Citizens of Earth preview - Slaying baddies and saving constituents as the Vice President
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER
The wildly creative people over at Eden Industries are at it again. While we were busy cresting and troughing our way through a multitude of heavenly bodies and hurting our brains in the process, they've been hard at work developing their next title: an RPG where you play the Vice President and you actually get to play the role of public servant -- by ordering other people around.
Citizens of Earth is an RPG that works off the usual tropes of the genre, but gives us characters like the Baker, the Barista, the School Teacher, and the Homeless Guy, instead of the familiar warriors, wizards, and thieves. As the Vice President, you begin the game by returning to your rural home town to spend a few days in peace and quiet. All is not well, however, and soon, you set out to investigate the strange things that have been going on, using your powers of charisma and political will to recruit and cajole the town's populace to go out and fight for you.
Sounds like this was ripped right out of the news, really.
WE COME IN PIECES
True to RPG standards, each character has his or her own unique abilities that they bring to the table. They don't just deliver the goods in active combat, however; Citizens of Earth is all about protecting your home town, and that town is an actual location in the game world. Whenever your minions aren't out in the wild doing your righteous bidding, they're living their lives and working at their day jobs in town. Some characters will sell you stuff, and some characters will give you gameplay benefits like vehicles you can travel around in. Eden hopes that this broad, specialized approach will encourage players to keep mixing up their party to experiment with different combinations of party powers and support benefits.
It has to be mentioned that the vehicles can also be brought into combat, too. INTERESTING.
"Broader, not longer." This is the mantra that Eden Industries is working with during the game's design process. A lot of content is planned for the final release, but most of it will be optional. To meet their design goal of offering something for a broad spectrum of the players out there, Eden made it possible to complete the game in as little as 10 hours, but also to go all out and explore and tinker with every little detail that they put into the game. Here's hoping that they can hit the sweet spot in terms of accessibility and depth.
YOU'RE THE ENEMY OF ALL ZOMBIES, YOU MONSTER
Eden Industries made it a point to talk about the bad guys you'll be going up against throughout the course of the game. There's the Honey Bear -- it probably looks like what you think it looks like -- the Toupee Eagle, who has grown tired of being bald and now struts around with long blonde hair, and the Rastafarian Samurai, whom we're all hoping is just as awesome as his name implies. The devs have cited the classic SNES game Earthbound as an inspiration, and it really shows.
Combat will play out in the familiar JRPG manner, which I would imagine is two rows of opposing creatures beating the tar out of each other -- only this time without the planet-bashing and asteroid-throwing. Random encounters are thankfully nowhere to be found ("Because seriously, 1992 called and we let it have its feature back.") and there's a multiplayer arena mode for the more competitive RPGers out there. I'm not, really, but there is a certain Pokemon-ish charm in the idea. Librarians vs. town council workers, anyone?
An item trading mechanic is also being toyed with right now. It's possible that players will be able to trade certain things with each other, presumably to help each other completely unlock all that the game has to offer.
YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU
You've seen the screens and the art. Not exactly your grampa's 2D party-based RPG, if I dare say so. Eden Industries says that in spite of the retro style, Citizens of Earth will feature high resolution artwork and fancy effects like the ever-popular bloom lighting, real-time shadows, and a day/night cycle with dynamic lighting. It's like I've been warped to 15 years ago and all the impossible effects I wanted in my 2D VGA games suddenly came true!
Finally -- and this is a special treat for everyone who enjoyed Waveform -- Scott McFadyen, who composed the music in that game, is back for another round of zany auditory mayhem!
AIN'T OVER, FAT LADY SINGS, ETC ETC
Citizens of Earth is being targeted for a simultaneous release on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, which means that if you're reading this, you are likely running a device that will eventually be able to run the game.
We'll have more as we get the information, but even now, Citizens of Earth looks like it's shaping up to be a game worth checking out. There's a unique and highly intriguing concept behind it, tried-and-tested gameplay conventions with a twist, and potentially all the things that made Pokemon enjoyable with none of the embarrassing cuteness. We'll be keeping our eyes on this one!