Arbiter is a single-player character action game about transformation. You play as a young boy and the newly appointed Arbiter, Ashe, who is responsible for defeating the demonic spirits that plague the world. This is a passion project I've been developing on my own for about five months now.
Spirits are split into two types: Ethers (white) and Umbras (black). The Arbiter has the unique ability to transform between these two types, making him the only human capable of defeating spirits. Attacks by enemies of the same type as you will be absorbed, while attacks of the opposite type will inflict damage.
The game is story driven, but you'll be able to choose in which order you complete the levels. There will be a mix of linear and non-linear segments, and they'll be filled with a large variety of unique enemies and puzzles based on the transformation system.
Levels will also have NPCs, items, upgrades, secrets, and optional bosses scattered throughout. Arbiter will have around six levels in total, making the final game about five hours long. I'd like it to be a short, polished, challenging experience with multiple endings that naturally encourages people to replay it.
The tutorial level focuses on an area completely corrupted by spiritual energy, but there will be a large variety of levels throughout Arbiter. Villages, fields, mountains, forests, castles, and more will all be prevalent throughout the game's missions.
Arbiter is focused on fast-paced, challenging combat and mastery over the transformation mechanic. Enemies, levels, and your own resources will all be affected by your current form. It's kind of like an action game version of Ikaruga, but it's also heavily inspired by games like Kingdom Hearts, Dark Souls, Zelda, and Mega-Man!
By defeating standard enemies and collecting spirit orbs, you'll be able to unlock new techniques, while defeating bosses will unlock spirit abilities. Techniques include things like combos, heavy attacks, and combat maneuvers while spirit abilities are more destructive finishers. You'll be able to equip the spirit abilities that best suit your play-style and create unique combos by chaining them together.
- Transform to combat the spirits throughout the world! The transformation system affects almost every single mechanic in the game.
- Fight using light attacks, heavy attacks, parries, dodges, dashes, techniques, abilities, and more!
- Defeat tons of challenging enemies that all test your mastery over the game's mechanics!
- Explore a world corrupted by spiritual energies and discover more about the spirits that hunt you!
- Unlock new upgrades, abilities, and techniques to change how you play!
- Experience a story about humanity's survival against the spirits, with interesting characters, cutscenes, and multiple endings!
For centuries, the world has been filled with demonic spirits known as Ethers and Umbras -- beings made of pure spiritual energy. These two races have been at war since their inception, with humanity caught in the middle unable to retaliate.
One day, two spirits known as Dove and Raven chose to help the humans, and gave one of them the power to transform into a spirit himself. This human was known as the Arbiter, and his job was to defeat and seal more dangerous spirits within himself. As a result, the war ended, and the spirits stopped their fighting in fear of being sealed for all eternity... except for some.
The Greater Spirits were much more intelligent, powerful spirits, and they did not fear the Arbiter's judgement. Their increased power made it much harder for the Arbiter to keep them sealed within his body. As a result, he had to pass down his powers to a successor as he grew older and weak. This went on for six generations until the most recent Arbiter was killed by a spirit known only as The Grey.
With the last Arbiter's death, the spirits sealed by the Arbiters of the past were released back into the world, free to cause havoc once again. In his final moments, the Arbiter passed his powers onto his successor and apprentice, Ashe, a boy now faced with an impossible task.
With the help of Dove and Raven, Ashe must now hunt the Greater Spirits that were released and seal them once more, restoring peace to humanity. But throughout his travels, he may find that the world isn't quite as black and white as it seems...
Over the past five months I've developed a polished pre-alpha demo for Arbiter. It's a short vertical slice of a fully playable tutorial level, filled with enemy encounters and a boss at the end.
Feel free to play it, stream it, record it, whatever you wish! All video content can be monetized, too. I'd love to get as much feedback as possible to help make the game as good as it can be.
I recommend playing the game with a controller since the tutorials are currently only designed with those in mind. The game is still, however, perfectly playable with keyboard and mouse, and I've included a controls document for those players so they aren't left in the dark.
Arbiter will also be debuting at RTX 2017! For those of you attending RTX, you can find me and the Arbiter demo in the Indie Games Section, Booth #646!
The Arbiter demo is currently being hosted through itch.io. You can download it by clicking the link at the bottom of the itch.io page, linked directly below.
