After leaving the company almost a year ago, ex-Sony Online head John Smedley announces a new Kickstarter campaign for a game developed by his new studio, Pixel Mage. Besides himself, other fantasy veterans, like Everquest co-creator Bill Trost and famed author Patrick Rothfuss, will join the fray in order to build an open world hardcore action-RPG.
Although the game, called Hero’s Song, looks rather common at first glance, adopting a pixel-style graphical aesthetic, the concept behind it is very interesting to say the least. The Pixel Mage studio claims that the game is somewhat procedurally generated. When you hit new game, after creating your character and choosing from a plethora of races and classes, you will be asked to choose what gods rule the world you want to create.
These gods change and shift the world accordingly, creating different biomes, enemies and choosing what races are present in the world. This concept of mix-matching biomes according to gods is extremely interesting, but we still don’t know if the studio will manage to create the game as it is presented in the campaign.
Hero’s Song’s gameplay is similar to Diablo, opting for a hack-and-slash action RPG viewed from an isometric perspective. But, in comparison to the frantic demon slaying of Diablo, this game is much more tactical and slow paced. One has to take into account that even if John Smedley stated that this is a roguelike game, this is completely not the case.
The game is played in real time and dying does not instantly delete your character. Instead, once you perish, you will be sent to the Shadow World where you will be forced to undergo a trial that differs according to the gods you chose at the beginning of the game. If you complete the trial, you get revived, if you fail it, your character will be deleted.
Hero’s Song can be played offline in singleplayer or online in multiplayer, like an MMO, on servers created by you. What is even more enticing is the idea that your character can reach godhood if you gain enough experience. Once you become a god, your character can be used by other players in order to create their own worlds, just like you did at the beginning of the game, basically allowing you to live forever.
Even if ex-Sony Online head John Smedley announces a new Kickstarter campaign alongside other gaming industry veterans, it is still unclear if Pixel Mage will manage to achieve its goal of $800.000. It will be interesting to see if the game’s intriguing approach on world building through the use of gods will see the light of day.