Kickstarter Interview: Soul Saga takes what you love from old school JRPGs and prepares them for a next gen world
The once beautiful world of Qterra is nothing how it used to be. A great cataclysm has ruptured the very lands and from the fissures a horrible corruption in the form of a vile liquid called ‘Ink’ twisted all life in its path or madness. Man had to take to the skies in flying cities to even survive the onslaught of the carnage below. What happens when the Tempest Reef, the clouds that protect these cites, start failing? Do the great guilds try to fix them, solve the problem, or just wait for the abominations below to slaughter the last breath of humanity? This is Soul Saga.
Disastercake, a ‘development team’ of one man - Mike Gale, has dreamed of making a Japanese Role Playing Game since the height of JRPGs on Super Nintendo and PlayStation. Soul Saga is this project and his work of art. From Traditional art, graphic design, 3D, music, sound, lighting, cinematography, choreography, script writing, acting, and storytelling, Soul Saga will have all the elements of the great JRPGs of the 90s. The PC isn’t enough though, Soul Saga will also be coming to the newer consoles such as the Wii U, PlayStation Vita, and even the next generation console the PlayStation 4.
You can help this one-man ambitious project through Kickstarter. Check out the official Kickstarter page, support the project via Steam Greenlight, read the interview below with Mike Gale, and if you like what you see back Soul Saga. Take young MIthos into your own hands and save Oterra!
1. What exactly is Soul Saga?
Soul Saga is a 3D anime themed JRPG inspired by classics from the Playstation, SNES, and Dreamcast era. It takes what I loved about the classics, removes what I didn't, and then is spiced up a bit with my own twists on the genre. It takes place in the world of Oterra where an ancient cataclysm split the world into 3 distinguishable layers: The sundered surface world of Oterra, the floating islands of Medonia, and the Tempest Rift which acts as a barrier between the 2. The first part of Soul Saga focuses on Medonia, where the city's Sky Islands are starting to die and fall form the sky. The people are now looking for a way to revive their islands power, and are hoping they can find an answer on the surface of Medonia, but first need to find a way through the Tempest Reef.
2. Where did the idea for Soul Saga stem from? How long have you had a project like this in mind?
Soul Saga started about 5 years ago when I was tired of trying to work a normal job and ignoring my burning creative passion for JRPGs. I've wanted to make one ever since I was in elementary school, but it was pounded into my head by nearly everyone that making games was out of the question. To people from a small farm town in Michigan, the game industry seemed like a pipe dream. So I tried to ignore my passion, but I couldn't help but always write stories or design elements on paper I'd love to see. And eventually after years of working on my parent's farm I decided to go out to Seattle to chase my dream, and got a job at Microsoft. It wasn't what I wanted from the game industry, so I quit to finish up my Business degree and teach myself how to develop games on the side. I'm at a perfect place right now to get Soul Saga done, and all I needed was the budget, which all of the amazing Kickstarter supporters have made possible!
3. What games inspired you for this project?
I'd say every JRPG I've played from SNES up to end of the Playstation 2's life span. Some big ones I like to reference are Final Fantasy, Skies of Arcadia, Breath of Fire, and Persona.
4. Could you go into more detail about the puzzle elements of combat? Is it like a rock-paper-scissors?
Skills can be used to help make weaknesses in your foe's defense or offense. For example if you have an enemy that is shrouded in a smoke, it may be hard to hit him. You may be able to use a wind based skill to blow the smoke away so you have better visibility to attack. Or if an enemy has a wooden shield you can us a fire based skill to burn the shield so he can't block anymore. These weaknesses won't have any onscreen tips, because finding them yourself will be one of the funnest parts of the game!
5. How does exploration come to play in Soul Saga? Are there side quests?
Now that we've unlocked the Job Boards, there will be TONS of side quests! Exploration will have 2 parts to it: The airship exploration that is likened to Skies of Arcadia, and the overworld exploration that is similar to Final Fantasy 7.
6. Besides outsourcing, are you the only dedicated creator of Soul Saga?
Yup, that's right. No one else has invested any time or money to the project, and I'm the sole programmer, game designer, and writer. It's quite the work load but I absolutely love it. And with the project management skills I have gained over the years I have a very solid development cycle planned that can get this game done well and in a reasonable time frame.
7. How long has the world of Oterra been something you’ve been working on? Has it developed in the way you originally imagined it?
It's been 5 years now as I worked slowly on the story while learning about development and gathering artwork. It has evolved into something completely different than it's original conception, and I believe that's because in this time frame I have done a lot of research on what I loved about the classic stories and have become a better writer myself through practice.
8. Porting to the PS4 is already a done deal, will you utilize any of the PS4s extra horsepower? Was ensuring that Soul Saga works across all these varied devices a difficulty, or did you find it easy?
It's hard to say until I have the devkits in my hands and am doing the porting, but I have been assured that it's a fairly painless process when utilizing the Unity game engine.
9. How can fans/people help get Soul Saga successfully on Steam Greenlight?
The best way is to get the word out there! It's all about word of mouth marketing. Facebook and Twitter are great places, and if you know groups of anime or JRPG fans on steam then posting there would be excellent resources as well. I really appreciate any help!
10. Getting Soul Saga on Greenlight, Wii U, Vita, and PS4 is a huge accomplishment, any word about Microsoft?
Microsoft has made some progress by making a deal with Unity, but they still don't allow for self publishing indies. When they do I will be able to consider them as a viable platform to port to. Regarding Greenlight however... we haven't been accepted yet! We need a LOT more votes to get on there, and I would like to ask everyone to please visit the GreenLight page to upvote Soul Saga at:
Historian, teacher, writer, gamer, cheat master, and tech guru: follow on Twitter @AndrewC_GZ