Sea of Stars (Retro RPG from Sabotage Studio) - News and Development Thread

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Sea of Stars is a retro inspired RPG from Sabotage Team, the creators behind The Messenger. Sea of Stars serves as a prequel to The Messenger. That being said, newcomers should rest assured that Sea of Stars is absolutely enjoyable as a self-contained experience and doesn’t depend on having played The Messenger. In fact, it will even work the other way around should you choose to play The Messenger after Sea of Stars.

Sea of Stars tells the story of two Children of the Solstice who will combine the powers of the sun and moon to perform Eclipse Magic, the only force capable of fending off the monstrous creations of the evil alchemist known as the Fleshmancer.

In their campaign, Sabotage Studios said that they aim to modernize the classic RPG turn-bases system, storytelling, exploration and interactions with the environment, while still offering a slice of nostalgia and fun.
Sea of Stars is inspired by cult classics like Super Mario RPG, Illusion of Gaia and the legendary Chrono Trigger.





Much like Chrono Trigger, there are no random battles and no separate battle screen.

Timed Hits ala Super Mario RPG/ Mario & Luigi/Paper Mario where precise player input will increase damage done by your characters, or mitigate incoming attacks.

More recently, there's a break/boost mechanic like Octopath Traveler.

From the Kickstarter page:

Spell-breaking: Making a point to break the potential linearity of turn-based combat, enemies can mount especially strong attacks or spells. While a good use of timed hits will always remove a good chunk of the damage dealt, even the smallest minion can be lethal if left unchecked while casting.

Enemies in a casting state display a bar with what we simply refer to as “locks”, each with an icon representing the damage type required to break it. For every broken lock, the ensuing spell’s efficiency is reduced. Break all of them, and the enemy’s action is entirely cancelled. This spell-breaking gameplay mechanic truly comes to life when groups of enemies demand clutch reactions and choices as more than one is preparing a spell, coupled with playable characters capable of combo attacks and multi-hit special moves.
Boost: To shake things up even more, performing a regular attack generates “Eclipse Orbs”, which can later be absorbed to double the effect of any action (regular attack, special attack, healing, spells, etc...)
CURRENT DATE: 2022

From the website's FAQ

The game is designed to be played on PC and console. For specifics, rest assured that we are in touch with the key players of our industry, and that the game will be where its potential players are.

It is hard to predict platforms as we are at the dawn of a new generation, but we are keeping close watch, have extensive porting experience, and fully intend on supporting all current generation platforms with Sea of Stars.


AND MORE TO COME...

  • Engaging turn-based combat. Setting out to create our own “definitive edition” for the genre, combat gameplay includes active player input during attack animations (timed hits), multi-character combo attacks, boosting, and active defense options to cancel enemies spell-casting. For a more immersive experience, there are no random encounters, no transitions to a separate battlefield, and no grinding. Both navigation and combat happen in the same environment.​
  • Unshackled traversal. Swim, climb, vault, jump off or hoist up ledges as you run through the world with a navigation system based on platformer expertise that breaks free from the classic bound-to-the-grid tileset movement.​
  • Prequel story set in The Messenger’s universe with dozens of original characters and arcs that will take you on a captivating journey. Sometimes epic, sometimes silly, and other times emotional, Sea of Stars will take you on a memorable journey exploring classic themes of struggle, adventure, and friendship. It might make you cry, and will certainly make you laugh.​
  • Full-on dynamic lighting. Our custom-made render pipeline allows the creation of a breathtaking world coming to life by pushing the limits of 2D pixel-art games.​
  • Applying the Sabotage treatment to the turn-based RPG genre. Every system has been deeply analyzed to create an experience that pays respect to retro classics, while reworking some elements to offer a modernized experience free of irritants and timesinks​




UPDATE # 6. Chrono Trigger Composer Yasunori Mitsuda joins the party!

In a turn of events we have yet to let sink in, the master himself is joining Sea of Stars as a guest composer.

By contributing his legendary musical genius to the project, he will help convey the depth of this fantasy world's story while ensuring its nostalgic roots are paid proper homage. Being such an inspiration for all of us, Mitsuda represents exactly what Sea of Stars needed to feel truly whole.



Playable Combat Character Reveal - Garl


April 17, 2020



Garl was born a regular kid devoid of any special powers, though his hometown happens to be Mooncradle, the very place where a small community is tasked with taking care of the Children of the Solstice until they become old enough to enter training. Born during the same year as Valere and Zale, the three of them grew up together as best friends, often dreaming of the day they would leave to explore the world.

To Garl, the call of adventure is an excuse to taste all the flavors life has to offer, and to challenge himself in preparing wholesome meals despite the daily unpredictabilities of being the devoted friend and caretaker of two Solstice Warriors on a mission.


Eager to prove themselves at a young age, the trio once ventured into the forbidden cavern. On this fateful day, Garl lost his left eye to a monster, learning the hard way that it was not the place of the common folk to engage in combat with The Fleshmancer’s minions. As punishment, his two best friends were taken into Zenith Academy right away, separating Garl from his friends for the remainder of his childhood.

Even though the only official training he would receive was in the art of cooking, Garl never doubted that his strong innate constitution would make him fit for any challenges.


When trouble comes, he acts as a defensive fighter, wielding his cauldron lid as a makeshift shield. He always tries his best to protect his friends, who he sincerely believes will become the finest Solstice Warriors the world has ever known.

Outside of combat, Garl always keeps an eye out for unique ingredients to use at the campfire, always making a point to feed his companions while also boosting their morale using varying perfumes and textures. Anyone he can get to set aside their worries and connect to the moment by enjoying a good meal is a win in his book!


