Apr 132015
 

Earlier this year, we experimented with a super-heavy discount of Cthulhu Saves the World + Breath of Death VII on Steam that resulted in the bundle being under $0.50. We were surprised & pleased with the huge response so we're doing it again with an even bigger sale! Not only is the Cthulhu Saves the World bundle heavily discounted (even slightly cheaper than last time!) but our Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 & 4 bundle is also available for under $0.50! This is the biggest sale we've ever done directly on Steam and we're interested to see how well it goes. :)

Breath of Death VII: The Beginning was our first game as a team. Although we each had worked on smaller projects before, neither of us had done anything close to a full-fledged RPG before. I'm still a little surprised that not only were we able to make the whole thing in about 3 months, but people really enjoyed what we had made - an homage and parody of the 8-bit RPGs of our youth. You can see a lot of our key philosophies about game design right from the start like a desire to make RPGs accessible for new players while still filled with depth for advanced players and the idea that we shouldn't just copy old games but try to improve on their designs by removing what doesn't work & experimenting with gameplay systems. Breath of Death VII was a big hit on the Xbox Live Indie Game service, selling both a good number of copies for the platform and being one of the highest rated games. And you can get it on Steam bundled with our next game...

Cthulhu Saves the World! Cthulhu Saves the World was our big follow-up game to Breath of Death VII and featured more of everything - more scenarios, more music, more playable characters, more abilities, more jokes - along with noticeably improved graphics (early 16-bit style as opposed to BoDVII's 8-bit style). Foolishly, we though since we already had an engine from our previous game that we'd be able to finish Cthulhu Saves the World in no time - instead development took the better part of the year (and longer if you count the PC port & the enhancements we made for that). Cthulhu Saves the World is by far our best known & most popular game to date, although that will hopefully change when we release Cosmic Star Heroine later this year.

While we were working on Cthulhu Saves the World, Penny Arcade contacted us about the possibility of working together. They had started a Penny Arcade RPG series earlier, but work on the series with the original developer was canceled after the first two of the planned four games. Penny Arcade had seen our work with Breath of Death VII and thought we'd be a perfect fit for finishing off the series in a retro style. We were both big Penny Arcade fans and the terms they offered were very favorable to us - we'd get most of the revenue from the games, a great deal of flexibility in design, as well as assistance from Penny Arcade with marketing & producing the games - so we eagerly agreed to make Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 & 4.

Penny Arcade was great to work with, especially Jerry Holkins & Jeff Kalles who were the two people we interacted with the most. We gained a lot of experience in developing the Rainslick games with them, and we were able to drastically improve our map design and editing. The games turned out well - great graphics, humorous jokes, a fun Grandia-inspired battle system, and two different varieties of job systems (3 jobs simultaneous with PA3, monster + trainer with PA4). The Penny Arcade games were also the first time we worked with Hyperduck Soundworks (first on the PA3 free DLC & then on the entirety of PA4), the team that is doing all the audio for our current game.

So there you have it, a brief recap of our first 4 RPGs. Our next game, Cosmic Star Heroine, is poised to mark an exciting new chapter in our life as a game studio, but in the meantime, for less than $1, you could be playing 4 great RPGs right now. What are you waiting for? ;)

 Posted by at 11:25 am
Apr 012015
 

Zeboyd Games is proud to announce Cosmic Star Heroine Legend!

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Zeboyd Games is proud to announce Cosmic Star Heroine Legend, an exciting new portable RPG coming exclusively to the Nintendo Game Boy.

Join Alyssa, Chahn, and Dave on an epic RPG journey across the Zevanii system (other characters not included due to memory issues). Originally intended as a Breath of Death spin-off but later changed to Cosmic Star Heroine for better name recognition, Cosmic Star Heroine Legend is sure to delight players, both old and young. Taking inspiration from such classic RPGs as Great Greed, Knight Quest, and Sword of Hope, Cosmic Star Heroine Legend is destined to become an instant modern-day classic.

"With an install base of over 64 million systems, if Cosmic Star Heroine sells to just 5% of the total installbase, we'll make a fortune!" said Zeboyd Games designer, Robert Boyd. "And what better way to test the market for our games on Nintendo platforms than by supporting one of the most iconic Nintendo systems of all time?"

Cosmic Star Heroine Legend is scheduled to come out April 1, 2017. Following the examples of Square-Enix and Atlus, the expected MSRP is going to be $49.99.

For more information on the original Cosmic Star Heroine, coming soon to PS4, Vita, PC, and more, check out the official Cosmic Star Heroine media kit.

