6/10/2012 We Did It! Thanks everyone for your unwavering support and believing in our project.
Stretch Goal #1 - $13,500.00 - We'll put an additional $1,000 into our Art budget, allowing Lead Artist Matt Burton and the rest of the art team to create hand painted stills for cut-scenes that will serve to add an additional layer of graphical and emotional depth to Hiro Fodder: A Blue Hope. If you love our new concept art and wallpaper, you'll love these.
6/5/2012 New Rewards:
Anyone who pledges $25 or more will receive two extra copies of the game to share with their friends and family.
For $35 or more you will receive closed beta access to Hiro Fodder: A Blue Hope.
I finally caved - Follow us on Twitter @DivergentGames
The concept for our free wallpaper, to be distributed to our backers immediately after our campaigns ends:
6/4/2012 New Limited Edition $200 Tier Reward - Our final tier is probably our coolest. Only 10 available:
Developer Tier - You'll receive a special in-game item that will allow you to turn enemies into one of the team members from Divergent Games (we're really weak). Limited Charges only. In addition, we'll throw in the lifetime membership, digital and physical copies of Hiro Fodder, the art booklet, the bestiary, the thank you video, the laminated overworld and the NPC likeness. As a special bonus, you'll receive a free copy of our director's cut featuring developer commentary. (Please allow 3-4 extra months for delivery) As always, anyone who has already pledged more than $200 will also be entitled to the rewards in this tier. (Please add an additional $15 dollars for International shipping.)
New Limited Edition $60 Tier Reward - As a special gift to our contributors, we're going to create a personalized thank you video. The customized message will come to you via your favorite Hiro Fodder hero. If you've already pledged $60 or more to our cause, you've already earned it!
6/3/2012 - New Referral System - From here on out, if you're a backer and get a friend to back Hiro Fodder, we will change your tier reward in accordance with how much the referred individual pledged. If you've backed us for $15 and a friend for $20, congratulations - you're in the $35 tier. Had two friends throw in $50 each, you'll move up to at least the $100 level. Refer 5 people and we'll bump you up to at least the $250 tier, regardless of how much was pledged. Just have the people you referred email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll make a special note. We're pulling out all the stops this week to make Hiro Fodder a success.
OUT WITH THE NEW, IN WITH THE OLD…SCHOOL
The mid-1990’s: a time when plaid dominated our wardrobes and the Internet was considered little more than a puffed up toy. As children of the era, we remember the glory days of the RPG in all of its 16-bit goodness. Games like Final Fantasy VI, Phantasy Star IV, Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana were intimately tied to our transition from pimply adolescents to burgeoning young adults. Combining deep characterization, engaging worlds worth fighting for and a sense of immersion that few games have since matched, RPGs encouraged us to believe that the implausible was suddenly not only possible, but inevitable. Who among us wasn’t moved during the Opera Scene in Final Fantasy VI – or when Crono meets his end at the hand of Lavos, only to reemerge thanks to the careful manipulation of time?
We are eternally thankful for the plethora of re-releases and special editions that have come out since that time, but have always yearned for something more – for a revival of sorts. Because we dedicated the better part of our childhood to these games, we feel it’s only fitting to play our small role in bringing them back into the public consciousness. No longer can we stand idly by while the old-school RPG is seemingly forgotten by big name developers. With that I present to you our latest effort: Hiro Fodder: A Blue Hope.
What is Hiro Fodder: A Blue Hope?
Hiro Fodder: A Blue Hope is both a love letter to classic RPGs and a comment on every cliché they abused. We examine the usual formula by flipping it around and looking through the monster's eyes, where the human villages are frightening and dangerous and dark caves are a safe place to hide. The story begins where all these games begin: a Tutorial Town, a starting zone filled with overly helpful people who constantly repeat the same instructions and pathetic level 1 monsters that exist only to be slaughtered by heroes when they are still too weak to fight anything else. But everything changes when the tutorial monsters discover the mechanics of the game world and realize they can use them too. They form an "anti-hero party" and set off on their own quest to chase the human heroes around the world and get their revenge.
With your help, we will tell the story of Hiro Fodder – a blue slime tired of being picked on by Heroes who only view monsters as a convenient diversion – and his rag-tag group of allies consisting of:
Murmet: A targeting dummy brought to life via an Intellect spell but forced to remain quiet while others torture him.
Kaemon: Proud warrior of the Guins who comes to realize the horrible truths that have befallen his once celebrated race. Yes, he is a penguin.
Aixyno: A baby dragon whelp who hungers for revenge…and food.
Equal parts heartfelt drama and uproarious comedy, Hiro Fodder: A Blue Hope promises to evoke nostalgic responses from those who once loved traditional RPGs, and also aspires to reach the younger generation who may be unaware of the classics.
With your generous contributions we promise to deliver on the following:
- A combat system based on the Active Time Battle System from Final Fantasy VI, but enhanced to include more intuitive AI functionality. Enemies will react to attacks and employ their own strategies, forcing players to think on their feet. We’ve also amplified the speed at which combat plays out, giving it a more real-time feel.
- A completely original soundtrack consisting of over 20 tracks.
- Fully animated, hand-drawn player and combat sprites.
- Gorgeous spell animations.
- Custom tilesets and combat backgrounds.
- A full release on PC and Xbox.
- Random encounters that do not only initiate combat. Some monsters that you meet in your journey will want to share gifts with you. Others will want to spar with you: win and be granted immediate stat bonuses.
- Dynamic leveling bonuses that reward players based on performance
- Hours upon hours of gameplay!
