purchased through Kickstarter come with a digital PDF of the instruction manual, and exclusive digital wallpapers.
Adventurer Starting Pack
Hit the ground running! Begin the game with several HP and MP-restoring items, a defensive chest plate, and a Kickstarter-exclusive equippable accessory increasing the amount of hedra (in-game currency) dropped by enemies.
Concept Art Book
A beautiful chronicle of concept art, pixel art, promotional art, and even unused game assets spanning from the birth of the project to its completion, created by our artists throughout the development of Elysian Shadows.
The epic 100+ page (and counting) actual design document created by the entire team, detailing every area, NPC, enemy, and storyline event in the game. It also contains our stylistic and creative influences for each area; other games, books, and TV shows that inspired us; real-life events and parallels behind the storyline; and the deeper symbolic meanings behind characters and events. This is the heart and soul of Elysian Shadows and the blood, sweat, and tears of an entire team.
Complete original soundtrack, containing every song, background theme, and variation of every dynamic track featured in Elysian Shadows with liner, equipment, and 'making of' notes.
Physical Copies of Elysian Shadows
Physical copies of Elysian Shadows will be professionally pressed to CDs, complete with jewel cases, box art, and instruction manuals, all produced by Watermelon Corp, with the same obsessive attention to detail and commitment to authenticity the company has become known for. Dreamcast backers can select between North American, European, and Japanese case styles.
The official Elysian Shadows strategy guide, containing a complete walkthrough of the game along with every secret and easter egg we have carefully hidden throughout the game. It includes detailed character descriptions, maps, bestiaries, battle tactics, item databases, quests, and much more, all in full, vibrant color with plenty of accompanying screenshots.
Beta Access/Early Backer Forum
Become involved in the development process by receiving an early beta release of Elysian Shadows along with exclusive access to a private development forum where you can collaborate with us, offer feedback, tell us the game sucks, tell us we're awesome, and even help us fix bugs!
Adventures in Game Development DVD Collection
An epic DVD collection containing every Chapter of our "Adventures in Game Development" YouTube series (and related videos), offering a behind-the-scenes look at development of Elysian Shadows, starting from our humble days in mommy's attic all the way through to the project's completion.
Physical copies of Elysian Shadows, including a beautiful figurine, physical printed versions of the artists' book, the design document, and the comic, along with an authentic, hand-made Egyptian papyrus scroll containing an Elysian Shadows-related graphic of your choice.
A beautiful 30in x 22in (55cm x 76 cm) poster, depicting a scene of Julien, Eryn, and a cubot, pixeled by Leandro. This is the same scene that was published as the cover of August 2014's issue of "Indie Game Magazine."
August Issue of Indie Game Magazine
Digital copy of August 2014's issue of "Indie Game Magazine," featuring Elysian Shadows as the cover article, along with very in-depth interviews, screenshots, and gameplay details from the entire development team.
One Year Subscription to Indie Game Magazine
A full-year digital subscription to "Indie Game Magazine," and a digital copy of August 2014's issue featuring Elysian Shadows.
Create Your Own Enemy/NPC/Item
Endow Elysian Shadows with a small piece of you and your creativity. Create your choice of custom NPC, enemy, or item for the game. Do whatever you want, however you want. Knock yourselves out!
Create Your Own House or Area
Really leave your mark on the world of Elysian Shadows by creating your own house to be inhabited by your own NPC or create your own area of the game featuring your item or enemy. Tell us how you want it to look, what you want to be there, what kind of music you want, promote your game in our game, or put a Sega 32x on your dresser... Go crazy!
Create Your Own Quest
The ultimate creative reward for Elysian Shadows fans. Design your own full-fledged sidequest featuring your custom area or map and NPC, item, or enemy, and let the players experience your personal creative vision. You are optionally invited to come hang out with us at the dev studio to berate us until we've done your work justice and take part in "Adventures in Game Development," showing your quest off to our fans and contributors.
Be In Adventures in Game Development
Come hang out with us at the studio for a few days, and you (or your project) will be featured in an episode of "Adventures in Game Development!" This is the full, authentic indie developer experience, including crashing on the couch, drinking coffee out of mason jars, being involved in design and coding discussions, getting to complain about Patrick's pixel art, playing with our tools, and getting to beta test the game.
Custom Elysian Shadows-themed consoles (including controllers and VMUs), designed by our artists, exclusively for Kickstarter.
A breathtaking 100x150cm original painting by our own Leandro Tokarevski, created at the art academy, featuring a detailed scene from Elysian Shadows. This is a one-of-a-kind art piece, painted specifically as a reward for this Kickstarter, and there will never be another one like it!
Concepts and Media
We spent the last couple years with our heads down in silence, developing our engine and tools, and creating the initial graphics and audio, so that we could present our creative vision for Elysian Shadows to the world. We did this as full-time engineers, undergrad and graduate students, art academy students, producers, and web developers, never asking for a penny from our fans or from the community until we were satisfied that we had a project worthy of your backing.
