Category Archives: News

Update #140 Classes explained: The Berserker

Dear backers,

I hope you’ve all been well.
From today’s updates, we’d like to start talking to you about classes that you’ll see in Project Phoenix. Although the concept for these classes will not change, details like names and skills may change.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

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The Berserker

The Berserker is a close combat specialist, with moderately high defence and devastating melee offensive capabilities. With ample health and resistance to damage, he is capable of dealing massive amounts of damage to single or multiple targets and be able to fill the role of a light off-tank enemies to protect less defensible classes such as the priests and ninjas. However, the Berserker is ill equipped to be the main tank as it lacks a shield


Marcus is a berserker class

Armour
The Berserker’s equipment consists of heavy plated armour and melee weapons.

Weapon
The Berserker can be trained to use two handed weapons or dual wield one handed weapons.

Two handed weapons are used for critical hit heavy attacks useful against single target damage. Dial wielded one handed weapons are useful against weaker multiple targets.

We are considering to allow the Berserker to use shields to mitigate damage, but not as effective as other tank classes. For the Berserker, there are current talks about using it as offensive capability like bashing enemies will shields to stun enemies or using the shield like sledge hammers.

Skill
There are two major skill-tree for the Berserker and it splits between single target damage and multiple target damage tree.

Leader skills
The leader skill allows each squad to be lead by a character and in turn, it is characterised by a passive buff affecting the whole unit. In the case for the Berserker, as the name suggests, this unit will likely increase the damage output of the squad in exchange for increased damage suffered. This can still work favourably for the squad with combination to crowd controlling effect and a tonne of characters with area of effect damage. However, working against bosses will see a quick demise to your squad.

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If you have any suggestions please let us know your thoughts and ideas that you may have. With the system we have, it is very easy to implement the mechanical changes to a class but it is most important to get the basic functionality correct to make it work in an ecosystem working hand in hand with other classes, NPCs and especially bosses.

Yoko has been working hard on each town’s character scripts. Now, in the previous updates, we’ve mentioned that Daniel suggested that we have different characters be placed in different places at different times doing different things. Not only that, they will have something different to say depending on the time of the day and what they are doing. Although it’s in Japanese, here is a spreadsheet of how we’re working to make that work.


Yoko’s work on one of the towns

We’ve received a lot of criticism, although we’ve been hard at work, backers have pointed out that instead of taking time to draw for the backers in seasonal greetings and such, we aren’t doing “real” work. However, it is our wish to express our gratitude in these updates and also spice things up instead of a wall of text, so here is a lighter version of the annual Valentine’s Day greeting illustration. It didn’t take Asami too long to draw, and I hope you all find this acceptable. These days, her time is taken up by drawing characters for high tier backers which we aren’t prepared to show yet.


Valentines brought to you by… Asami Hagiwara

Not only this, we thought it’d be fitting to also bring you music by Tomoki Miyoshi based on one of the romantic moments from Project Phoenix.

I hope these updates will slowly convince some backers that we are very serious about the game and that we do not want to stray away from our hopes and dreams for what is Project Phoenix. I would do anything to make sure this game is delivered in the best for possible. Sure, there are many things we are embarrassed to show yet, and there are many things I am doing behind the scenes to make this work, some of which will never be told. Yet we are all committed to bringing you what we believe is our best effort and at least we pray you would be able to appreciate our efforts.

Again, my sincerest apologies for the delay and our poor communications.

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

Update #139 Happy New Year!


Happy New Year!

Dear backers,

I hope you all enjoyed a happy new year!

Many of us have been working with shortened breaks to make sure we can deliver progress for Project Phoenix. We will be discussing details on the next update.

In the meantime, please enjoy the “older” version of Raffles in Japanese Kimono, brought to you by Asami Hagiwara!

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

Update #138 Season’s Greetings!


Illustration by Asami Hagiwara

Dear backers,

I hope this update finds you well. We have now approached the end of the year. Thank you for being patient with us with the changes we’ve had with our team here at Project Phoenix.

2016 has been a year of groundwork in preparation after the major changes in development style we had previously. With Daniel Dressler joining our team and continuing on with Pascal’s work, and with the support we’ve been receiving not just from our development staff but also other companies, we’ve made huge progress in which we’ve made where we want to head much clearer. Also Rie Tanaka joining our management team has made communication with each creator much smoother.

We read your feedback and replies to our work, we’ve received many valuable ideas and advice and are very appreciative of the backers. Thank you!

Those that celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas! Those that don’t we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season!

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix


Feel free to use this for your Facebook cover page!

