Zeboyd Games is a small team with a clear passion for what it does: making Japanese-style role-playing games that evoke a feeling of nostalgia for the 8- and 16-bit eras.
The company's newest game, Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4, launched recently. We chatted about it with Robert Boyd from the developer a few days ago, at which point he teased a few details about the company's upcoming game. It was set to be an all-original title rather than a parody, he said, and it would be particularly inspired by things like Lunar and Prydain Chronicles.
Now, Zeboyd has officially revealed the title and some more detailed information about the upcoming game. It's called Cosmic Star Heroine, it features a female protagonist named Alyssa L'Salle who wouldn't look out of place in a Phantasy Star game, and has elements of base-building and agent recruitment reminiscent of the Suikoden series.
The new game will make use of the popular cross-platform Unity engine rather than XNA, which the team has used for its previous games to date. XNA allowed relatively straightforward porting between PC and Xbox 360, but limited the audience in the latter's case to the oft-forgotten Xbox Live Indie Games marketplace rather than the marginally more visible Xbox Live Arcade. Unity, meanwhile, supports a wide variety of platforms -- including next-gen systems and mobile -- and will mean that the game will hopefully be seen by a much wider variety of people, regardless of their gaming platform of choice.
The game will still feature turn-based combat, as it's a style of gameplay Boyd feels particularly strongly about, but rather than following the Final Fantasy mold of switching to a separate battle screen, Cosmic Star Heroine will instead make use of a system closer to Chrono Trigger whereby field exploration and battle both take place on the same screen. Boyd also says that enemy groups will patrol and follow you around the map rather than standing dumbly in one place, meaning that you'll be able to make use of stealth to avoid confrontation if you so desire, too. Fitting for a game about a futuristic super-spy.
Zeboyd's previous games Breath of Death VII, Cthulhu Saves the World and, to a lesser extent, the two Penny Arcade games, have all been parodies paying loving homage to the conventions of the 8- and 16-bit JRPG era, but Boyd is keen to note that Cosmic Star Heroine will be the developer's first game to "play it straight," as it were -- though this doesn't mean that the game will be without humor. Boyd is also keen to work with Hyperduck Soundworks again for the game's music -- Hyperduck provided the soundtrack to Rain-Slick 4 -- but notes that the team hasn't signed anything just yet.
Boyd says a Kickstarter for the game is planned later in the year, but hasn't revealed any details about that as yet. In the meantime, he says, the team is planning to be very open about the development process of the game, providing regular updates via social media and Zeboyd's own site. Links to all the relevant pages can be found on the official announcement post.