Former Sony Online Entertainment/Daybreak Games President John Smedley, who left the studio last summer to launch a new company, has finally revealed where he's gone and what he's been up to. He's now heading up a studio called Pixelmage Games, whose first project is a “2D pixel art action-RPG” called Hero's Song that's now taking a run at Kickstarter.
“Create epic fantasy worlds uniquely shaped by your choices, the power of the gods, and thousands of years of history,” the brief description at the top of the Kickstarter page states. “Become a legendary hero in a dangerous and mysterious world of magic and monsters. Explore endless dungeons and ancient cities in long forgotten lands in search of knowledge, treasure, and the power of the gods!”
Players can either create and host their own game world, or join pre-existing ones, and each will be unique. It's playable solo, but it sounds like multiplayer is where the real action is: The Kickstarter says the goal is to have “thousands of players having their data stored on a server with hundreds playing at a time (subject to the machine and bandwidth),” with hosts having full control over who's allowed on their server as well as gameplay options like PvP and friendly fire. Inon Zur—you've heard of him—is creating the soundtrack, while author Patrick Rothfuss and streamer CohhCarnage (Ben Cassell) are partnering for world-buildng and design.
The Kickstarter pitch states flat-out that Hero's Song, and future Pixel Mage releases, will be pay-and-play, without microtransactions. “We will offer two versions of Hero's Song,” the pitch says. “The regular version will be $19.99 and the Collector's Edition version will be $49.99. The Collector's Edition includes the soundtrack by Inon Zur, the digital strategy guide, and a wallpaper pack. Aside from that there are no differences.”
Pixelmage is seeking $800,000 in funding from Kickstarter, but Smedley told GamesIndustry that the game will be made regardless of whether or not the campaign is successful. “We have commitments for more [funding] if it's necessary,” he said. “We came to Kickstarter because we felt that there are a lot of players out there who very much care about gameplay and are looking for the kind of immersive experience we're making. We feel that building a community of people who want to come along for the ride as we build this first game and who want to see us succeed is a great way to get our game funded as opposed to going to a publisher.”
The Hero's Song Kickstarter is live now and runs until February 18. You can find out more about what the Smedman's got cooking at pixelmagegames.com.