Sea Of Stars A Retro-Inspired Turn-Based RPG

Story

Sea of Stars is a turn-based RPG inspired by the classics. A prequel story set in The Messenger’s universe, 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 fending off the monstrous creations of the evil alchemist known as The Fleshmancer.

Promising the Sabotage touch in every system, Sea of Stars aims to modernize the classic RPG in terms of turn-based combat, storytelling, exploration and interactions with the environment, while still offering a hearty slice of nostalgia and good old, simple fun.

Coming to PC and Consoles in 2022.

Key ingredients :

  • Engaging turn-based combat. Combat gameplay includes active player input during attack animations (timed hits), multi-character combo attacks, boosting, and strategic defense options to hinder enemies while they are channeling powerful attacks or spells. For a more immersive experience, there are no random encounters or transitions to separate battlefields, and no grinding. Both navigation and combat happen in the same environment.
  • Unshackled traversal. Swim, climb, vault, jump off or hoist up ledges as you run through the world with a navigation system based on platformer expertise that breaks free from the classic bound-to-the-grid tile-based movement.
  • Prequel story set in The Messenger’s universe. Dozens of original characters and story arcs will take you on a captivating journey. Sometimes epic, sometimes silly, and other times emotional, Sea of Stars does its RPG duty of exploring classic themes of adventure and friendship, while also being chock-full of the unexpected twists and events you’ve come to expect from a Sabotage production.
  • Full-on dynamic lighting our custom-made render pipeline allows the creation of a breathtaking world coming to life by pushing the limits of 2D pixel-art games.
  • The Sabotage treatment on the turn-based RPG genre. Every system has been deeply analyzed to create an experience that pays respect to retro classics, while reworking some elements in order to offer a modernized experience free of irritants and overly lengthy sequences.
  • Turn-based combat

    No random encounters, no separate battlefield: Considering immersion a top priority, combat is initiated by physical contact with an enemy, and battle takes place in the same field as navigation, seamlessly, with no loading or transition.

    No grinding: Character progression in Sea of Stars flows naturally along with the story, without the need for any grinding. This concept is supported by a combat system which relies mainly on strategy and skill rather than statistics. That being said, you will very much be leveling up, increasing your stats and unlocking new special moves.

    Synergies: During battle, everything is based on building up momentum and effects over a few rounds, to eventually unleash massive damage by cashing out on your build up. Featuring six very distinct playable characters, and a lot of synergies between each of them, there are a lot of ways to take down opponents.

    Timed hits: Celebrating the greats of our childhood, we top it off with a ‘timed hits’ mechanic, where precise player input will increase damage done by your characters, or mitigate incoming attacks. Losing a battle doesn’t mean you should go back and grind, but rather that it’s time to apply what you learned from the enemy’s attack patterns and improve your execution the next time around. With skill and strategy as your main weapons, there is always ample room for improvement when a particular encounter proves challenging.

    Spell-breaking: Making a point to break the potential linearity of turn-based combat, enemies can mount especially strong attacks or spells. While a good use of timed hits will always remove a good chunk of the damage dealt, even the smallest minion can be lethal if left unchecked while casting.

    Enemies in a casting state display a bar with what we simply refer to as “locks”, each with an icon representing the damage type required to break it. For every broken lock, the ensuing spell’s efficiency is reduced. Break all of them, and the enemy’s action is entirely cancelled. This spell-breaking gameplay mechanic truly comes to life when groups of enemies demand clutch reactions and choices as more than one is preparing a spell, coupled with playable characters capable of combo attacks and multi-hit special moves.

    Boss fights: No RPG would be complete without big bosses, and of course Sea of Stars is no exception. For bosses, we are also looking at breaking the potential linearity of rinse and repeat for x amount of rounds to win. Each boss will present different attack patterns to learn, evolving through manually scripted phases and special events.


    Banking on the synergies, timed hits and spell-breaking mechanics, bosses will offer ample room for longer-haul strategies, giving players the freedom to see how much damage they can really deal in a single round with enough preparation time.

    Boost: To shake things up even more, performing a regular attack generates “Eclipse Orbs”, which can later be absorbed to double the effect of any action (regular attack, special attack, healing, spells, etc...)

    Depending on the situation, it may be wiser to save your orbs for later, perhaps to quickly get rid of an enemy that begins casting a spell with too many locks, or, in the case of longer battles like bosses, to dish out as much damage as possible once everything has been put in place for damage to be increased during a short window.

    Unshackled traversal - no rigid tile-per-tile movement

    Putting our platformer experience to good use, we make a point for moment-to-moment gameplay to present satisfying controls, micro challenges, and varied traversal opportunities. In other words, venturing through the rich environment should be accompanied by a feeling of freedom. While multiple paths and approaches can lead to your objective, leaving the main road and exploring less accessible (or hidden) areas will be rewarded.

    Climb, jump, run, swim, vault and dive as you progress through villages and dungeons of all kinds. Anytime it feels like you can interact with something, the odds are that you can. Hoist up on rooftops, or jump off ledges into deep natural pools to explore underwater tunnels. Stick to the main objective, or follow your curiosity and see for yourself what wonders lay hidden.

