About this project
Every single one of our stretch goals has been reached! Thank you so much for the tremendous support! All excess amounts pledged will be used solely for the purpose of developing the game even further!
When was the last time you played an RPG where you are the chosen hero, foretold by prophecy to venture on a quest to kill dragons, challenge gods, and ultimately save the world from utter destruction? For most of you, it was probably the last one you played.
The Old North is a world of fantasies and realities. Of swords and sorceries, yet of humans and mortals. A world where the utmost evil is not a dimension-defying sorcerer or an awakened godlike creature of ancient myths, but the darkness lurking in every man's heart. A world where peace, love, and compassion stand side by side with hatred, pride, and jealousy. A world where the virtues and vices of humanity are two sides of the same coin. Grey morals, questionable justice, and blind faith are among the main themes of Celestian Tales.
Spanning three decades in total, Celestian Tales is a game where its characters grow and its lands evolve with time. It puts the responsibility in your hands as your decisions today determine how the future looks like. When your journey in the Old North reaches its end, it wants you to ask yourself: "Did I do the right thing?".
The game will be made in three continuous parts, each offering hours of solid gameplay. The first part of the game is scheduled for late 2014, and all three will be done by mid-2015. Celestian Tales is created using Unity engine for PC, Mac, and Linux, and will be available DRM-Free.
From the cold northern seas, where no sailing ship has ever returned, came barbaric marauders aboard terrifying longboats. Every town they passed through was pillaged, its men killed, its women taken, its children forced to bear witness. In this time of turmoil, six young nobles from different families were sent to serve House Levant, one of the three major bloodlines in the Old North, to join the battlefield under its banner as they learn their footing in knighthood.
Able men were drafted from villages to join the ranks of militia in the name of glory and patriotism. They went with weapons in hands, leaving farms and families to wither and die as winter approaches. Food, scarce in every town's granary, was forcefully bargained for many pieces of gold. But wealth is meaningless when there is no food to be bought, no grain to ease the hunger. There is always more than one side of a story, and not all of it is pretty.
As the flames of war against the marauders blaze on, the real foes lying within begin to slither. Intrigues of betrayal brewed amongst sworn allies. Faith and loyalty used as tools of propaganda. Truth distorted by layers of deceit. Justice bent by bribery. War is merely a board where these games of shadows are played.
Begin your journey as a youth learning your steps into knighthood. Serve great and powerful heroes as their squires. Take part in campaigns of glory by their sides. Be there as time withers even the mightiest of mortals. When heroes of today replace the yesterday, will you stand to defend your ideals? Will you be steadfast as realities confront your naivete? Will your dark secrets be kept hidden from even dearest ones?
As decades change and tragedies strike, people come out a different person. The face you see in the mirror might not be a face you recognize. Flames once shining in your eyes might have turned to cold ashes. Sincere laughters might have vanished into fake smiles put in place to please your peers. Or perhaps you will stay the same, as unrelenting as ever in your beliefs. The path of life has many branches; it is up to you to pick which to tread.
Celestian Tales: Old North is a three decades-long story-driven RPG with six playable cast, multiple personal arcs, environmental puzzles, and turn-based tactical combat.
The story is told in a manner similar to Odin Sphere, where each of the six playable characters follows a personal point of view. At times it will overlap with other characters' personal storyline or converge with the 'main arc', in which they experience events together.
Combat starts similarly like Grandia, which initiates when you interact with an enemy on an exploration scene. It's designed to be fewer in numbers but carry more impact. We want them not to be playtime-fillers clogging your way from one point to another with plenty of half-minute encounters, but to be real, threatening challenges.
To purposefully avoid or chase enemies is integrated as part of the storyline elements. For example, not fighting any single fey creature when you attempt to pass through an elven forest would raise your standings as a friend of nature. This will in turn affect how persuasive you are to the elvenkin, who may not aid those they distrust
The combat system is influenced by games such as Final Fantasy VI and Dungeons & Dragons, combining turn-based combat and broad options of character customization and team composition so that you can develop your personal combat style.