Update #137 Cinematics

Dear backers,

My apologies for the late update, with the combination of going overseas for work and getting sick afterwards on top of preparing for this update has delayed it’s release.

I know people have been asking for game design/play update, but today, we’d like to present part of the cinematic from the game.

We’ve had the honour of having Mr Hidekazu Ohara help us recreate a legend of Azuregard. Mr Ohara is one of the most respected veteran from the anime industry who is known for his work on Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and AKIRA.

Here’s a message from Mr Ohara:

「ゲームの世界の発端となった架空伝説を創ろうと洞窟壁画からアプローチ。 戦い、争いを「音楽」と云う素晴らしツールで凍てつく心を溶かし 悪の象徴である荒ぶるドラゴンの闇を鎮めるが如く”五行山”からインスピレーションを受け、常に表裏一体の世界に生きる神話奇譚を表現しました。」

We started from cave paintings to illustrate a legend from the past. Through the use of “music”, warms the cold heartedness of war and hatred. Inspired by the Marble Mountains, the ultimate evil represented by the dragon is sealed within the mountain, a reminder to us all that we live in a world, inseparable between light and darkness.

This cinematic will explain the formation of Titan’s Peak and give clues to the whereabouts of a dragon and what “may” have happened to the heroes of the day.

The sound is not done yet, but we will be adding the music later.

Click here to download the video!

Please be reminded that this “feel” of the cinematic will only be used to recount the legends of the past. Please feel free to leave a comment below!

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

Update #136 Happy Halloween!


Illustration by Asami Hagiwara

Dear backers,

If you do celebrate Halloween, we hope you’ve had a great Halloween. For those that don’t celebrate Halloween, we hope you have had a great holiday!

We don’t have much to report currently as we’re mainly focussing on working on the narrative and the music at the moment.

In November, we’ll have a good musical structure on the journey ahead. We also would want Nobuo Uematsu to take more role in the making of music as we’ve re-directed a lot of the budget we’ve made in the past few years towards music.

On the note on Audio, myself, Tomoki Miyoshi and Yoshihiro Sakaguchi has been nominated for Best Audio by Golden Joystick Awards for our work on I am Setsuna. We are prepared to do go even further with Project Phoenix, as many of you know, my career started from the music side of development.

Feel free to ask questions or suggestions in regards to music, we will be clamping shut our final directions of it by the end of December.

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

Update #135 Music for the Far Realms

Dear backers,

Since we were late in our last update, here is a quick update with the progress in music.

The Kingdoms of the Far Realm consists of three allied Kingdoms. Izaria, a naval super power and also the Kingdom where Marcus was born. Chrondoria, a nomadic people who is famed for their skilled cavalry. Finally, Gilrock, a large farming Kingdom.

The first act of the game will revolve around getting used to Azuregard, and travelling around these three Kingdoms. Everything will be very new to the player and exciting to see different places in these Kingdoms.

This music will be used whilst traveling between towns, hopefully, on horseback. Please let us know what you think!

In other news, Tomoki Miyoshi is working on TINY METAL, a game that is heavily influenced by Nintendo’s Advance Wars series, Final Fantasy Tactics and a bit of METAL SLUG. Hiroki Kikuta, the original composer of Secret of Mana 1/2 has asked me if we can plug his project here, if you’re interested please take a peak. They have a working prototype and it’s a lot of fun!

Here are some of the music…

They only have 48 hours left on their campaign, if you’re interested, please support them.

As always, thank you so much for your patience, we are excited that we are making progress!

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

Update #134 Music from Azuregard

Dear Project Phoenix backers,

Apologies for the late update, we’ve been very busy with Tomoki’s concert featuring “I am Setsuna” in Tokyo. However, the rest of the development team has been hard at work and making progress.

We also have news which would hasten the development of Project Phoenix in the long run, but we will be making that announcement when it’s secure. I am really happy with this development and it is currently our top priority to secure this deal. We will have to make sacrifices to make this deal work, but we owe that to this project and backers.

Yoko has made a number of changes to the Story to have a smoother feel to the First Act. Namely, the introduction to each character and how they become a part of your party. She is now working out details and is almost ready to start with the scripts.

Daniel has come up with a mechanic to change NPC behaviour dependent on the time of the day / night. To be exact, from when they wake up in the morning, go to work, to eat three meals and go back home. This could create complications but also opens up a myriad of possibilities for the players to explore, like some quests can only be opened at certain times of the day or you can only meet certain NPCs during a specific time, at a specific place. We will be testing this concept more in times to come.