- Full game delivered in approximately 8 months.
That’s the bare minimum. If we manage to surpass our goal by a significant margin we will also include the following:
- Ports to Android, iOS and Mac
- A larger bestiary featuring more enemy animations
- Mini-events and an optional side-quest or two…or more
- More fleshed out NPCs
- Advanced lighting and weather effects
The game was structured with all of these features in mind, and we want to do our best to deliver on everything originally conceived in the Game Design Document.
We are 100% dedicated to this project. Most of us have made games together before, and we feel the time is ripe to finally develop the game we’ve yearned to create for years. The game has been fully designed, and as you can see from our video and in-game screen captures many of the core mechanics have already been implemented.
If you’re wondering what we need the additional funding for the answer is simple – we want to make the best game possible. With any donations received we plan on hiring a third artist to join our team who will be responsible for helping out with spell animations and other miscellaneous artwork (menus, UI, etc). In addition, we would love to hire an SFX professional to complement our wonderful music composer. Our current team members long for the ability to focus on A Blue Hope full-time. But most importantly, we want to create a polished, expansive game chock full of events, enemies and dungeons. Eventually, we would like to produce a sequel, but that can only happen once we succeed at making the first.
The funding for this game has come directly from the Lead Designer’s pockets and given the difficult economic times we all struggle through it will be challenging for him to sustain its current pace of development without your much appreciated help.
Divergent Games – our company name was founded on the belief that for every path taken, others are left behind. Before production began we commonly asked ourselves, “What if we were developers during the Golden Age of the JRPG – what approach would we take?” or “What would 2D JRPGs look like today if 3D gaming never existed?” We are driven by these questions, these alternatives. At heart we are gamers, and as such are always seeking ways to not necessarily improve upon an existing formula but to branch off from it and explore unfounded avenues.
Our team currently consists of the following members:
Robert DellaFave: Lead Designer/Level Designer/Scripting – Robert has been involved in the industry for over 7 years and possesses a wealth of experience working with larger and smaller game studios alike. He has designed and programmed five independent games within the past two years – each of which was released for the Xbox’s Independent Channel. He is currently in charge of the game and level design of our game and also assists with the high-level programming.
Ryan Ocello – Screenwriter/Assistant Level Designer – Ryan has been an avid screenwriter for over a decade and has been recognized for his award winning talents. He has managed to turn our initial concepts into a fleshed out, living, breathing world. A jack of all trades, Ryan helps out wherever he is needed and has made significant contributions to the battle system and overall design of the game. He is also to thank for editing our Kickstarter video.
Koby Duck – Programming – Koby is nothing short of a programming prodigy. In addition to his illustrious coding skills, he tends to believe that making games is more important than sleeping. Koby has implemented our ambitious combat system, created in-house development tools and is currently working on a scripting system.
Matthew Burton – Combat Background Art/Tilesets – Matt is our resident art guru. Capable of creating art that combines the flavor of old-school RPGs with modern technology , Matt has been working with us for three projects now and will resort to eating rice for the next 9 months if that’s what it takes to finish the game.
Kalie Walker – Sprites/Animation – Our newest member is an established sprite artist who went to the same Game Design University as Matt. Always humble and hard working, Kalie gives life to static images – and is solely responsible for all the movement you will see onscreen.
Liam O’Gorman – Music Composition – An IT guy by trade but a musician at heart, Liam is our highly valued music composer. From the time he picked up his first guitar over 20 years ago to the present, Liam has been nearly obsessed with conveying ideas through composition. The emotions evoked in his works run the gamut from despair to elation and inspiration.
We have a wonderful array of gifts lined up for you guys. Lower-tier contributors will receive digital copies of the game and our custom soundtrack. Instead of just gifting a digital copy of a solitary game, we’ll be offering our more generous patrons free copies of every game we ever create. Our team members are also preparing art booklets, laminated and signed world maps and t-shirts to show our appreciation for our backers. In addition, the most charitable contributors will have an NPC named after them and possibly even an in-game shrine erected in their honor. Special thanks in the credits will be given to all of those contributing just five dollars.
There you have it: our story, concept art, initial tileset and mechanics are all done or well on their way to being done, we just need you for the rest. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to learn a bit about Hiro Fodder: A Blue Hope. We hope that you can help turn our vision into a reality.
*On a side: Please note that none of us are professional actors, so if the video is a tiny bit jumpy in places it's because we asked to do multiple takes. But it was so important for us to convey our message properly, that the extra takes were well worth it.
With your generous contributions, we expect to take another 8 months to deliver the game. We’ve been working tirelessly since last December and have the game completely designed. In addition, most of our development tools are complete or nearly complete. Production is well under way.
No – while we feel that RPG Maker is a great prototyping tool and certainly capable of producing quality games, we want to include very specific features. Thus, it was to our benefit to create in-house development tools. The map editor, sprite editor and scripting engine were written in C# and C++. We hope that by creating flexible tools we will be able to rapidly develop future 16 and 32-bit style RPGs.
Initially it was not, but due to popular request we have decided to include it!
By all means, send me your ideas for NPCs and I'll do everything I can to work with them. If you want to create a monster with your name, message me the details. If you have an idea of what you'd like them to say, let me know. I'll see how I can weave them into the story.
Absolutely, a Linux port would be one of our few stretch goals. We are currently in the process of determining how much longer and how many more man-hours it would take.
Yes. The game will be made available directly through our under construction website. If we are fortunate enough to make it onto a service like Steam, we would have to abide by their requirements, but anyone who wants a DRM free copy, will get one.
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