Get down with Project Phoenix
There's a lot to digest here. Project Phoenix is an indie JRPG with real-time strategy elements. Its Kickstarter campaign will launch in a few days and it's asking for $100,000. Heading the project is Hiroaki Yura. Kiyoshi Arai (Final Fantasy XII, Final Fantasy XIV) is the art director and the music is coming from none other than famed Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu in his first work on an indie game. You had me at Final Fantasy XII -- its possibly my favorite in the series, in no small part because of its art direction -- but Uematsu, too?
The project also features veterans of Halo 4, Crysis 3, LA Noire, and more. It's not just an Eastern affair. It also boasts some unannounced members, including, a "secret designer from a leading anime mecha title that changed the course of Japanese pop culture’s influence in the world." Does that mean Hideaki Anno of Evangelion fame?
Also, one of the Kickstarter backer rewards will put you in the game as an NPC, "such as a bar owner," with your own personal theme music composed by Uematsu himself. Take all my money.
Now, big names are fine and dandy, but I'm sure some people want to know what the game is about.
Players will follow the story of the amnesiac angel, Ruffles, who has landed in the world of Azuregard and encounters the troubled Templar, Marcus Stern. Together with the elven princess Sylrianah, who is reserved but curious to see the world beyond the forest, and Zarum the Lost, a battlemage with his own internal conflicts , they form an unlikely bond. These four heroes must discover their place in a world brought to war by misunderstanding and ignorance, and perhaps ultimately even save it from itself.
Project Phoenix is a sprawling adventure where you will travel and battle enemies across Azuregard. The game departs from traditional RPG conventions through its use of RTS elements, yielding a combat system that is fast-paced and dynamic. Furthermore, players can have their characters interact with environmental terrain features, be it rope bridges or boulders, to create tactical advantages.
I almost wanted to sigh at the amnesiac protagonist, but "Ruffles?" Ruffles. That is probably the cutest possible name -- and that art is adorable. The plot seems appropriately trope-filled, but that doesn't mean it won't be done well. More exciting is that the gameplay is trying to do more than cut and paste basic JRPG mechanics. The RTS fusion seems like it could yield good things.
Project Phoenix is aiming for a mid 2015 release on PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android. Yes, mobile. I'll wait to see if the Kickstarter yields a more definite look at the game before getting a bit worried that this won't be the grandiose adventure I'm yearning for because it's also coming to mobile platforms. It seems the company is also almost finished with talks to release the game on PlayStation 4 and Vita. They're "90% sure it will happen."
I am so, so excited. Make sure to look at the full resolution city concept art in the gallery. It is amazing.