It's a lesson we never seem to learn... time isn't meant for human manipulation...
Sam Acacius is afraid. And why wouldn't he be? He's just been told that his home, Section 6 of the Orion Torus, is going to be destroyed within days. Encoded messages like this have been sent to people all across the ship by members of the underground dissidents; could this just be a ploy to rain instability on government control? Or is there a deeper meaning behind this information? In the back of his mind, one fact repeats itself: this message was given to him and only him...
Orion is a science-fiction visual novel that takes place on a circular torus-shaped-ship orbiting above 25th century Earth. Through the eyes of Sam Acacius, an introverted, but bright student, Orion explores themes such as the effect of human control over science, the nature of time, and political power in an era of advanced technology. As Sam struggles to understand the meaning of that strange message, you'll have a chance to delve into a world where the mechanization of life is limited only by the choices we make.
The international team behind Orion includes an array of talented voice actors, artists, composers, and game developers. For a narrative to be three-dimensional, it requires the depth of storytelling that only beautiful music and art can provide. As an example of both the story Orion will tell and what content we're able to produce with just limited pre-Kickstarter resources, we've included a link to a playable demo below!
Unzip/Extract the download and you'll then see the playable demo!
The story of Orion is told through the visual novel format, where the reader not only has character and background artwork to look at, but also text and the characters' voices. The game itself will work on any computer.
The full story will feature a total of four paths you can take, based on critical decisions you, the reader, make. Each of the four paths has two possible endings, resulting in a series of eight different ways your journey can go. We will also include a 'secret' ending, which will be unlocked upon finishing the other four paths.
Additionally, we're excited to include a pair of talented composers on our team who have contributed an amazing original soundtrack for Orion. Take a peek at just a few tracks below.
These screenshots and music pieces (along with the demo itself) are all works-in-progress and may change if we're given the opportunity to develop a full game. Nevertheless, the feel of Sam's world will remain the same as illustrated in this alpha test.
As introduced in the KS video above, we have a cast of eleven characters, each of whom are voiced.
P.W. Gerkman plays our protagonist, Sam Acacius. Along with his best friend, Cyrus (CV: Steven Kelly), and his brother Louca (CV: Jonah Scott), they make up the first characters you'll meet in the world of Orion.
Charles Nguyen & Michaela Laws play our resident gamers, Zachary & Zevera. The Kaitos siblings are experts at PAX, an immersive reality game popular on the Orion Torus.
In a world where technology is king, scientists are part of every government agency. Of course, few are as independent-minded as Arwa Hakim (CV: Adrienne Cox) or her mischievous A.I. creation, Virgil (CV: Ryan Lawhon).
Though never in agreement, Director Faye (CV: Stanton Nichols) and his deputy, Kiyomi Muranami (CV: Rachael Messer), hold the unique authority to decide the future of Sam's home.
The spiritual belief system on the ship, called Unionism, has made individual rights subject to one's ability to contribute to society. Mari (CV: Jill Harris) and the mysterious Issaku (CV: Timothy Kohler) will do everything they can to force a change in that system.
The majority of the Kickstarter budget is dedicated to paying our skilled production team and voice actors.
- Programmer, VAs, GUI, & sound design: $2,500
- Character, BG, and CG artists: $1,300
- Music: $600
- KS Fees: $600
The KS fees are a conservative estimate to ensure we have some breathing room between what we raise and how much we need to pay our team. Every dollar goes to the actual production of the visual novel. As our physical rewards are extremely easy to prepare, none of this budget will be wasted on such costs.
- $7,000 -- Find Orion exciting? We do too! At our first stretch goal, we'll be able to extend the length of the game, add character sprite variations, more CGs, unlockable content and more! You'll have the chance to learn about the history of 25th century Earth and gain a greater understanding of the characters Sam interacts with.
- $8,000 -- The Rebel Path unlocked! We'll include a full-path that explores the dissident group aboard the Orion torus, including their leader, Issaku. What information can they shed on Sam's past and what is the truth behind their movement?
- $10,000 -- We'll be able to hire a professional background artist for the full version of the game!
- $15,000 -- The Orion production team will add in audio-visual sequences (e.g. cut scenes) throughout the story! At this stretch goal, having already unlocked the world of the rebels, we'll also have a chance to learn about Mari's backstory. Why did she join Issaku's group anyway?
Reuben Lack is the creator and producer of Orion. He is a student at Emory University where he studies history and works extensively in student government. Reuben also runs the post-production startup, "Cylight Studios," which produces original audio content and provides audio services for creators of visual novels, audioplays, and other creative projects.
Ethan Nakashima is the associate producer and programmer of Orion. He studies computer science at California Polytechnic State University and is part of the executive staff at Cylight Studios.
Sound design and audio mixing for the project is done by Jonah Scott, who also serves as the VP of Production at Cylight Studios.
Risks and challenges
This kind of project involves a lot of moving parts, from artists to voice actors to actually programming the game. With this in mind, I've gathered together a talented production team that will ensure the final game will be done on-time and without too many hiccups along the way. Delivering the physical rewards will pose some administrative hurdles, though those are fairly easy to overcome.
I'm committed to keeping backers updated throughout the creation of this project. Just as it is with any internet-based work, organization is absolutely essential. Our demo is the best evidence that the Orion team will deliver what we've promised.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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