You can, for example, configure Ylianne as a multi-target damage dealer to make an offensive team. You can instead turn her into a buffer, adding much to an ally's damage, and pair her with a devastating damager such as Reynard. Perhaps you favour added survivability and add in Aria to patch the wounds while others do their part. Maybe you'd rather have everyone be generalists that can fill multiple roles and adapt as you go. The possibilities are almost limitless.
All six characters share a single experience pool and therefore will level up together. There will be no need to grind just so you can effectively use characters seldom taken into battle (we all know how tedious that can turn out to be).
Instead of having one main protagonist, Celestian Tales: Old North conveys its story through six points of view from characters with contrasting backgrounds. One person's truth may not be another's as there might be hidden stories behind the events you witness, shown only through a specific character's arc.
The game seeks to deliver different messages and values through each persona. When you play on another point of view, you will be faced with a new kind of experience as you discover insights to the main storyline as well as unseen aspects private to the character.
The six pivotal characters interact tightly with one another, brewing unique chemistries and enriching the storyline with human emotions. Discover friendship and romance, brotherhood and rivalry, as well as hatred and jealousy as Celestian Tales aims to build a living, breathing world, where each of its people brims with his/her own personality.
Celestian Tales does not attempt to remake or imitate the vintage style. It strives to re-imagine the classic and blend it with modern technology. Combining pixel sprites animation, painstakingly hand-drawn environment, a range of particle effects, and a hybrid of eastern and western illustration style, the game boasts a distinct visual identity that displays its unique personality
Animations nowadays often take a 3D approach for its relative simplicity and ease of being reused. Inspired by pixel-sprited games such as the older Suikoden titles and Ragnarok Online, Celestian Tales makes moving sprites in 2D, several times larger and far more detailed than the classics, retaining the nostalgic feel while still enhancing visual quality.
It takes eight frames for a character to run to one direction and seventeen frames for a common enemy to attack in combat, each hand-drawn one pixel at a time. You can look at some of the animations frame-by-frame below:
Celestian Tales' exploration scenes are made in top-down perspective in its reiteration of the classic RPG style. All environment assets are digitally painted, pieced together in complex layers, and then further beautified by particle effects and dynamic lighting.
While combat closely adheres to the familiar turn-based interface, its backgrounds are each a single large artwork firstly made with pencil on paper, and then water-colored before digitally retouched. The synthesis of pixel animations and painted background creates a hybrid style unique to the game.
As with the story and arts, audio is a key part of Celestian Tales. In an RPG like this, music has to be the medium that speaks for the world, conveying the wholeness of the setting. We are proud to have Agate Simfonia as our valuable ally both in making beautiful tracks and creating organic sounds to be integrated with the game's 3D environmental soundscape.
It's tough describing audio with words, so grab a headphone and listen through their creations below:
Ekuator Games was born out of gamers who feel that games nowadays are increasingly becoming too focused on improving graphics and gameplay. Storylines, on the other hand, are either recycled from the old clichés again and again or just blatantly thrown out of the window.
Since its birth, Ekuator has evolved into an experienced team of seven, committed to bringing games that aren't just fun to play and nice to look at, but also contain deeper stories and convey messages that players can remember for a long time. Our vision is for our games to ultimately be a part of who you are, and you a part of what our games are.
As you can see from the prototype, Celestian Tales is currently not just an idea or concept. It's not a draft on paper or a compilation of sketches. It has a working, playable shape you can try yourself. With your support, Ekuator is a team more than capable of making Celestian Tales a reality.
In July 2013, we launched our first Kickstarter attempt. It ran until August and fell short of the target. However, thanks to the exposure it generated, we received external financial support which allowed us to continue building the game further.
