After leaving Daybreak Games (formerly Sony Online Entertainment) in summer 2015 in the wake of a clash with a hacker, former studio head John Smedley has announced his next project. He’s heading up a new game company called Pixelmage Games, which on Tuesday announced its first game, a 2D pixel art action RPG called Hero’s Song.
Pixelmage is co-funding the game on Kickstarter, asking for $800,000 to help the project become a reality. The developer has already raised $1 million from private investors. The $800,000, should it be raised, will be used to finish development on Hero’s Song.
The studio currently has a team of 13 “core” staffers, and aims to ramp up over the coming months as development progresses on the game, which has been labeled a “hardcore action RPG for hardcore gamers.” Joining Smedley on the team are a number of staffers, including EverQuest co-creator and lead designer Bill Trost and best-selling author Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind, The Wise Man’s Fear).
“Our goal with Pixelmage Games is to make extremely deep and hardcore games in a beautiful pixel art style with an incredibly deep multiplayer experience,” Smedley said in a statement. “We’re calling on the community to be a part of this project as we create a really unique game that we’re sure fantasy RPG fans will really enjoy.”
For his part, Rothfuss said he was “flattered and excited” when Smedley asked him to contribute to Hero’s Song. “A lot of people don’t know that long before I tried to write a novel, I tried to write a computer game,” Rothfuss explained. “I’ve been playing games forever, and I know how stories work. This is a unique way for me to bring all my favorite things together. I’ve never done World building as part of a team before, and it’s a lot more fun than I’d anticipated. I’m excited to be able to show people what we’ve come up with.”
Hero’s Song is described as an “open-world rogue-like fantasy game done in beautiful 2D pixel art style.”
Players can become a hero in a world stuffed with magic and monsters; there will be “endless dungeons” and ancient cities to explore, as well as treasure to discover. Additionally, Hero’s Song allows people to control their own server–“hundreds” of people can play at one time, Pixelmage said.
Veteran and prolific composer Inon Zur, whose credits include Fallout 4 and Dragon Age: Inquisition, will write the score for Hero’s Song. You can get a copy of the game, which is expected to release in full around October 2016, by pledging at least $25 to the Kickstarter campaign.
You can learn more about Hero’s Song on the game’s Kickstarter page.