Hi everyone! We got approval from kickstarter so we’re making the Cosmic Star Heroine kickstarter go live tomorrow morning at around 9 am!
We’re really excited! We’ve been working on preparing this kickstarter for the past few months and can’t wait to show it off! If you like what you see and want to see us continue to improve with each game, please donate! $10 will get you a copy of the game on the format of your choice – PSN (PS4/Vita), Steam (PC/Mac), or DRM-Free PC/Mac – and there are plenty of other fun rewards to be had at the various levels. And just as important as your own support is to help spread the word. Tell your friends who might be interested, post the news on forums, mention the game on Facebook, Twitter, and the like, and more! The more people find out about the game, the more money we raise, the more freedom we’ll have in developing our best game yet!
And once again, thank you for all of your support over the years! We couldn’t have done this without you! Let’s make Cosmic Star Heroine our best game yet!
Cornerstone: The Song of Tyrim – About $6.7k raised ($30k goal). About 310 backers. 27 days left. Cel-shaded isuals reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Action/Adventure game with an emphasis on exploration.
Comic ConQuest – About $6k raised ($20k goal). About 160 backers. 24 days left. Colorful tactical RPG where convention cosplayers gain the powers of their costumes. Jeff Matsuda as executive producer/featured artist. Freemium.
GoD Factory – About $22k CAD raised ($70k goal). About 430 backers. 19 days left. Competitive multiplayer combat game for PC, Mac, and Linux. Second attempt at a kickstarter; previous one failed at $33k raised. Should be interesting to see if they make it this time.
Cosmic Star Heroine Kickstarter Progress Report
The page & the video for the Cosmic Star Heroine kickstarter are finished! We’re just waiting for Kickstarter to approve everything now. If it gets approved in time, the kickstarter will go live next week. We’ll let you know once it’s been approved and we have a firm date.
We posted some ideas earlier on, but here’s the final version of the reward tiers for our Cosmic Star Heroine kickstarter.
$1 - Registered Voter Tier! Voting rights – The ability to vote on periodic design polls presented to all of our backers!
$10 - Game Tier! A digital copy of the game on your choice of platform – PSN (PS4 & Vita), Steam (PC & Mac), or DRM-free PC/Mac. Also all rewards in the $1 Registered Voter Tier!
$15 - Extras Tier! Digital strategy guide for the game, Zeboyd wallpaper & forum avatars! Also all rewards in the $10 Game Tier!
$20 - Soundtrack Tier! Digital copy of the complete Cosmic Star Heroine soundtrack! Also all rewards in the $15 Extras Tier!
$25 - Zeboyd Tier! Digital copies of our previous games (Cthulhu Saves the World, Breath of Death VII, and Penny Arcade’s On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 3 & 4) on Steam and a digital copy of the complete soundtrack to Precipice of Darkness 4! Also all rewards in the $20 Soundtrack Tier!
$30 - Art Book Tier! Digital art book for Cosmic Star Heroine and Special Thanks inclusion in the game’s credits! Also all rewards in the $25 Zeboyd Tier!
$40 - Epiphany Tier! Second copy of the game and Digital PDFs of Molly the Were-Zompire & Epiphany in Spaaace! (Robert Boyd’s Choose Your Own Adventure-style novels that were released right before we started making RPGs). PDFs will include the latest edits & new art from Bill Stiernberg. Also all rewards in the $30 Art Book Tier!
$50 - Sausage Tier! Early PC beta access to the game and Making Of Cosmic Star Heroine article after release. Also all rewards in the $40 Epiphany Tier!
$75 - Spy Tier! Be a part of the top secret spy directory in-game! Also all rewards in the $50 Sausage Tier!
$100 - Poster Tier! Get a collection of 3 Posters (2 Cosmic Star Heroine-themed, 1 general Zeboyd Games-themed). Also all rewards in the $75 Spy Tier!
$100 - T-Shirt Tier! Get a special Cosmic Star Heroine T-Shirt! Also all rewards in the $75 Spy Tier!
$200 - Fan-art tier! Your fan-art will be included in-game in an art gallery somewhere in the game’s galaxy. Note: Art is subject to approval (can’t be more adult than our content rating) and must be original work or related to one of our games (no one else’s IP). Also all rewards in the $75 Spy Tier!
$350 - Were-Zompire Tier! Get a physical copy of Molly the Were-Zompire & Epiphany in Spaaace! (complete with new art from Bill Stiernberg). Also all rewards in the $75 Spy Tier!
$350 - Monster Tier! Design a monster that will appear somewhere in-game. Note design is subject to approval (can’t be more adult than our rating or derivative of someone else’s IP). Also all rewards in the $75 Spy Tier!
$500 - Physical Tier! Get the poster collection, Cosmic Star Heroine T-Shirt, and Physical Copy of Molly the Were-Zompire & Epiphany in Spaaace! Also all rewards in the $75 Spy Tier!
