Ex Sony Online Entertainment Chief John Smedley has announced on that he is launching a Kickstarter project for a role-playing video game developed by PixelImage Games, his new company, according to Techtimes.
Smedley’s new game, Hero’s Song, uses 2D pixel art animation and integrates elements of classic RPGs. The game was created by a team of developers, which include EverQuest franchise co-creator Bill Trost and Patrick Rothfuss.
Hero’s Song, according to Smedley’s Kickstarter page, is set in a dynamic world where every time a player starts a new game, the back story changes based on what in-game gods are chosen to make up the player’s pantheon.
The choice of pantheon of gods is an influence on some aspects of the game including the terrain, the traces and the histories of characters, and as far as the family tree of the player’s character. As a player, you also have the option of hosting your own game servers, which can provide support to hundreds of users simultaneously.
Speaking on his inspiration, Smedley said: “the last time I did a startup was 1999, with EverQuest. For a long time, I have wanted to start a company that made super-deep games, versus superficial things.”
Among top developers on Smedley’s team is Bill Trost, a leading designer and co-creator of the famous EverQuest franchise as well as the New York Times’ No. 1 bestselling author of the Name of The Wind fantasy novels, Patrick Rothfuss. Smedley’s core team already boasts of 13 employees, with the number expected to rise as production improves in the next couple of months.
Hero’s Song is inspired by Dwarf Fortress, which is a pixel-art game that is procedurally generated and was originally released by a two-person team 10 years ago. Despite its text-based graphics, Dwarf Fortress received a lot of encomium for its complex, emergent gameplay.
“Dwarf Fortress is the model, a hyper-deep game,” Smedley said. “I think of [Hero’s Song] as a combination of Dwarf Fortress, Diablo III, and Ultima Online. We are focusing on very deep gameplay, and not so much on high-end graphics. We all love pixel graphics,” Smedley added.
On his decision to partner with Rothfuss, he “I love Pat’s books,” he said. “I have more own stories I want to tell, and my own worlds to build. There’s a point you reach in your life where you don’t want to make someone else’s dreams.”
The ex Sony man said Hero’s Song will have 2D pixel art, and will also have role-playing gameplay with an action-combat feel.
The rapid growth of Smedley’s company is worth commending, with initial funding and recruitment of staff saying a lot of his ability to recruit the best hands in the industry. Two decades ago, he had led a team that was responsible for creating EverQuest, which was a groundbreaking MMO, which enabled millions of people play a living game within a virtual world.
“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” said Smedley. “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.”