Here we go, time to start leaking some info about that project I talked about in the previous journal.
The main reason for me to start this new idea is that I finally managed to convince an IRL friend to help me with my otakuish endeavors, but it is also the opportunity for me to correct some mistakes.
What is "Serina, the Star Guardian" ?
It is a project for a flash based shoot them up geared towards anime and magical girls fans. The game is meant to use the experience I gathered with my previous flash games (mostly Victory Girl), and use them to create an even better game, while avoiding some key mistakes that plagued Victory Girl from the start.
For this project, I'll have the support from a good IRL friend for the game programming. Involving him and doing something that satisfies both of us was the main reason for us to start this project.
We have yet to decide if the game will be free or a cheap indie title. But we intend to rely much more on feedback to see early if we are doing things right, and try to take the good decisions for the future of the game.
Even if we end up thinking the game is good enough to be sold for a few bucks, free demos should come out to test the waters anyways.
We absolutely want to avoid the "damn I can't change that anymore now" syndrome, which pretty much plagues Victory girl right now.
Okay... but what actually is this about ? Who is Serina ?
Serina is a fairly normal middle school student who lives most of the time with her grandmother because of her busy, traveling parents. One day, she receives the responsibility to become the Star Guardian, a being empowered by the magic of the stars to fight against the Dark Empress, the avatar of void and entropy in the universe.
In order to fight the Dark Empress, Serina can call upon the powers of the various constellations of the zodiac, each one offering mastery over a different kind of magic. An obvious example would be Pisces giving control over water.
We want the game to feel a lot like an anime and are even hoping to be able to translate it in Japanese at some point. For now, the anime influence is there throught the art style, the magical girl based plot, and the character names, which have intended meaning when written in kanji ("Serina" pretty much means "to heal a cold star").
The game starts as the Dark Empress has initiated a terrible plan : she has trapped all the constellations of the zodiac and started draining them of their magic to power up terrifying war machines! Serina will have to defeat those machines, free the constellations, and then go defeat the dark Empress herself.
That sounds kinda nice... But how does that actually translate into a game?
The game is meant to mix a shooter with the logic behind the megaman series : the player will choose in which order he wishes to play the levels, and at the end of the level, a boss awaits!
Once the boss is defeated, a zodiac constellation is freed and Serina gains a new magical power, which translates into a new weapon (it is a shooter game, after all).
We are also hoping to be able to put some sidequests and bonus objectives in the game, to make things a bit less linear than most shooters. Those will remain a secret for now, though.
But I liked Victory Girl!!! Why change to this?!!
The main reason is that IRL friend. We met at computer science college, and since then we always wanted to create something together but never got to it because we focused too much on our own things. Now I finally found something on which we are on the same wavelength (as anime enthusiasts) and we can both use our skills.
Working together will also help us to stay focused, to work on one project more consistently by giving the other one kind boots to the butt on a regular basis. As amateurs, I think we really need that.
Other reason is that many early design decisions on Victory Girl were rushed, and I ended up with this fairly strange character for which I am no longer sure of her intended purpose or even if her very design was right.
Does that mean I give up on her? hopefully not. In fact, since "Serina, the star guardian" is also intended to be a shooter, the work could just be recycled between the two projects.
It is just theory, though. Don't count that as any guarantee of anything.
So, what now ?
Me and my friend are planning to use my Deviant Art as a developer blog for the project. We want to get the most out of you to avoid taking some bad early decisions. We also want to see if the global concept of the game feels appealing.
Since it is based on anime, magical girls and horoscope, we feel it definitely should be a lot of fun. But you'll be the voice that will tell us we are right or wrong about that.
(Translations of this FAQ in French and maybe Japanese should follow in the coming days)
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