‘The Messenger’ developer’s next game is a Retro RPG called ‘Sea of Stars’ that takes place in the same universe. Fucking rad.
Provided that society doesn’t completely collapse, I’m fucking stoked for this shit. The people behind The Messenger have revealed their next game, Sea of Stars. It’s a retro RPG that takes place in the same universe as The Messenger and is inspired by Chrono Trigger. That said, they need our help to Kickstart it! Let’s go, friends.
And. Man, society. Please don’t collapse.
Today, Sabotage, the studio behind the 2018 retro-platformer The Messenger, is announcing its next project via Kickstarter. In some ways, it’s what you’d expect. Like its predecessor, Sea of Stars takes a classic genre — in this case, turn-based roleplaying games — and reimagines it for modern audiences. It looks like something you’d play on the SNES, though Sabotage is trying to smooth down some of the rough edges. But Sea of Stars also represents a much bigger idea. Despite looking vastly different, Sabotage’s two games actually take place in the same shared universe. “For me it’s been building since I was in elementary school,” says creative director Thierry Boulanger. “That’s why it’s so tied to all of the games that stuck with me.”
Sea of Stars takes place thousands of years before the events of The Messenger, so it serves as a prequel of sorts. Here’s the basic setup, according to Sabotage: “It tells the story of two ‘children of the solstice’ who will combine the powers of the sun and moon to perform ‘eclipse magic,’ the only force capable of fighting off the monstrous creations of the evil alchemist known as ‘the fleshmancer.’” If that doesn’t make much sense, even if you’ve played The Messenger, that’s kind of by design. The games are set so far apart that the stories aren’t directly connected; instead, you’ll see references to events and locations that are common in each title. Despite the shared universe, they’re each meant to be standalone experiences.
According to Boulanger, each title started with a story, and the genre followed. For The Messenger, which follows a lone messenger delivering a scroll across an island, it made sense for a solitary, side-scrolling platform game. Sea of Stars, meanwhile, is meant to be something grander, a journey with multiple characters exploring a larger world. “The RPG is the best way to tell that story,” says Boulanger. As the studio did with The Messenger, the goal with Sea of Stars is to add modern elements to a classic genre. In this case, that means elements like making traversing the environment more interesting and removing the necessity of grinding levels by making the turn-based combat more skill-based. “The goal is to create a game that holds up today,” he says, “but also shines a light on what made these games so great.”
The studio turned to crowdfunding as a way to test the waters. The Kickstarter campaign has a funding goal of $100,000, which isn’t nearly enough to actually fund the game’s development entirely; Sea of Stars is being built by a team of 16 and isn’t expected to launch until 2022. Instead, much like what PlatinumGames did with its Wonderful 101 revival, the campaign is meant as both a promotional tool and a way to gauge interest in the project. “We’re reinvesting everything we made on The Messenger to make this game,” says Boulanger. “It’s that sanity check. We need to hear the response that people want to play this, so we don’t throw all of that down the drain to make our dream game and then be out of a job.”
You can check out Sea of Stars’ Kickstarter campaign right here.