Within that short extension, we worked full-time for Celestian Tales. We took in numerous backer feedbacks, revamped the game to a higher level, and constantly updated everyone of what we do. The power of community has evolved Celestian Tales to its current form, far beyond where we thought it could go. It's an amazing collaboration and we wish for you to join us in this wonderful journey.
The lifeline of a Kickstarter project lies on those who believe in it. Actively engaging others through communities and social media is vital to Celestian Tales' success. We humbly ask for your support to call your friends to arm and spread the word of this project.
We have made it part of our mission to work closely with you, and that includes keeping things transparent on where the amounts pledged go. We try our best to keep costs down, and you can see below the list of things we're going to spend it on:
- 10% goes straight to Kickstarter and Amazon
- 15% prepared for Reward Fulfilment (this must be accounted for, or there could be problems in the future)
- 20% dedicated for Audio and Illustrations
- 10% reserved for utility expenses such as electricity, water, and internet connection.
- 45% used so five of our team members who work full-time for Celestian Tales will be able to afford basic needs for ten months. In case you want to count, it's about $270 NZD/month for each person. Living costs here are low, and we're pushing it as borderline 'enough' as possible.
Celestian Tales will be made in several parts alike to The Walking Dead. Each part is designed to deliver several hours of solid content and replayability by itself, yet is a smaller part of one major storyline. The purpose of this separation is both to increase working efficiency and to allow us to assess how players tend to make their choices, so that we can craft the next parts better.
Backers for the Complete Edition will receive Part One when it's released (scheduled for late 2014), and will be able to immediately expand the game when the next part is ready. Would we at any time have additional side stories or other non-cosmetic contents released for Celestian Tales: Old North, you'll also be eligible for them at no additional costs.
Additional wardrobe costumes available on Kickstarter will be backers-exclusive, and you'll even be able to help us decide which to be finalized. Though we may release more cosmetic items in the future, the very first ones are reserved only for you as a token of our gratitude.
All non-digital rewards are Kickstarter-exclusive and will not be produced for any other reason than backer fulfilment. You are our dear supporters who have put your trust in us, and we wish to show you how much we respect that trust.
Above is one of several early concept sketches which will be made into silver-finished 2" tokens of honor. These tokens bear the symbols of Deus Valarus and the Queendom, and each will be personally engraved with your name (and title, if you'd like) as one of the very first founders of the Old North.
For your ease, we have assembled all of the reward tiers into a table below. Yellow marks the new rewards you get for that tier. All numbers are shown in New Zealand Dollars.
For you wishing to customize your personal rewards, please refer to the add-ons table shown below. All numbers are in New Zealand Dollars.
*Physical add-ons require you to add shipping fees.
- If you have not backed for a physical tier, you have to add $35 NZD shipping fee.
- If you have backed for the Collector tier, you only have to add $15 NZD additional shipping fee.
- If you have backed for at least the Treasurer tier, there is no additional shipping fee.
You are the ones who will decide the future of Celestian Tales. If this game is something you wish to happen, please join us in spreading the word and consider becoming a backer.
Your support will allow us to develop Celestian Tales to its final shape. Your feedbacks will transform it to become more than what it currently is. And when you return from your journey in the Old North, it is the memories lingering in your heart that will truly give life to this game.
It is you who make dreams like this happen. Thank you.
Risks and challenges
This project is not just an idea or concept. We've been working full time on Celestian Tales for months now, where it has significantly evolved over the time. It has a playable shape, core mechanics, working systems, and final game assets. Getting it to the finish line is a matter of multiplying the things we've done so far.
Not a single project can be free of obstacles. There had been several challenges up to this point; all of which we've persevered against. However, it's inevitable that problems may rise in the future. To prepare ourselves for these possibilities, we've set aside a significant buffer and a number of side plans.
As we develop the game, we've been keeping in touch with our supporters, taking in their feedbacks and having two-way interactions. It's part of our mission to work closely with you, and whatever happens we'll be informing everyone about what's currently happening through regular updates and development blog.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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