Although I did promise to talk about music, Tomoki and I have been very busy preparing for the concert with Tokyo RPG Factory / Square Enix. I know this hasn’t got nothing to do with Project Phoenix but I promised transparency is important, plus this event was very public. It also shows the quality of music we are capable of producing. Here’s a site to “Winter’s End” where you can hear snippets of Tomoki’s work.

We will definitely talk about music production and present a new track by Tomoki in the next update.

Again, apologies for the late update, and we’ll see you back in two weeks.

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

Update #133 Designing backer characters

Dear Project Phoenix backers,

Thank you for all the feedback in Update #132 “Release… the Kraken!”. Many of the comments were very helpful in gathering valuable opinions on how we should start the story, which I believe is a very important point. It’s important to talk and take opinions from all the backers as our gut feeling about what your opinion may be and what it actually may well be entirely different.

I have had the time to talk to Yoko about the comments posted from our last update and you all have given confidence in our decisions. Thanks again!

Here’s a photo of Asami working on Rie’s avatar concept sketch inside the game. We are currently working on what the best backer character design pipeline is for backers above the Civilian level. Hopefully by the end of the month, we should have completed our test trials and be able to start working on the character creation process with those selected backers.


Asami drawing a 3D reference sheet of our Project Manager, Rie, who is trying very hard to hide

Next update should also shed more light on the game music creation process, and finger’s crossed, we may have a new track from Tomoki soon.

Apologies for the short update, but back to work we go. As always, thanks for reading!

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

Update #132 Release… the Kraken!

Dear Project Phoenix backers,

As always, thank you for being patient with us.

I’d like to first share with you some of our progress and updates about what we’re doing, then ideas and dilemmas we have of our First Act.

News and Updates

Meeting table
A friend of mine has helped us make a great meeting table for us. From now on, this table will serve us well to hopefully make great decisions and meetings on how to make Project Phoenix better and speed its way to completion. We chose a rounded table in traditional Japanese thinking of having a well rounded relationship with everyone.

Asami moves in to the CIA studio
One of our main illustrator, Asami Hagiwara has moved into our office from September for better communication and teamwork. She will be sitting in front of our Project Manager, Rie Tanaka, so she will be less inclined to sleep and dream of cats. We’re planning to start designing more in-game characters. We will be contacting backers who have paid for character designs soon to start work on them and bring them to life in-game.

View of the studio

Schedule
Our studio’s schedule for this month.

  • Finish off unannounced mobile game for a publisher due end of this month
  • QA / bug test a game for another publisher
  • Prepare for a concert in Tokyo for “I am Setsuna” on the 4th of October
  • Help several projects with Audio pre-production phase

In terms of Project Phoenix, we would like to achieve the following:

  • Create and establish a pipeline for designing backer characters
  • Decide on the scenario for Acts One and Two
  • Start work on audio designs / musical cue list

Creative input wanted!

We would now like to share with you a portion of the story from Project Phoenix. We’d like to have feedback since although we feel what we decided on is the right thing, it may necessary not be something everyone would agree with. It’s important to have a consensus of some sort to keep our “sense” about.

If you do not want spoilers, please do not read below.
Some information from the excerpt below shed light on background that may be hard to find in the game itself or even not be mentioned at all.

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The First Act concentrates on “The Kingdoms of the Far Realms”, an area dominated and controlled by three human kingdoms, Izaria, Gilrock and Chrondoria. The story starts with the unceremonious fall of Ruffles and the subsequent conflict between our main protagonists on how her fate should be decided.

The Kingdoms of the Far Realm

The protagonists make their way to Cordo, currently we are toying around with the idea that Cordo is assaulted by the Kraken during their visit. The Kraken is drawn by Ruffles and her coming into contact with a certain artefact.

The Kraken in Project Phoenix, is a little different in comparison to other Krakens from popular literature. The origin of the Kraken used to be that of an island city, wealthy to the point that it’s citizen has started practice luxury in excess, with disrespect to all kinds of life, and infidelity its norm. When the people reached the lowest point in their depravity, the Angels rained death from the skies and burned the city to the ground. With the combined anguished screams of thousands of souls, the Old Ones awoke. Filled with vengeance towards the Angels that almost wiped out their existence, the Old Ones used their powers to turn the island city of the dead into a living monstrosity. Thus becoming the Kraken, it prowls the dangerous seas in bidding of the Old Ones.

Early concept of the Kraken

Concept details of the Kraken and its inspirations

The Kraken was originally going to be introduced in Act Three at Fisherman’s Bay. However, we felt the need to drive the story and give the players a sense of urgency to find their quest and complete their journey.

