Savage: The Shard of Gosen is a sidescrolling RPG inspired by the worst Zelda game

There are a lot of modern reimaginings of classic games happening nowadays, but Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link for NES is a game I never thought I'd see get that treatment. Widely considered one of the worst Zelda games in the series, most would be happy to forget it altogether, but solo indie developer Matt Fitzgerald thinks there's something in it worth revisiting. You can watch the interview above to hear him talk about his upcoming RPG Savage: The Shard of Gosen, and the video below to see it in action.

Fitzgerald has been working on Savage for over three years now after a modest but successful Kickstarter in 2014. It's a sidescrolling action game with some distinctly RPG elements. You can collect and swap out different equipment which will level up as you use it, and can also improve specific stats of your character as you progress. It's not hard to see the Zelda 2 influence, but I am happy to say it's a much better game at its core thanks to the extra systems.

Savage also has occasional dialogue options, and Fitzgerald told me you can subtly impact the story with your choices. For example, the game starts out with you finding your village under siege. While you'll always end this encounter by being captured, how you get there can change. When I played, I almost immediately got beaten to a pulp, but Fitzgerald showed me what can happen for a more skilled player. In the video below, you can see he makes it all the way to a boss, who he defeats by cutting off his arm. Doing so was his choice, and means that character will look and act differently when you see them again later in the game.

Fitzgerald is making all aspects of the game himself, from code to art to sound and so on. I'm not a huge fan of the game's pixel art, but the regular sidescrolling levels are broken up by a visually distinct pseudo-3D overworld screen. It's not a bad looking game, clearly going for a retro style, but I think it's a more interesting one than its relatively simple character sprites would otherwise let on. 

Savage: The Shard of Gosen has already made it through the soon to be defunct Steam Greenlight, and is set to release on Steam for $10 sometime later this year.

Tom Marks
Tom is PC Gamer’s Associate Editor. He enjoys platformers, puzzles and puzzle-platformers. He also enjoys talking about PC games, which he now no longer does alone. Tune in every Wednesday at 1pm Pacific on to see Tom host The PC Gamer Show.