Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Funding: Legacy of the Elder Star

Posted by Rampant Coyote on September 21, 2015

ElderStarPosterSince I was a child of the arcade era, shoot-em-ups (or “shmups”) hold a special place in my heart. Galaga remains high on my list of favorite games of all time, and a shining example of excellence in game design. I’m not as devoted to them as some other genres, however, so to this day I still don’t consider myself very good at them. But they are perfect for a quick 10 or 15 minute stress-relieving break.

“Bullet Hell Shooters” are a subclass of the genre where the player faces an overwhelming barrage of enemy projectiles. Frequently, towards the end levels, the “bullets” really are the level, forcing the player to create and navigate narrow free corridors within a wall of enemy shots. It’s crazy. It looks incredibly cool, though, and is something I like the idea of playing. But in practice… well, I suck.

A friend of mine, Josh Sutphin of Kickbomb Entertainment, had a similar problem a few years ago. He loved these really crazy modern shmups like Jamestown and Cave’s shooters (like Mushihime-sama Futari), but the really crazy-fun looking games not only had a steep learning curve, but they were intimidating to players. They are the kinds of games people would rather watch than play. Strong play tended to depend on memorization of levels and patterns, which can take a long time.

LES_OopsAfter spending a lot of time playing these games and really getting to understand their appeal and their challenges, he set forth making a high-powered shoot-em-up of his own, but one that (he hopes) can both appeal to veterans of the genre but also provide a good introduction for players like me who… well, suck at them, and get tired of getting stomped to the ground quite so quickly.

His answer is called Legacy of the Elder Star, and it’s pretty awesome. It’s still in development, although at this point the core gameplay is all there – it’s mainly expanding the content. He just started a Kickstarter campaign, and I wanted to share it with folks here:

Kickstarter: Legacy of the Elder Star

LES_SpecialOnBossNow Josh is an experienced game developer who has worked in AAA before (including working on the direct and a spiritual descendant of one of my first commercial games, Warhawk). He’s a friend, and he’s done a lot to support the indie community here in Utah over the last year or so. He’s a stand-up guy who I personally trust to get the job done.¬†Which all means that I’d be happy to throw some money at him as a favor even if I didn’t care about the game.

But in this case, I think the game is awesome, and I’m really excited to see it reach its potential. I also like that it’s leading the charge as a PC (Windows / Mac / Linux) game, specifically for that platform, with some really cool direct mouse control & stuff like that. While I think it might be awesome to see it make its way to consoles in the future, I love it when indies embrace the PC. I also like how the more dynamic approach to enemies mean there is (of necessity) less emphasis on anticipating and memorizing the level and more on dynamically reacting to the enemies and their firing patterns. I’ve played several demos of the game during its evolution, so I do feel Kickbomb is doing a great job of executing on the concept. Yes, the game can still kick my butt pretty well, but I never feel like it’s beyond me. Even those #%^$ seekers don’t seem overwhelming, just challenging.

(The animated gifs are from my own playthroughs… from a nice tool built into the game, even if the gifs run a bit slower than the real gameplay.)

That’s where I’m coming from, anyway. You’ve got a different story, and don’t personally know these guys. I’d just like to invite you to check out the campaign¬†and see if that’s something you’d personally be interested in and feel comfortable with contributing to. I’ll let Josh and Erik (the artist) pitch the game to you from here. Check out the campaign, and their website, and see what you think.

Good luck and have fun!


Filed Under: Game Announcements, Indie Evangelism - Comments: Read the First Comment