Now that our engine is done, we are extremely excited to move forward full-force with asset creation and scripting, developing the world of Elysian Shadows as we had originally envisioned it. With our ambitious vision, multiplatform support, and the additional complexity of creating art assets for both 2D and 3D perspectives, the project is becoming increasingly demanding of our time, energy, and wallets. We have been funding everything out of our own pockets, and two of our team members even took a gamble and quit their jobs to work on this Kickstarter campaign. With your help, our hard work and the creative vision of Elysian Shadows can see the light of day, resurrecting and revitalizing the 2D RPG genre for those of us who grew up loving it and for those of us who were too young to experience it.
Game engine architect Falco Girgis leads the team with an iron fist, a thick Alabamian accent, and an unhealthy obsession with the Sega Dreamcast. Previously employed as a software engineer developing fiber optic routing equipment, Falco is also a 4.0 graduate student pursuing a Masters of Computer Engineering with a focus on GPU architecture. He's the team's mad scientist.
Gameplay and Level Design commander Tyler Rogers brings together all the pieces of the puzzle to create the experience we are striving to realize, while drinking his gamedev coffee concoction (which he has dubbed 'the Alabamarita') out of a classy glass jar. Tyler Rogers was previously employed in the telecomm industry as a network engineer working with VoIP technologies.
Level Designer and Web Developer extraordinaire Daniel Tindall enjoys tea and crumpets while filtering the team's vast and crazy ideas into a presentable and palatable format. By day, Daniel pays his bills as a professional web developer.
'Zenmaster' Patryk Kowalik is our lead artist and comic relief who paves the way for the visual direction of Elysian Shadows, sketching fellow team members in uncompromising situations when tensions arise. Patryk is a self-taught artist who has established a vast portfolio including a wide range of art styles. He works as a mobile app developer during the day.
Handsome devil Leandro Tokarevski churns out new art assets and beautiful paintings like they're going out of style when he's not stealing kitchenware from the Alabamian team members. Leandro is a classically taught artist who studies at a prestigious academy of arts in St. Petersburg.
Quiet and reserved Eddie Ringle leads the implementation of Elysian Shadows on mobile devices and the OUYA. Though young, he is a self-taught developer who earns his living as a freelance programmer.
Survival Horror fanatic Connor Linning is in charge of creating the entirety of Elysian Shadow's audio and slaves away when he is not gazing over at his shelf full of Resident Evil and Silent Hill games. Connor has produced several rock and metal albums and has released multiple solo survival horror albums while attending the university for computer science.
OUYA: Free the Games - Double Our Funds!
"We are participating in OUYA's #FreeTheGames Fund, created by OUYA to support developers making new and creative console games. OUYA will match your pledge dollar-for-dollar up to the goal amount (and a max of $250,000), so help Elysian Shadows get there and be a great game for everyone! To be eligible for this match, we commit that this game will be an OUYA exclusive for a period of time. The exclusive agreement however does NOT apply to Windows, OSX, Linux or the Sega Dreamcast. To learn more about OUYA, go to www.OUYA.tv. "
Risks and challenges
The Elysian Shadows Team is already known for documenting their progress of the game on YouTube in a reality series known as "Adventures in Game Development." The series has spanned nearly 7 years with over 100 video updates. We have always strived to be incredibly open with our community, allowing our audience to see first-hand the trials and tribulations involved with creating an indie game.
We are firm believers in transparency with regards to our development process, as we feel an obligation to be open with the fans who have supported us over all these years, and your feedback and participation help us to create an even better product.
The biggest risk for Elysian Shadows is regarding the realization of our ambitious graphical and technical vision on the less-capable hardware such as the Sega Dreamcast and mobile devices. Falco Girgis is a computer engineering student working on his masters in GPU programming and computer architecture, so he remains confident that the original creative vision for the project should remain intact for each console, even if certain effects must be scaled down.
We have also been conscious to make the special effects and processor-intensive additions completely optional, so that the gameplay and storyline can be enjoyed to the fullest without compromise, if the user decides to disable the "Next-Gen" effects for performance reasons on older hardware.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The first 100 of either THE RETRO GAMER or THE RESURRECTION (specified by the limited tiers) will be signed by the whole team!
Any tier above that includes the game physically, including the non-limited tiers, will be signed also :)
All the tiers that include our strategy guide are physical. We are considering a digital strategy guide as an add-on.
We originally planned for them to be individual, but we are looking to start a Steam Greenlight campaign at the end of this one which means those who have pledge for those tiers or those that will can get the game on all three platforms!!
The limited edition comes in two flavors:
For the desktop platforms (Windows, Mac and Linux) and for the Sega Dreamcast. Essentially those are the only differences with the exception of any customizable items.
The game will arrive in a custom box that is molded after one of the enemies from the game known as "cubot". Inside you will find a copy of the game on your chosen platform, the physical OST containing every track from the game, art book, Elysian Shadows comic book, physical prints of the design document, a figurine of our hero "Julien" and an authentic Egyptian papyrus scroll with your choice of Elysian Shadows graphic with a certificate of authenticity.
Each one received via Kickstarter will be signed by the whole team.
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