Last Summer, John Smedley left Sony Online Entertainment, and now he’s reappeared with a new company and a new game in development. The company is called Pixelmage Games and the game they’re working on is Hero’s Song, a 2D pixel art action RPG.
Hero’s Song is described as “a hardcore action RPG for hardcore gamers” and it really does look like it has an exciting amount of complexity and depth. Rather than being a story-driven RPG with a main quest, Hero’s Song has decided to drop the main quest to focus on being a world-driven game with many different quests to choose from.
So determined are Pixelmage to get the world they’re building just right, they’ve had bestselling author Patrick Rothfuss on board helping them create rich histories for the variety of worlds you can play in. The history, inhabitants, and biomes of these worlds are dependent on which gods you choose to rule over them and there are a few to choose from.
As with any classic fantasy RPG, your character begins with a race and a class which will determine their personal and genealogical history and you then build upon this, customising stats and powers to suit your playstyle. One of the most exciting things about this game is the sheer number of classes you have to choose from; as well as having the traditional rogue, wizard, and warrior classes you’ll also find things like beast master and dreadlord which should massively diversify play styles.
It’ll be important to feel that your character has an element of individuality, because as well as offering a single player mode, Hero’s Song will also be playable online with thousands of others by joining another server, or hosting your own.
Although the game attempts to push the boundaries of world creation and does something different by dropping the main quest (which many players eventually lose track of in open world RPGs anyway) it does still have notable classic RPG features. The most visually obvious example of this is the 2D pixel art style. The art style looks wonderfully vibrant and nostalgia-inspiring. The game also uses the tried-and-tested click to move and attack mechanic of classic RPGs. Knowing how important a good soundtrack is in creating that adventuring high fantasy atmosphere, Pixelmage have Inon Zur on board to compose. He’s the man behind the music in games such as Dragon Age, Fallout 3, and Crysis, and his decision to create music that’s uplifting rather than dark sounds extremely promising.
Hero’s Song is attempting to raise $800,000 on Kickstarter now, and with 29 days to go it’s raised $49,359 at time of writing. You can check out Hero’s Song’s Kickstarter page here, where pledging $25 (around £18) will get you a copy of the game on completion and access to the game’s second Beta which is expected to take place in September 2016.
The game will initially be for PC with plans to come to Mac and it’s stated outright that it’ll will feature no microtransactions. They’ve also indicated interest in, but no immediate plans for, a console version on the page FAQs.
Often crowdfunding a game can feel like a bit of a risk considering so many things can go wrong in the development process, but it seems that Pixelmage are at pains to emphasise the quality and experience of the team working on Hero’s Song as well as a commitment to transparency and weekly updates. They also seem to be pretty far along in the game development process, having other investment behind them, and I imagine most of the money raised through the Kickstarter will go towards speeding up the development process to attempt to reach the already incredibly close final release window of October 2016.
I love a lore-filled game world with lots of character customisation and open-ended gameplay and this one seems to offer that in abundance. I do wonder, though, at the desire to make it a multiplayer online and single player game; it might have been preferable to pick one and perfect it rather than trying to be all things to all RPG players.
Images via Kickstarter