Starbound developer shows new image of its 'Advance Wars meets Fire Emblem' game [updated]

Update 2: That new image has now started moving, as Brice tweeted a short video this morning showing off movement and combat. You can watch that in the embedded tweet above. 

Update: After Brice tweeted again saying "Chucklefish is working on two new games and will continue to support Starbound," we reached out to him for clarification, and he gave us some further details on their upcoming projects. He confirmed that the tactics game shown above and the RPG-style video linked below are indeed two different games.

"The first is a turn based strategy game, a more modern spiritual successor to Advance Wars that retains some of the pixel charm," Brice told me. "The goal is to make good use of modern tech, online multiplayer, [Steam] Workshop support, that kind of thing." Thinking about a tactics game with full mod support is incredibly exciting.

Brice also commented on the game in the "Art Style Demonstration" video, saying it's "an RPG/Sim set in a magic school, something like Stardew Valley meets Harry Potter." That's probably where the Spellbound name is going to land, given the magical theme. Brice continued, saying that "Lots of the sim features are present, day night cycles, dating, classes etc. But with some interesting gameplay twists." 

Original: After Starbound finally left Early Access last July, Chucklefish Games' CEO Finn "Tiyuri" Brice tweeted that they were already considering their next project. He showed off a mockup image of a game he described as "Advance Wars meets Fire Emblem, with online multiplayer, on PC," which is about as exciting of a game pitch as you could possibly say to me. Nearly five months later, it seems that idea has stuck, as Brice tweeted an new image of the game with the message "Chucklefish back to work!"

While Brice has been tweeting out occasional mockup images of the concept, he also posted a brief video last month that showed the beginnings of a level creator and unit movement. Chucklefish still hasn't officially announced the game, but given the progress that's been made and the length of time the studio has been working on it, I think it's safe to assume it's more than just a proof-of-concept.

He also posted a video called "Art Style Demonstration" to his YouTube channel in October that teased a game's work-in-progress art style, but it's unclear if that's for the same project or not. It looks similar enough in theme and style that my guess is it's what the tactics game will look like out of combat, but that's just an assumption. 

Brice posted the video with the message "Personally, I'm spellbound," then also teased a similar gif titled "Spellbound library" with the message "this mockup has me even more Spellbound." So whether or not the battlefield images above are related to these art tests, it looks like Chucklefish is continuing Starbound's naming trend by most likely calling one Spellbound. 

Following the success of Stardew Valley, which was published by Chucklefish, reinventing celebrated Nintendo games on PC is looking like a pretty good business strategy. We'll keep an eye out for more teases.

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.