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 Posted by at 12:01 pm
Mar 122015
 

We've compiled a media kit full of Cosmic Star Heroine information and assets. This zip file includes frequently asked questions, links to videos & music, our contact information, and a bunch of screenshots & hi-res art. Feel free to use anything in this zip file on your websites when talking about the game. You can get it here.

This is version 1.0 of the Media Kit (updated March 12, 2015). We will be updating it with more stuff as the game's release approaches. :)

Here's a gallery of some of the images in the zip file:

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CSH Underwater CSH Ability Menu Cosmic Star Heroine Hack Battle Ship Landing CSH Terrorists CSH Nuluup CSH Nightshade CSH Mutated Jungle CSH Lab Tubes CSH Lab Screen CSH Jungle Battle 2 CSH Jungle Battle 1 CSH dialogue CSH Bridge

 Posted by at 2:35 pm
Feb 262015
 

We were trying to think of interesting things we could show off that were still early in the game (since we don't want to spoil too much of what happens later) and realized we hadn't shown off any images from the hacking segments.

Note, this is still a work-in-progress and we're still working on the hacking systems, both visually and mechanically. Still, this will give you an idea of where we're heading. Enjoy!

 Posted by at 10:23 am
Feb 022015
 

Rami Ismail of Vlambeer fame recently wrote an interesting article talking about the failures & success of the game industry. There's nothing particularly new in his article but it serves as a good summary of the current state of things.

We live in a world where it's never been easier to make video games. One-person & small teams now can make a video game, release it digitally, and hopefully find success without the need for a publisher. With that freedom & ease comes competition. In a world where everyone can make a video game, sometimes it feels like everyone IS making a video game.

You can't directly get rid of competition. You can't make people stop making video games.

So what are you to do in a world where everyone is making a video game and you're up against all of the classics of past years? There are basically three routes to success.

1 - Make a better game than everything else. We see this a lot in the AAA sphere. If we take one of the best games of the past & spend even more money on graphics & technology, the end result should be even better, right?

2 - Make everyone think that you have a better game than everyone else. Market, market, market. Spend a fortune on marketing, get celebrities to endorse your product, and try to buy your way to success.

3 - Make a different game than everyone else. We see this a lot in the indie sphere. If your game is the only game of its type, than everyone who wants to play a game of that type is yours, assuming quality & price matches up to their requirements. Most people don't make 100% original games, but making games in less crowded genres or with unusual premises can have a similar, though less absolute effect.

It's not enough to make a good game. It's not enough to make an excellent game. When I was at Playstation Experience 2014, I wandered around the indie section and pretty much every single game I saw looked like a high quality game. Despite that, I'm sure some of those games will not be financially successful.

Quality isn't enough. If you make a quality game that's similar to a thousand other quality games, you're still competing against a thousand other quality games.

The way to be successful as an indie who doesn't have the money to brute-force their way to success via marketing or better technology is to STOP COMPETING WITH EVERYONE ELSE. Make something that stands out. Make something that's different. Make a game that gets people to think "I want this game and no other game out there is an adequate substitute." Make something that's worth buying. Make something that's not "yet another" game. Make something that's glorious. Make something that's yours.

There's room for more success in the game industry than we've ever seen before, but we need to all stop fighting over the same little pond with the same kind of games. Let the big companies duke it out over a few scraps; in the mean time, there's a vast ocean awaiting us.

 Posted by at 10:22 am
Jan 232015
 

New Kickstarters:

Starr Mazer - $38k ($160k goal). 28 days left. Awesome looking mix of side-scrolling shmup and point & click adventure game. Alex Mauer (who did music for our 3rd game) is helping with the music.

Children of Morta - $33k ($65k goal). 27 days left. Top-down Action/RPG with Hyper Light Drifter-style art.

Steel Assault - $2k ($8k goal). 26 days left. NES-style Action/Platformer.

Previous Kickstarters:

Shadowrun: Hong Kong - $639k ($100k goal). 25 days left.

Drift Stage - $45k ($30k goal). 15 days left.

The Grisaia Trilogy: Three Huge Visual Novels for PC – $389k ($160k goal). 8 days left.

Recently Completed Kickstarters:

N/A

 Posted by at 11:45 am
Jan 202015
 

To start off, here are a couple new screenshots!

Here's a pic of Alyssa's quarters at the Agency of Peace & Intelligence!

And here's one of our heroes crossing a bridge! A bridge!

