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Witness the Rebirth of the Classic RPG in Elysian Shadows, a Retro-Inspired, Current-Gen Experience on Kickstarter

Full Disclosure: I am friends with game director Falco Girgis and a few other staff members working on Elysian Shadows.

We’ve been covering Elysian Shadows, a love-letter to fans of classic role playing games and most especially – the Sega Dreamcast. The team at Elysian Shadows has been diligently working on this game for quite some time now, and one of the best parts of their development is that it always remains 100% percent transparent.

There are no PR walls or aggressive editing of their ongoing Youtube reality series of sorts, Adventures in Game Development. The team has remained faithful and true to their fans, and their vision of what a dream RPG is.

This is the kind of motivation and drive which has lead them to mostly quit their day jobs and throw their chances to the wheel of fate. Now that the Elysian Shadows Kickstarter has gone live, we’ve gotten some more insight into just how far their ambition with the title actually goes (hint: it’s pretty goddamn far).

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The world of Elysian Shadows is taken straight out of classic role playing games that you may or may not have played growing up. If not, I feel sorry for you – but I digress. This game is meant to essentially be a throwback experience, while also having oodles of amazing looking (and sounding) delights that you’d normally experience in modern video games.

While the game was originally conceived for the Sega Dreamcast, a now discontinued and yet still (forward) thinking console, the team are ensuring that it will be properly adapted to its PC, Mac, Linux, and Mobile platforms. This means that despite the game pushing the Dreamcast to its veritable limits, it will look even better on say, a PC and maxed out settings.

So just how can a 16-bit RPG look even better, aside from the sprites? For one, the game’s perspective can be swapped between traditional 2D and full 3D, providing a constantly engaging visual experience. You can add onto this the fact that Elysian Shadows will also support dynamic lighting, physics, and full 3D audio soundscapes.

Oh and I implore you, click on these screenshots to see them in full HD – they’re pretty gorgeous.

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To put how dedicated the team at Elysian Shadows truly is into perspective – they even developed their own homemade engine over the course of two years simply to further their vision with this game.

This is evident in the freakish attention to detail with their sprites and pixels, and how modern lighting and shadows simply make them look even better. All of the characters and objects have full rigid body physics and their own particle effects.

Here’s one of the coolest things which Elysian Shadows has going for it – the team’s goal of creating a totally seamless world, filled with no pointless doors or loading screens. There is no overworld map, and if you see a door you’ll be able to open it – guaranteed!

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As seen above, Elysian Shadows will also have various alternatives to your traditional role playing elements, which typically come in the form of platforming segments or challenging puzzles.

You’re probably wondering how a real time lighting engine can make the difference in a game like Elysian Shadows – outside of dungeons and indoor environments, the world itself also has a day and night system. This affects monsters, NPCs, sidequests, and so on.

Coming from this, the world in Elysian Shadows is being designed to feel like a living, breathing place that you’ll hopefully want to see more of. The core storyline is influenced by moral debacles in our modern society, and are written to be emotionally engaging.

For god’s sake, even the game’s soundtrack is a veritable mix of old and new styles, providing the grounds for instant nostalgia:

It wouldn’t make sense to spout this much hope for the game without mentioning its combat – easily the core of what any role playing game fan’s expectations are. Combat is somewhat of an action RPG mix, and it’s certainly sounding exciting from the get-go.

With the aforementioned physics engine within the game, you’ll be able to use the environment to your advantage. If you see a barrel, you can pick it up and throw it at your enemy’s face. If you wanted to be really effective, you can throw enemies at other enemies too!

Characters in Elysian Shadows are not simple cookie cutter palettes for  you to inject your personality onto. They’re highly customizable, sporting unlockable abilities and techniques, and even a robust class system.

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I’d like to close this off with a nod to how welcoming and unflenchingly honest the entire team on Elysian Shadows are. Not only have they been bearing it all via their Adventures in Game Development series, but they are doing this for the fans of these games, because they’re fans of them as well.

You really can’t ask for a more transparent developer, especially when you’re talking about a game of theirs is on Kickstarter in a plea for funding. This is the direction in which the crowd-funding scene needs to move in, and the Elysian Shadows team is doing it in stride.

While I’ve been following their development for some time now, their Kickstarter launch had some issues with uploading their pitch video (which you can see at the top) – despite this, the team trucked on and hosted an impromptu live stream where they talked about the game and did some Q&A.

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This is the kind of resolve that will earn your contributions, and the kind of resolve that will get this game finished and matching to their expectations of what a true next-generation RPG would be like.

I have only the utmost respect for the team at Elysian Shadows, and I am sincerely thankful that I have been covering their game, and that I’ve had the chance to interview them as well.

Please, I implore you to check out their Kickstarter page and consider throwing some money at them – Elysian Shadows and its team are the very definition of indie developers. They have talent, passion, and the drive to make a very special end product.

Brandon Orselli

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Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.