    World Map

    Traveling between points of interest takes place in a classic World Map view where adventurers can roam around, free of enemy encounters. Those who like to go off the beaten path will find many optional areas concealing upgrades, vanity items, and side quests.

    Sailing

    Since traveling between islands is a key part of the adventure, the party naturally gets its own boat. With full analog control, you will be invited to negotiate waves, and take advantage of the upwards and downwards formations to optimize for speed. While it isn’t anything that will ever block the casual sailor wanting to get to the next objective, we expect a lot of adventurers will be spending extra time sailing the world to play around with waves, look for sunken side-areas, secondary islands, or simply take a break from the hardships of heroism.

    The boat also acts as a mobile base of operations, which can be explored in close-up character view, where the party is fully settled in, and available for banter and guidance in-between major story beats.

    If you ever find yourself struck by the infamous “haven’t played in two weeks” RPG curse, you can rest assured that someone on your boat is ready to offer clear reminders as to what you should be doing next.

    Full-on dynamic lighting and shadows

    To truly convey the story of warriors using the power of the moon and the sun, we had to go hard on the lighting system. Spectacular spell effects thus being a given, the game also features real-time dynamic day and night cycles, which the player eventually gets to control with full granularity.

    Focusing sunlight through a prism in order to open some secret area may only be possible at high noon, while a magic flower blooms exclusively in the evening. You may want to follow a trail of glow-in-the-dark aquatic plants only visible at night, while some monsters like to sleep during the day.

    All of this ties into properly telling the story of Solstice Warriors , while also allowing for multiple puzzles and mechanisms dealing with light, shadows and reflections. Oh, and to make sure this world truly comes alive, we are also throwing in weather variations! Please back us.

    Six Unique Playable Combat Characters

    Sea of Stars features six unique playable combat characters, each with their own backstory, personal objectives, play-style, special skills, and synergies with the rest of the party. In this multi-layered story, motivations sometimes align in unexpected ways. In the interest of allowing you to go into the game without any major spoilers, we will only be revealing the two main protagonists here.

    Born on the Summer Solstice, Zale is optimistic and bold. He wields a sunblade, through which he can absorb Eclipse Orbs whenever his attacks need an extra kick.

    As a blade-dancer, he walks the path of the Guardian God Solen. The Elder Mist foretold that, in order to find his light and achieve his full potential, he will first need to “stare at the night inside of him”.


    Born on the Winter Solstice, Valere shows curiosity and balance. Gifted with Lunar Magic, she can absorb Eclipse Orbs in her moonstaff to dish out massive damage.

    Trained in the martial ways of the monk, she walks the path of the Guardian Goddess Luana. The Elder Mist sees great potential in her, believing she might one day be the one to “create paths on water”.

    Even though we will be keeping our favorite ideas under wraps for the foreseeable future, we’re happy to show you above a few of the things we've been working on for the protoype!

    For the sake of your enjoyment once the game releases, we want to be very careful with spoilers. However when it comes to mentors, villains, villagers, critters, pirates and abominations... as a full-fledged RPG, you can rest assured that Sea of Stars will have it all.

    Languages

    The Messenger is known for its quality localization that keeps the story intact, and we won’t settle for less when it comes to Sea of Stars. Everything will be localized by finely selected external partners who have a track record of excellence. Extra care and resources will always be directed towards ensuring that every language our games release in lets their player base enjoy the stories and events at the same level of quality as everyone else.

    At this time we expect to release with full support for the following:

    Platforms

    The game should be completed sometime in 2022, and is designed to be played on PC and console. For specifics, rest assured that we are in touch with the key players of our industry, and that the game will be wherever the players are.

    It is hard to predict platforms as we seem to be at the dawn of a new era, but we are keeping close watch, have extensive porting experience, and fully intend on supporting all current generation platforms with Sea of Stars.

    Risks and Challenges

    We are aware that Kickstarter projects often come with a certain level of risk for the backer, but we want to reassure you that this game will be completed no matter what happens during this campaign. Our team has extensive experience shipping games of all scopes, and we are surrounded by veterans from other studios who we can always rely on for sanity checks and feedback. It is our promise to every backer, that to the best of our knowledge and experience, the Sabotage team will always make sure the finances are aligned with the vision, that this vision is clear, shared by the team, technically feasible, and validated by players. Challenging each other is embedded in our culture, and no stones will be left unturned.

    Languages

    The Messenger is known for its quality localization that keeps the story intact, and we won’t settle for less when it comes to Sea of Stars. Everything will be localized by finely selected external partners who have a track record of excellence. Extra care and resources will always be directed towards ensuring that every language our games release in lets their player base enjoy the stories and events at the same level of quality as everyone else.

    At this time we expect to release with full support for the following:

    Platforms

    The game should be completed sometime in 2022, and is designed to be played on PC and console. For specifics, rest assured that we are in touch with the key players of our industry, and that the game will be wherever the players are.

    It is hard to predict platforms as we seem to be at the dawn of a new era, but we are keeping close watch, have extensive porting experience, and fully intend on supporting all current generation platforms with Sea of Stars.