Taking a closer look at Zeboyd's new retro-styled, turn-based RPG
Among the latest batch of games announced for Xbox One's [email protected] program is one title in particular that's piqued our interest - a new turn-based sci-fi RPG from two-man indie outfit Zeboyd Games, creators of the ridiculously fun Xbox Live indie title, Cthulhu Saves the World.
In Cosmic Star Heroine, you play as Alyssa L'Salle, a butt-kicking, beret-wearing top secret government agent whose trouble begins when she's outed by her own government and is no longer top secret. Your mission is to save the galaxy, no less, and other playable characters include Z'xorv, an alien bounty hunter, Dave, a hacker, and Orson Bolibar - a member of an alien race that "begins life looking human before turning into ghosts upon maturation." Right. Well, points for originality, certainly.
Inspired by the likes of Chrono Trigger, Phantasy Star & Suikoden, CSH was originally slated for release on PC, Mac, Linux, PS4 and Vita, until Zeboyd announced in December that the turn-based RPG would also be coming to Xbox One care of the [email protected] program.
Set in a futuristic dystopian anime world similar to films like Ghost in the Shell and Bladerunner, Zeboyd claims that CSH deliberately evokes a classic 2D visual style reminiscent of titles from the Sega CD & Turbo Duo era.
Bill Stiernberg, who is responsible for CSH's art, assets and animation, says this was one of the most important aspects of the game that they wanted to convey. "When we started Zeboyd games, we had this basic idea for the company to make retro-styled RPGs that use interesting mechanics and streamlined gameplay."With Cosmic Star Heroine, we really want to make a game that truly reflects the classic late 16-bit, early 32-bit era of RPGs that inspired us to start this studio in the first place. We really want to push the level of detail and scope beyond what we've been able to do in our past games."
Zeboyd hit their Kickstarter target way back in October, but with such a small core team there's still a ways to go before we'll see Alyssa in action on our Xbox One. The company is keen to keep its backers and fans very much abreast of all its latest developments, however, with updated character art and menu interfaces appearing regularly on their Kickstarter page and the game's Twitter account.
A few months ago, Zeboyd also ran a backer-only vote for the game's 11th playable character. A 'cyber insect' won out, against stiff competition from a Spider/Snake hybrid alien and a robo-pet. And just last week, the team put word out asking asking fans for input on which tweaked battle UI they prefer.
Here's hoping that kind of openness, transparency and willingness to listen to their fans that will help the game shine that little bit brighter when launch day finally comes.