Hello, I’m Benjamin Aldrich, Creative Director for Project Swordsmith. I’ve been an anime and video game fan for many years, but lately I’ve been frustrated with the flood of stereotypes, tropes, and cardboard worlds and characters that often come with them. That’s why I came up with the idea for Project Swordsmith, a Dieselpunk RPG that takes the whimsy and fun of tropes that make anime so engaging and throws them into a more realistic setting where we can explore the ramifications they might have in a real society and the deeper issues that might arise.
We’re making this game using an episodic TV show approach, making and releasing one episode at a time. Each episode is intended to deliver the videogame equivalent of one episode of a TV show. This kickstarter is to help us fund the Pilot and if we get a lot of support we’ll be able to produce the rest of the episodes for our fully-planned out first season.
By DuCiel Spitzfaden
At its heart Project Swordsmith’s story is about respect and social equality and the struggles different people have to endure to acquire them. The story focuses on a group of soldiers called “Knights,” an elite group of soldiers with supernatural powers. “Project Swordsmith” is a government program which selects eligible candidates for Knighthood. Being chosen is an honor, but service is mandatory. Many Knights struggle with conflicting societal expectations and prejudices. Some are people who would have been thought weak before they were chosen, some may have been laughed at for even dreaming of being chosen, and everyone has to adapt to accept their new positions. They are the country's best war weapons.
We have a lot of variety in our characters’ circumstances and personalities. The player will be able to choose which character to play. Each character has his or her own perspective on the story which you will see only when you play as that character. The characters you don’t choose will be the rest of your squad and you’ll be able to learn a little about their unique stories by interacting with them socially and developing your relationships with them. It is our intention that decisions made in each episode will carry through as new episodes are released and the relationships and story will develop according to player input.
The structure of our gameplay and narrative are designed to allow the player to explore the stories of individuals struggling with their own problems and those forced upon them by society.
By DuCiel Spitzfaden
As an artist, I have always loved games where every aspect of the game’s look and feel, from the fonts to the character designs, supports the same overarching concept.
We’re aiming for that same level of consistency with Swordsmith’s aesthetics. Enemies will have diesel-powered armor, menus will look like propaganda posters, narrations will be done in a 1940’s radio announcer style. Cell-shaded textures and cute anime character designs will keep the harsh military flavor from turning the style too gritty while allowing us to communicate a depth of emotion through expressions.
The little details that take the setting from a backdrop to a believable world are very important to us. To ensure that the whole game is rich, consistent, and immersive, we’re doing a lot of research and paying close attention to details from names of enemies to the style of typewriter that might be on a character’s desk.
By John Devan Matthew Thomas
My name is John Devan Matthew Thomas. I’m the lead systems designer for Project Swordsmith.
There are a number of things we wanted to do with Project Swordsmith. We wanted to capture both strategic gameplay, like that of Valkyria Chronicles, where accomplishing your object requires clever use of each of the characters available to you, and the fast paced gameplay of a fighter sim.
The way we meld fast-paced action and reaction fighting with the strategic full party control afforded by turn based combat gives Project Swordsmith a unique feel to its play. On top of that, the simplicity of the system makes this unique gameplay accessible and fun for everyone. So far I’m really proud of what we’ve made, and I’m really looking forward to continuing development so we can share it with you.
By Jonathan Brum
Hi, I'm Jonathan Brum and I'm leading the music design for Project Swordsmith. I'll be using Finale to write out the notes for the songs and the soundtrack you guys'll be hearing. We're going for a very thematic, very exciting feel. I hope you guys will pick up on it, I hope you enjoy it. I hope you have as much fun listening to it as I'm having putting it together.
By Patrick Perry
Hey there, I’m Patrick Perry, the programmer for Project Swordsmith. By using the Unity game engine, we have an amazing amount of flexibility in developing Project Swordsmith. We can publish the game to almost any platform with very little trouble and without having to sacrifice anything. Unity is also easy to script and program for, which will help us get the game out faster.
You know how time is money? Well, we have a great team of people, but without money with which to pay them, things like student loans, rent, and food will become such powerful forces that our workers will be drawn off to various corners of the world to try and get jobs that will support them!
About half of the money for this kickstarter is for licenses for the pro version of unity, team licenses, and assets that we need to pay outside help to get, and the rest is to ensure that we can survive until the release date and work on the project full-time. The more successful we are with the pilot and with kickstarter, the more likely it is that we'll be able to keep on working past the pilot's release and make the full game.
If we get even more money than expected, we'll give the game a bit more polish with things like Voice Actors.
Risks and challenges
The risk with Project Swordsmith is the same reason we need the money to begin with: Time. We have the skills necessary to make this game, we have the people who are committed to making it happen. What we need is the ability to work full time to get the project out. We're absolutely committed to finishing the pilot, funding or no, but after that we may need to be shipping people off to better-paying jobs if we can't support ourselves off of this.
As for the release date, it's possible it will need to be pushed back if we encounter bugs with Unity or Blender that need to be worked though. We've tried to account for such difficulties in our forecast and given ourselves extra time to work out answers to unforeseen problems, but it's always possible that more time will be needed. In that case, I can only say we'll push on through and try to get the pilot out as soon as possible even if there are delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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