By now you’ve probably heard the big news of the day, that John Smedley has officially announced his new company and his new game, Hero’s Song (with Inon Zur! and Patrick Rothfuss!). Also there’s a Kickstarter because there always must be a Kickstarter when a major MMO creator/developer goes indie.
Generally, I’m liking what I’m seeing here. It’s a rogue-like OARPG with “hardcore” elements like a pseudo-permadeath system (really just a heavy death penalty from what I’m reading) and friendly fire. There’s the option to play solo, host a server, or jump on a sort-of MMOish server with hundreds of others. And it’s a 2D title made with pixel art.
That last bit is of interest to me because I’ve been a long-time fan of pixel art, stretching back to the SNES and extending forward to today. Mobile games have an irrepressible infatuation with pixel art, so much so that there’s sort of a running joke that you can make a poop game done with pixel art and have it sell well.
But for me, I don’t care about the popularity so much as style. I *hated* when the N64 and PlayStation jumped to 3D graphics, because I felt like they traded in these lush, detailed, and “solid” sprites for ungainly and unpersonable polygon chunks. 3D’s gotten a lot better, but I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for a game that utilizes expressive, bold, and colorful pixel art.
It’s a good approach for a game on a budget, too. I would assume it’s a LOT easier to make and program, lending a title a certain timeless quality to its art. It’s cool to see how younger people have taken a shine to pixel art (including how Minecraft strangely co-opted it for the 3D space).
Personally, I can get lost in those little pixels, especially in the details. And I like how not every pixel art game looks identical; there’s a wide variety of styles that can be done within the medium.
Anyway, more pixel art games — especially MMOs, please!