Erik Calautti
Indie JRPG Project Phoenix Needs Your Help!
Trust us, you don't want to ignore this one.
08.18.13 - 10:36 PM

It's no secret that the JRPG genre hasn't changed much over the years. Linearity and unsurprising plot twists are becoming a yawning point for many fans of the genre, and the ol' "you hit me, I hit you" mechanic is well past it's prime. That being said, I know a few of you JRPG purists (like myself) get heated whenever you hear this kind of talk. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" I agree that what makes JRPGs so unique and enjoyable is that familiar tried and true style that we've all grown to love. I'm certainly not calling for the banishment of all traditional JRPGs (I'd seriously cry if that happened). However, us purists need to allow (and support) a new breed of JRPG. One that can appeal to a wider and more diverse spectrum of gamers. One that can win the hearts of western RPG and Japanese RPG fans alike. One that isn't afraid to break the barriers of traditional storytelling and allow for a more open world experience. But with the big name JRPG studios playing it safe with each new title, how are we ever going to get a game that breaks the JRPG mold?

Introducing Creative Intelligence Arts' Project Phoenix:

You can visit the game's Kickstarter page here.

If ever there was a Kickstarter campaign to support, it's this one. Combining the talent and passion of so many celebrated artists, designers, writers, and composers, this game is a love letter to long time fans of the genre. If the game's RTS battle system turns you off, I highly recommend giving the recent Fire Emblem: Awakening a shot before you decide to lose faith.

Just as a side note, something that really won me over in that campaign video was how they took the time to address how important music is in a JRPG. Remember when villains had iconic theme songs? Remember the time before voice acting when the tone of certain moments was defined by the music alone? I'm sure most of us can remember exactly which song was playing during that big cut scene or that final boss battle. Many recent JRPGs (and especially WRPGs, in my opinion) miss this mark. There are exceptions of course, such as the wonderful Ni No Kuni or Nier soundtracks, but modern JRPG scores have really seemed to hit somewhat of a wall. Hopefully Project Phoenix can change all that, especially with the aid of the always great Nobuo Uematsu.

As of now, Project Phoenix has well exceeded it's first 2 target goals, but a project of this magnitude definitely requires a lot more funds. Supporters have until September 11, 2013 to back the project and pick up some pretty cool prizes along the way, including the chance to work with the artists directly and design a playable character (all you need is $10,000. Pocket change!).

Project Phoenix is slated for a mid-2015 release for PC, Mac, and Linux systems via Steam and the game's website. iOS and Android will have a different version to the PC counterparts due to limitations. PlayStation 4 and other platforms are also being considered. Good luck, guys!