The maw of the Kraken

The objective of the first act is for the player to gain a good grasp of the world in Project Phoenix, an introduction to the state of Azuregard. However the purpose and drive to the story would weaken due to the fact that wandering through the far realms just to get to Airaurdrenn (Elven City) isn’t exciting enough. So Yoko and my idea was to smash up the first city you arrive (after, of course, being able to play tourist) and bring drive and urgency to the journey by sending the Kraken and its minions into Cordo. Smashing up a city, of course, would cost a lot of funds to achieve, but the dev team in general think it’s worth it.

What do you think of introducing the Kraken early on? We understand we are only giving a partial glimpse at the story, but we would like your feedback based on the knowledge of this update. Do you like your RPGs to start with a bang or start slowly?

Please let us know! Your feedback will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you for reading our update, and see you all in two weeks time.

Hiroaki Yura
Director / Producer of Project Phoenix

Update #129 Video update on the current build with Daniel Dressler and Tomoki Miyoshi

Dear backers,

We hope you’ve all been well. It’s been a little over a month since Daniel started working at CIA, and happy to report that he has made many new friends and working happily in our little studio.

Here’s a message from Daniel explaining his current work in his own words.

For the next year my task is to build out our systems and workflow. We have core combat thanks to Pascal’s efforts but as we all know there is much to a JRPG outside the combat system. For us this means systems such as conversations, quests, saving, overworld, items, and trading. Along with the translation, updater, installer, menus, map editor, and any further fancy features we find ourselves adding. All these systems must in turn require minimal programmer intervention for the content creators.

For the foreseeable future I will be Project Phoenix’s only programmer. This means building systems which do not require assistance to use. Sadly these same systems are not snazzy or beautiful. I can only ask your understand as we go forward over the next year. Often I will spend weeks or even months on behind the scenes code. Code vital to the game yet there will be few visible to show.

Best I can do is re-assure you this is how video game development works. The typical AAA hype machine tends to focus on Concept Art, then jump right into the game play. Sadly this gives a false impression of the volume of work each component of a game requires. Code takes time to even for teams of dozens of programmers.

So I can only say thank you for your understanding and patience going forward over the next year.

Today, we also have a special video of Daniel and Tomoki (composer), talking about development then a run through of our current state of the build with Daniel. Please note that the horrible video and sound editing was done by myself and with the limited time I have these days, I ask for your forgiveness in it’s quality.

I hope you all enjoy the video, and any questions and comments will be welcome in the post below.

Director / Producer of Project Phoenix
Hiroaki Yura

Click here to see the video!

Update #128 Introducing our new team member

Dear backers,

As promised, we’d like to introduce you all to our new programmer, Mr Daniel Dressler. He has just started working at our studio in Tokyo yesterday, although we intended to do this update yesterday, setting up all the hardware and project file took our focus away so we apologise for the delay.

Here’s a message from Daniel, please make him feel welcome!

Hello Everyone! My name is Daniel Dressler, I am a software engineer living and working in Tokyo. At my prior company I programmed the game logic for a popular Japanese Hearthstone-like game. Now I am excited to join CIA and help make Project Phoenix a reality!

Two years ago Hiro convinced me along with you guys, my fellow backers. Then late last year he did it again and convinced me to join up.

This surprised even me but Project Phoenix is far from a 0% codebase. Pascal did substantial work and has left us with codebase I am proud to work upon. Once Hiro gave me access to the existing UE4 source code the general quality of the code surprised me. Pascal did not cut corners when he laid the foundation of Project Phoenix. We may be looking towards another 2.5 years of development but honestly I look forward to spending that time realizing the full potential of Project Phoenix.

In the coming weeks, we’ll look at the setup even closer and give you all a heads up on the much awaited milestones.

Thanks again for your patience, and we look forward to sending more updates in the near future!

Director / Producer of Project Phoenix
Hiroaki Yura

Update #127 New Years update

Happy New Year!

Dear backers,

I hope you all had a great start to the new year!
My apologies for our late update but I do have some great news.

The Programmer

We now have a contract with a programmer who will start his work on the 9th of February. We will be setting up his new work space and once he is settled, we will do an update to announce his involvement.

We have taken careful measures to make sure we got the right person for the job, hence the delay. Our apologies for making everyone feel very uncomfortable for the delay.

Our new programmer’s wage was never budgeted into the Kickstarter budget as the original programmer had planned to take royalty. However, I will be taking responsibilities by paying for his wages myself, so please don’t worry about the financing aspects.