$500 - Design Tier! Design a monster that will appear in game & your fan-art will be included in an in-game art gallery. Note subject to approval (See Monster & Fan-Art Tiers for details). Also all rewards in the $75 Spy Tier!
$1000 - Patron of the Arts Tier! Included in a Special “Patron of the Arts” Thanks mention in the credits. Also all rewards in the $500 Design Tier & the $500 Physical Tier!
$1500 - NPC Tier! Become an NPC in-game (or design an alter-ego if you’d rather not be in the game personally)! Also all rewards in the $1000 Patron of the Arts Tier!
$3000 - Secret Agent Tier! Become a recruitable character in-game (or design an alter-ego if you’d rather not be in the game personally)! This character will not be playable in-battle but is available to join your spy base & offer support. Also all rewards in the $1000 Patron of the Arts Tier!
Note, some of the higher tiers are limited in number. Also, right now, the PSN rewards are limited to North America but we’re talking to Sony about the possibility of getting some EU codes as well for backers outside North America and hope to get that taken care of .
We’re still working on polishing up the kickstarter page but hope to have it ready to submit soon.
The Long Dark – $63k CAD ($200k CAD goal). About 2280 backers. 25 days left to go. First-person survival apocalypse game minus the typical supernatural horror element. Various industry veterans.
DCS WWII: Europe 1944 – $89k ($100k goal). About 1280 backers. 14 days left to go. Flight sim. Interesting in that it’s a F2P game which usually don’t do well on kickstarter. Plus, flight sims are a rare breed these days.
Pocket Rumble – $6k ($16k goal). About 280 backers. Only 29 hours left. 2D Fighting game with Neo Geo Pocket Color-style visuals. Love how it seems to be designed to give a traditional fighting game experience but make it more accessible to non-hardcore players (with things like the frame data bar). Really hope this one makes it although it’ll need to see a big surge at the end since it only has a little over a day left.
Citizens of Earth – $600 ($100k goal). About 20 backers. 29 days left. Turn-based Parody JRPG with a modern setting. Looks like a fun game (think it’s interesting how they’re handling MP with a low maximum & many abilities that restore MP in-combat). Off to a slow start; hope they can pick up momentum.
Cosmic Star Heroine Kickstarter Progress Report
Shot live-action footage for our kickstarter video this week. Still working on editing the video & putting the final touches on the kickstarter page. We’ll let you know when we’ve submitted the project to Kickstarter (hopefully next week) and of course, when it goes live.
Hyper Light Drifter – $59k ($27k goal). About 2800 backers. 29 days left. 2D pixel-art Action/RPG. Visuals reminiscent of Sword & Sworcery. Has the FEZ composer on-board.
River City Ransom: Underground – $48k CAD ($180k goal). About 1200 backers. 26 days left. Officially licensed sequel to the cult classic NES, Brawler/RPG.
Cosmic Star Heroine Kickstarter Progress Report
Currently scheduled to do the live-action portion of our kickstarter video on Monday next week. The first draft went well so I’m excited about how this’ll turn out. Should get everything necessary to start the kickstarter finished next week & then it’s time to submit!
Hey everyone, Bill Stiernberg here.
Super busy today but I HAD to show you this awesome Alyssa fan art we received recently by the talented Dice9999:
Alyssa – CSH – by Dice9999
Awesome work! If you thought it had kind of a Suikoden feel to it, well, I asked Dice if she was influenced by Suikoden or SNK’s art styles: she said her favorite Suiko artist was Fumi Ishikawa, but takes a lot of inspiration from many sources. Check out her DeviantArt page for more here, or check out her tumblr which is a work in progress here.
The Wonderful 101 is one of the best games to come out this year & is arguably the first truly killer app for the Wii U (though NSMBU was a lot of fun & Zombi U had some interesting ideas). It is also currently averaging around a 78% on Gamerankings.
There are many things that the developers of The Wonderful 101 could have changed to make the game more inviting to the press & general public for that matter but ultimately games like The Wonderful 101 are a poor fit for the gaming press.
The press is well-equipped to handle experience-focused games: i.e. your typical AAA single-player game these days. Play through the game, ooh & ah at all the pretty sights, and then write down your impressions. Easy stuff.
The press is even relatively well-equipped to handle competitive skill-focused multi-player games as long as they’re grounded in a well-established genre. Got a FPS to review? Jot down a list of features, compare its level of execution to the most popular games in the genre at the time, and you’re good.
Where it gets to be a lot more hit & miss is when the press is faced with a skill-focused game that doesn’t easily fit into a pre-established category. These are games designed to be played over a period of months, honing your craft & improving your scores & times, not rushed through to see what happens at the end of the story. And if the reviewer doesn’t even realize that this is a skill-focused game and instead thinks that the game is an experienced-focused game because it’s single-player and has a story? Heaven help the developer of that game who is hoping for a good metacritic score because they’re not going to get it.