The Elder Mist hesitantly approves of him as a travel companion for Zale and Valere, on the promise that he would be mindful of his limitations when it came to combat. He was uniquely gregarious, that one, choosing to let his scar show openly, and somehow having a smile big enough to make up for it. Plus, Garl's indomitable inclination to care for others would certainly provide much needed moral and nutritious support for the hardships ahead.

There was also something peculiar in the stars about him, as it seemed his heart just might be warm enough to “soothe a long tormented soul”.


New Music Track Release - Jungle Path


April 15, 2020
A lot of you have been asking for more music, so here we are!


Jungle Path is an outdoor dungeon and the starting area of Watcher Island, where the demo takes place. Here is the music track for it, which you might have heard glimpses of in our Kickstarter video. It starts off with the day version of the track and switches over to the night version around the midway point.


So feast your ears, and give Eric's commentary below a read:​
  1. I wanted a very percussive, rhythmic soundtrack, because you don’t really get that in an RPG. Especially a retro RPG, you might have a tambourine, and a bongo, that’s about it. There are literal hundreds of thousands of percussion instruments in the real world, and each region of our world has unique instruments and rhythms, I think it’s only right that the game world feels similar in that respect.​
  2. We had several discussions about finding a “signature instrument” for the music, and I kept coming back to various types of Bells. Not only is there a large enough variety to never run out of options, they do sound rather “starry” which is theoretically appropriate for a game called Sea Of Stars. And they’re a percussion instrument.​
  3. SNES soundfonts. It is my correct opinion that nothing makes a true retro gamer’s ears perk up more than the identifiably sultry sounds of the S-SMP audio subsystem. Given that the SoS art style has a lot more depth than The Messenger, 8 bit chiptunes would not be appropriate here. But it’s still supposed to feel retro, and the best way to make that happen is to use actual sounds from actual SNES games.​
So this tune came about from exploring many different possibilities, and I’m reasonably pleased with the result. The drums in this song are a little more deliberate than some other areas of the game, but it’s the jungle level, so more tribal beats were necessary."



Mooncradle Village


April 13, 2020


This is the game's starting area.
Sitting on Evermist Island's crescent-shaped peninsula is the town of Mooncradle, where a humble community prepares welcoming ceremonies at every solstice, expecting The Great Eagle to bring them a newborn baby.

For time immemorial, Mooncradle's villagers have been nurturing these Children of the Solstice until they were of age to receive training at Zenith Academy, ascending into warriors of either the sun or the moon, and devoting their lives to the war against the armies of The Fleshmancer.

Solstice Warriors usually travel as a pair of complementary powers, to ensure all enemies can be fended off. Free to roam the world's many islands, they help its denizens and follow their instinct to assess any growing threats.

It is always a pleasure for the people of Mooncradle to see Solstice Warriors come and go as they periodically report to Zenith Academy's Headmaster, who compiles intelligence in order to plan the next eclipse's gathering.

Indeed, some very rare elite creations of The Fleshmancer, known as Dwellers, are impervious to all but a very potent power available to Solstice Warriors exclusively while the moon completely blocks out the sun. Tradition has it that all Solstice Warriors would gather at each eclipse, to ensure swift and decisive victory over the targeted Dweller.

Our story begins in Mooncradle, where Valere and Zale live a happy, albeit secluded childhood, getting into all kinds of trouble with their best friend Garl, a regular kid who simply happened to be born in Mooncradle directly.

As they would soon find out, the world was down to only three Solstice Warriors. For there to be any hope of removing the growing threat known as the Dweller of Woe, our two heroes would need to show potential quickly...




Why not make The Messenger 2?
We love many different game genres, and are on a quest to create our own versions of the ones that are dearest to us. We’re proud of The Messenger and are excited to build on its foundation with Sea of Stars. This is not saying Messenger 2 will never happen 😉

Which games is Sea of Stars inspired by?
Too many to name or even count, though a few obvious ones would be Super Mario RPG, Illusion of Gaia, and dare we say Chrono Trigger.

Is it the same team as The Messenger?
Yes, the core team from The Messenger has fully transitioned over to Sea of Stars. As making an RPG was a bigger undertaking for us, we ramped up the team to 16 full time members, all cut from the same cloth, and working from our studio located in downtown Quebec City, Canada.

How big is the Sea of Stars world?
In Sea of Stars you get your own boat to sail around the world’s many islands as you explore and unravel mysteries. As far as production goes, the scope is around 4 times that of The Messenger.

How many playable characters will we encounter in Sea of Stars?
Sea of Stars features six unique playable combat characters, each with their own backstory, personal objectives, playstyle, special skills, and synergies with the rest of the party. In this multi-layered story, motivations sometimes align in unexpected ways. In the interest of allowing you to go into the game without any major spoilers, we will only be revealing the two main protagonists for now.

How long have you been working on the game already?
Aside from the ideation process which has been a lifelong hobby of creating a shared universe in which all of our games could take place, a few devs began laying the technical foundation late 2018. The rest of the studio transitioned full time in July 2019 after the release of Picnic Panic.

Where can I learn more about the game's universe?
The community maintains a wiki about every single detail they discover, and a lot of our members love sharing theories and takeaways on the unexpectedly deep lore of our game world. Curious and inquisitive minds are always welcome, feel free to join the fun on Discord!

What is the expected length of the Kickstarter demo?
It took 45 minutes for the Sabotage Team.




















 
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