The Milestones

Once our programmer is settled, we will reassess the development milestones and publish our new schedules in a separate update. I expect smooth sailing as many of the assets are already in place, and our staff ready to hop back to development.

In other news…

We would like to give a shout out to one of our composers, Tomoki Miyoshi to congratulate him on a fantastic job for making the whole soundtrack to Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna also known as Project Setsuna.

Ikenie to Yuki no Setsuna is a JRPG based on the old and tried JRPG, Chrono Trigger. Published by Square Enix, it is Tomoki is major solo work for a JRPG. You can listen to the soundtrack by visiting the official homepage here.

As we trudge on with our day job to feed our family and pay the bills, we come together in the time of our choosing to do what we feel passionate about, Project Phoenix.

There will be a lot more activity and progress in our updates this year, I hope I can prove to all you wonderful backers that everything was worth waiting for.

Director / Producer of Project Phoenix
Hiroaki Yura

PS Thanks to Asami Hagiwara for the New Years illustration! I’ve attached a Facebook dimension version below for anyone who’d like to use it.

Facebook version! Please feel free to use it

Update #125 Update

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300298569/project-phoenix-japans-indie-rpg-feat-aaa-talent/posts/1437738

Hi Folks,

Apologies for the downtime. Between deployments and holidays I have been swamped.

Here are things where they stand now on our programmer front:

* I have been asked to clarify that we CURRENTLY have a programmer. He has done some work and much consulting for Project Phoenix already. The problem is that his current work is delaying his full commitment here by about 2 months.

* Current estimates place dev at about 2.5 years out from completion. This is 2.5 years from the time we get our full-time programmer on board. That means we are expecting early 2018 for a finalized build and 6 months for testing after that.

* We put out the notice that we are looking for programmers to supplement the work our main programmer will be doing, as well as simply getting things started as soon as possible.

* On this note, we are reviewing the people who identified themselves to us and we will move forward to interview relevant applicants soon.

In other news:
Music!

One Uematsu theme from the game has been arranged and is pending approval. We hope to include a short video with Nobuo Uematsu in a future update and, in preparation for this, we would like to ask you for any music related questions you would like to ask. We will compile this list, possibly modify the wording, and translate a limited number of questions. Please either sound off in the comments here or message us on KS.

Refunds

We know a lot of people are disappointed with the delays and organization of Project Phoenix. We are not considering refunds at this time. To initiate refunds is to give up on the project since there would be no money left to complete it. If we make the decision to call it quits then we will work out some kind of remediation with backers at that time. Until then we are pressing on.

Update #124 No time to waste

Hello again, faithful backers.

It seems our slated programmer is proving to be behind schedule in joining us… He will potentially be off of his current project and able to join us by the end of the year…

I would like to reiterate at this time that we are dedicated to seeing this project through, despite delays.

I spoke with Hiro and we have decided we just cannot afford to wait any longer. Our guy may still join us but we need to make some progress now.

I am putting out a call to any Unreal programmers who may be able to help us out. We are, of course, offering compensation but involvement would be contingent upon showing previous work, portfolio, etc. and interviews. We have a few dev friends we are hoping can help source but we would be happy to consider any recommendations our backer community could point to. Comment here or send a message with any viable leads.

Additionally, I will be hitting up the Unreal forums and making a posting there soon: https://forums.unrealengine.com/forumdisplay.php?25-Got-Skills-Looking-for-Talent

We really need programmers with experience because we do not have time for someone to learn on the fly. We have waited too long already.

We know there are many of you who will support us in this decision and we need your continued encouragement to do our best and put out the game that we envisioned. We WILL get programmers on this project and we WILL complete this game.

Thank you.

Models

First, a few updates!

I didn’t see their names on the list but are Kevin Penkin and Tomoki Miyoshi still on the project?

Kevin is no longer involved but Tomoki is still involved.

Do any of the Project Phoenix artists have pixiv or Deviant Art accounts?

Unfortunately, no.

Is Project Phoenix the final name?

No, but you will certainly hear about the new name (once we have it) here first.

Update on the programming situation: We should be able to nail down contracts by late October and then we can begin scheduling out the rest of the work.

Models

Here are some finished models from Act I as rendered in Unity. While the models are complete, everything else is not, such as lighting, textures, etc. and obviously also no animations or effects. They will also ultimately be rendered in Unreal 4 which may or may not make much difference in appearance.

(Annnnnd you will need to hit the link to see the rest… https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1300298569/project-phoenix-japans-indie-rpg-feat-aaa-talent/posts/1365584)