We're busy working on inserting content into the game at the moment. By our latest estimates, the main game should take between 10-14 hours to complete, plus an additional 3-6 hours for major side-quests. Unlike our previous games, side-quests won't just be "Go into non-descript small dungeon & fight a few monsters for loot" and in fact, all of the playable characters except Alyssa has a side-quest that's connected to them. We're having a lot of fun with these (including some homages to some of our favorite games) and hope you will too.

On the music front, Hyperduck is on a roll and has about 30 songs in finished or almost finished state. In some instances, they're doing multiple versions of the same song - for example, a faster, more intense remix for an area after it turns hostile. This soundtrack is going to be amazing when it's done!

We try to make our games so that as long as you take advantage of your characters' strengths & use strong strategies, you don't need to do extra grinding to progress. However, we know some people like to grind so they can steamroll the game while others like to know that the option of grinding is there for them in case they get stuck on a particularly hard boss. In order to fit those playstyles as well, we're thinking that we're going to add a VR battle option into the game. While in dungeons, you'll be able to select the VR Battle command from your main menu to enter VR mode where you'll fight random battles with enemies in that area for XP & credits. And in your base, there will be a special VR battle unit that you can use to fight extra hard bosses - these won't give XP or money but they will give you special rewards like powerful equipment the first time you beat each one.

Now let's talk about difficulty.

Difficulty is a tricky thing to get right in RPGs. Make a game too easy & people get bored. Make a game too hard & people get annoyed & may stop playing all together. Unfortunately, it feels like everyone's opinion on what's too easy or too hard is different.

In the past, we've given our games 4 difficulty options - Easy, Normal, Hard, and Insane - and allow players to adjust their difficulty mid-game. On the plus side, this allows players to tailor the game's difficulty to their own needs. On the down side, some people feel like they're not playing the game correctly if they don't play it on the default difficulty, even if they feel like the default difficulty is too easy or too hard for them.

As far as Cosmic Star Heroine's difficulty goes, there's a number of different routes we could take.

1) Multiple difficulties that the player can adjust mid-game like our previous games.
2) One main difficulty, but make sure that enough of the optional content is harder for people who want a challenge.
3) Gameplay modifiers like in Bastion/Transistor. You activate modifiers (like enemies become more dangerous when under 25% Max HP) that make the game harder, while also giving you rewards.

Any thoughts?

Oh and regardless of what we do, we'll probably have some sort of New Game+ mode for people who want to replay the game with all their previous stats/abilities/equipment intact.

In other subjects, we know trophies/achievements are serious business for a lot of people. None of our previous games have had a trophy system in them so we're quite new in this field. What are your trophy do's and don'ts? What kinds of trophies would you like to see in Cosmic Star Heroine?

Finally, we're going to be doing a Reddit AMA on Friday, January 30th. We'll be sure to post a link when it starts.

Thank you everyone for supporting us! Cosmic Star Heroine is going to be great!

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
Jan 162015
 

New Kickstarters:

Shadowrun: Hong Kong - $482k ($100k goal). 32 days left. Stretch goal-only Kickstarter to enhance the 3rd game in the new Shadowrun series.

Drift Stage - $40k ($30k goal). 23 days left. Arcade racing game with trippy color scheme.

Previous Kickstarters:

The Grisaia Trilogy: Three Huge Visual Novels for PC – $373k ($160k goal). 15 days left.

Recently Completed Kickstarters:

Aviary Attorney - £18k (£7k goal).

Yes, Your Grace - £7k (£6k goal).

Cube and Me [RE] - $7k ($15k goal).

Americana Dawn – $28k ($70k goal).

Clannad Official English Release – $541k ($150k goal).

 Posted by at 9:38 am
Dec 262014
 

Since I've noticed some confusion on the subject, here's a quick primer.

This is a screenshot of an 8-bit RPG (Dragon Quest IV, NES):

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This is a screenshot of a 16-bit RPG (Final Fantasy VI, SNES):

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Notice how the two screenshots are very different in detail & number of colors used?

I would include a 32-bit RPG example as well, but in the 32-bit era (Saturn, PS1), there was much greater variety in visual styles with some games using 2D but with more detail, animation, and effects than in 16-bit RPGs (Breath of Fire 3-4), some games using a mixture of 2D & 3D (Grandia, Xenogears), and some games using 3D characters on top of prerendered or FMV backgrounds (FF7-9, Parasite Eve 1-2).

Feel free to bookmark this page & refer to it when you're not sure whether to refer to a game as an 8-bit or 16-bit RPG.

 Posted by at 8:57 am