It’s rare that I begin a Kickstarter article by discussing graphics, but in the case of Elysian Shadows — which has been in production since the era of the Dreamcast — this is perhaps the only proper place to kick things off. Although the devs originally started their game as a love letter to classical 16-Bit RPGs, such as Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger, the group quickly found themselves with the desire to go beyond normal sprite limitations. They then began envisioning a graphical engine that combined a traditional 2D sprite based aesthetic with all of the newer lighting, shadowing, physics, and particle effects that had become par for course in most modern gaming experiences.
To that end they began the process of creating an all new game engine for rendering a 3D game world that — due to being populated entirely by 2D sprites — would look exactly like a classical 16-bit game at first glance, yet would show its true majesty when in motion. Although the most ideal way to understand what their game engine has so far accomplished would be for you to look at the images included in this article, it should suffice to say that they’ve made a very special effects laden take on a Paper Mario title. Furthermore — not content to merely have a bunch of pretty particles and ray cast shadows all over the place — the team has even licensed the SpriteLamp engine, which enables the shadowing on sprites to dynamically react to whatever direction the light is coming from.
After much toiling and sweating — as evidenced by the fact that their original development efforts began on the Dreamcast — the team eventually completed their new game engine, only to be faced with a far greater dilemma: they hadn’t yet made a game for it to run. Having already spent much time and effort merely perfecting their new 3D/2D hybrid game engine, they were no longer in a position to safely continue unless additional development funds were secured. It was to this end that they recently approached Kickstarter with a request for the $150,000 needed to begin developing a fully fledged Action RPG on their new game engine, of which a healthy $95k has so far been secured!
The premise, as stated by the developers, for the specific game concept that these additional funds would go towards has been described thusly:
“Travel through lush environments and diverse biomes, exploring a series of mysterious ruins, and discovering a world caught in constant conflict between magic and technology. Magic is a gift reserved for only the loyal followers of The Creator, while the non religious sects of society are forced to rely upon technology in their daily lives. Upon uncovering a mysterious artifact deep within one of the ancient ruins scattered throughout the land, Julien and friends find themselves thrust into the middle of this rising conflict. Can you solve the mystery of the ancient civilizations and prevent the destruction of your own?”
This Action RPG — if funded — is currently set to see a release on the PC, Mac, Linux, OUYA, Android, iOS, and — as part of the developers’ original core intentions — even the very Dreamcast herself as well!
Currently one can — for a donation of just $15 dollars — secure for themselves a launch day copy of the game on any of the following platforms: Windows, OUYA, Linux, Mac, and Android (and even receive access to a very special backer only sword in the process). Meanwhile — for those whom donate even more money to the cause — the fundraiser’s expanded rewards include: additional backer only weapons and armor, an Elysian Shadows art book, downloads of the game’s soundtrack, physical copies, and much more! However, the most exclusive reward of all — available only to those whom donate a staggering $5000 — is an all expenses paid trip to meet the game’s developers for an entire week (during which time they’ll teach you anything about game design that you want).
Although things are currently looking up so far — with nearly 2/3rds the goal secured, and a whopping twenty days remaining — there is still much work to be done, especially if Elysian Shadows’ many stretch goals are to be achieved. With enough extra funding they currently plan to do all of the following: release Elysian Shadows on even more systems, design a unique new game + experience, enable cross platform saves, and so much more! Therefore, in case you should desire to ensure that Elysian Shadows becomes the absolute best Action RPG ever — as well as certainly one of the most unique looking — then it is vital that you chip in your donations before August 31st rolls around.