Now if someone buys a game like this and doesn’t immediately get it, what are they going to do? Well, they have an investment in the game (the money they spent and their desire to enjoy the game) so they’re going to put in the effort to try to get something out of the game. They’ll keep at it until the game’s systems click for them, or they’ll look online at gameplay videos, ask questions on forums, check out a FAQ, etc. Some of them will eventually end up deciding that the game is bad or just not for them, but many of them will eventually end up enjoying the game. And if they end up enjoying the game, they may stick with the game and compete on the leaderboards, try to 100% the game, get all the achievements, etc.
Contrast this with your typical reviewer. They’re pressed for time so they’re unlikely to really master any of the games that they have to review. They’re unlikely to connect with other fans of the game or look up hints & strategies (and for that matter, hints & strategies may not even exist online since they may have the game pre-release). In short they have no incentive to try to get the most out of a game. In fact, they may even feel like putting any extra effort into a game may taint their “unbiased” viewpoint.
Before anyone gets the wrong idea, I’m not saying this to badmouth the gaming press. Skill-focused games that don’t have an easy analogue in a pre-existing genre are hard to get into for a lot of people. Not having that community support structure online to help makes things even harder. But as someone who loves new experiences & loves a good challenge, it’s frustrating when many of my favorite games, games that I think are expertly crafted (except for, perhaps, not doing a good enough job teaching the depths of their gameplay) don’t get the respect that they deserve. And it’s frustrating because by not understanding these games & by reviewing them negatively, we’re actively discouraging creativity in game design.
And this is not just a “Oh, the game is too hard.” Hard games can get good review scores… if they’re firmly based in a reviewer’s background knowledge. Like take Dark Souls for example. Dark Souls is expertly crafted & has a lot of creative ideas, but it’s firmly grounded in the Action/RPG dungeon crawl genre. It’s not wildly creative; they took a well-established idea, added some neat ideas, and then did a fantastic job with everything.
Compare that to something like The Wonderful 101. If you had to stick it in one genre, you could call it a highly technical Brawler/Adventure game like Devil May Cry. But then you add shape-based controls. And transformations. And minor RTS elements. And level design that completely changes everything on a regular basis the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the NES Battletoads. And then you add a focus on perfection & improving your score like you’d see in a hardcore bullet-hell shmup (the game gives you a score & a rating every few minutes) and it’s no wonder that a lot of people are having trouble mentally parsing it.
Or take one of my all-time favorites, Mirror’s Edge. It’s a cross between a racing game & a platformer which is a combination that you hardly ever see. Then they gave it a first-person perspective (which is never used in platformers and is only sometimes used in racing games). And then they gave it level design that on the surface feels more like a FPS than either a racing game or a platformer and yeah, the resulting chimera takes a while to get used to… but once it does, it’s amazing. I love to say that the story mode in Mirror’s Edge is all big one tutorial and that after you’ve completed it, that’s when the game really opens up and becomes a ton of fun, but I’m afraid a lot of people played through the campaign and then figured the game was over, instead of just beginning.
And don’t even get me started on Siren or Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter.
Okay, enough ranting. Now for some constructive criticism.
Developers, make better tutorials. Hold the player’s hand at the beginning long enough for them to understand the proper way to play the game & give them the tools to progress further, and then get out of their way, and let them play the game & grow on their own.
Reviewers, make an honest effort to find the fun in games. And if it’s easy to miss that fun, either through a poor in-game tutorial or by mismatched conceptions going in, then help others find that fun through your review. You could even link to great tutorials like these:
And everyone, please buy The Wonderful 101. The industry needs more games with this level of craft & creativity.
Shantae: Half-Genie Hero – $155k ($400k goal). About 4100 backers. 27 days. First kickstarter from Wayforward Games (best known for their 2D sequels & remakes to other publisher’s IPs) and the first HD Shantae game.
Mighty No. 9 – $1.7 million ($900k goal). About 30k backers. 25 days left. Basically a new Mega Man game from the creator of Mega Man. Announced at PAX and unfortunately, we missed the panel (had an appointment beforehand and when we got there, they had already closed the doors).
Sunless Sea - £35k (£60k goal). About 1300 backers. 26 days left. Exploration/survival game with a definite Lovecraftian bent. Explore a massive underground ocean.
Alteil Horizons – $12k ($100k goal). About 150 backers. 29 days left. Online CCG billed as being from the creators of Star Ocean & Valkyrie Profile.
Octopus City – $13k ($7k goal). About 550 backers. Old-school point & click adventure game set in a tentacle-filled world.
If you’ve been a reader of our site for any period of time, you probably know that we’re planning on doing a kickstarter this month for our next RPG, Cosmic Star Heroine. The kickstarter goal will last for 30 days, have a goal of $100k, and you’ll be able to get a copy of the game for PC/Mac or PS4/Vita for $10 along with plenty of other fun rewards at higher tiers. We’re still working on the kickstarter page & some of the logistics (for example, making sure we’re all set up with Amazon to receive payments) but hoping to have everything finished in a week or two. After that, we’ll need to get the project approved by kickstarter which should only take a few days (according to the site) and then soon after that, it’s kickstarter time!