I'm Jordan, the sole developer for Arbiter. I've been making games for about seven years now, the most recent of which was RWBY: Grimm Eclipse based on the animated series, RWBY.
I made a fan-game for RWBY by myself and after releasing it to the public was brought on officially by Rooster Teeth Productions (creators of the series) to turn it into an actual game!
I learned a lot during my time with Rooster Teeth, most importantly being how to manage the size and scope of your project. I worked there as a game designer, animator and visual effects artist, and did some programming as well. I pretty much animated and created effects for every single character/enemy in the game by myself.
I've planned Arbiter to be a short and simple action game so that I can actually make it on my own. I have experience in pretty much all aspects of game development, including but not limited to design, animation, modeling, visual effects, and programming. Everything you see in the game's demo was made by me, so you can expect the full game to be of similar or higher quality.
Arbiter can only be made through funding on Kickstarter, although I am also providing my own personal savings as well. The goal is fairly small since I'm a one man team, but I'd also like to bring on some artists to do the things I can't do myself. Specifically, your money will go towards (discounting taxes and Kickstarter's cut):
- Development: This is the money I will personally ingest to support and fuel the game's development!
- Concept Artists: I'd like to get some different artists contributing the game's world to make it feel really varied and unique!
- Audio Engineer: I'd like to get a professional audio engineer to make some sweet sounds for the game and its enemies!
- Voice Actors: The game won't have fully voiced cutscenes, but I would like to hire some voice actors to do tonal grunts and combat vocals, similar to The Legend of Zelda.
- Quality Assurance: Any extra funds will be spent on improving Arbiter and polishing it as much as possible.
- Stretch Goals: To be determined.
- Credit ($1 CAD): This will put your name in the game's end credits! You can choose whichever name you'd like (within reason), or no name at all if you want! You'll also get access to project updates throughout the campaign.
- Digital Download ($10 CAD): You'll receive a digital copy of the game on Steam (PC). Mac and Linux ports for the game are also very likely, so you can get a key for one of those versions instead if you wish!
- Soundtrack ($30 CAD): You'll receive a digital copy of the game's soundtrack! It'll contain all of the music from the game, including any pieces done by additional musicians as well.
- Digital Art Book ($50 CAD): You'll receive a digital art book with various concept art, promotional art, character/enemy designs, and written lore. This will include pretty much any and all art that went into Arbiter, and will contain written explanations for each piece.
- Collaborator ($75 CAD): You'll be given a special role in the Arbiter Discord Server which will allow you to vote in polls and comment on various design decisions directly to me. You'll basically be allowed to give direct feedback and partake in important discussion for the game's design!
- Beta Access ($100 CAD): You'll get access to the Beta version of the game when it comes close to release. This will be a near-finished version of the game unlocked slightly before release that I'll be getting people in this tier to try out and give feedback on.
- Design an NPC ($250 CAD): You'll get to design an in-game human character that players can interact with. You'll get to design them completely, and work with me directly to make sure your design is consistent with the game's style and lore.
- Design an Enemy ($500 CAD): You'll get to work with me to design an enemy both visually and mechanically. We'll work together to make sure the enemy fits the style and lore nicely, and draft up some concepts before getting it in-game.
- Design a Boss ($1000 CAD): You'll get to work with me to design a Greater Spirit (boss enemy). This will be a challenging encounter hidden somewhere throughout the game as an optional boss. This boss will also have unique abilities tied to it for players to unlock should they defeat it. We'll also work together to create some lore for why the boss is where it is, and why the Arbiter is hunting it.
- Direct Message on Twitter
Thanks for checking out my Kickstarter! I really appreciate every supporter for giving me a chance to pursue Arbiter. It's a tremendous opportunity and a responsibility I take very seriously, so I will do whatever it takes to finish and make good on my promises! Thank you for your support!
Risks and challenges
I think the elephant in the room is that I'm a single developer making an entire game on my own. I've never made something of this scale by myself before, but everything you see in the demo (save for some sound effects) was made by me. A lot of future development will just be making content and adding some more minor features, but with a lot of core functionality already implemented, I've got a pretty good idea now for how long everything else will take me.
I think two years (December 2018) is pretty realistic, but game development is extremely unpredictable. The biggest risk is not finishing on time. Still, between Kickstarter, personal savings, and the support of fans, friends, and family, I'm confident in my ability to finish!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)